One of the world’s largest museums of modern art, the Center Pompidou in Paris, will be closed to the public between 2025 and 2030 for renovation. It was written by the AFP agency with reference to the French Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak. At the same time, she recently signed a contract to open a branch of the museum in Saudi Arabia.
The renovation will cost 262 million euros, which translates to about 6.1 billion crowns. The modernist building, designed by architects Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, is worn out after almost 50 years and faces competition from more modern institutions such as the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris or the Bourse de Commerce building that reopened last year, now hosting exhibitions under the banner of the important Pinault Collection.
Nevertheless, the Center Pompidou remains one of the most important centers of modern art in the world and the leading tourist attraction of the French capital. Its collections include more than 140,000 works by authors such as Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Wassily Kandinsky, Frida Kahlo and Joan Miró. Three million people come here every year and the museum lends up to 10,000 works from its collections abroad, adds Le Monde.
According to AFP, the renovation is necessary due to corrosion and wear. The huge building, which also has a sought-after extensive library, is undergoing renovation for the first time since its opening. There will be removal of asbestos on all facades, improvement of fire safety, energy optimization or introduction of barrier-free access.
Ultra-modern for its time, the 1977 building, which was created at the instigation of the then French president Georges Pompidou, is made of glass and metal, with the extended supporting steel structure reminiscent of forgotten scaffolding. Also, the pipe distributions, distinguished by different colors, are unconventionally led outside, which is why the entire interior of the building is without pillars.
The relocation and gradual closing of the Center Pompidou will begin in the fall of 2024. Originally, the renovation was supposed to begin this year and culminate in 2027, when the museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary. However, this will not be possible and the work will take three years longer.
The AFP agency also recalls that the operators signed a contract with the Ministry of Culture of Saudi Arabia in March of this year, where a branch of the Center Pompidou will grow in the valley and oasis of al-Ula in the Medina province in the northwest of the country until 2028. This agreement culminated the diplomatic initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron, who lobbied for the project even during a visit to the metropolis of Riyadh.
The fact that the art historian and current president of the Pompidou Center Laurent Le Bon was one of the few European cultural representatives who visited Saudi Arabia in 2019 after the brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the consulate in Istanbul also played a role in the negotiations.
At the same time, the then Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš from the ANO movement talked about the possibility of opening a branch of the Center Pompidou in Prague. Already in November 2018, Babiš wrote an article in Lidové noviny, which belongs to his trust fund, entitled Chci Center Pompidou in Prague. “Prague would thus return to one of the most important cultural capitals in the world. It would be an unrepeatable feat, and I want to help our country and our capital to achieve it,” said Babiš at the time. But the project failed.
In the French world of museums and galleries, similar agreements are not unique. In the emirate of Abu Dhabi, for example, a branch of the Louvre has been operating for several years.
Today, Center Pompidou operates separate buildings in Métay, Spain, Malaga, Spain, and Shanghai, China. He is also working on a series of exhibitions sponsored by the Korean auto parts manufacturer, Hanwha. These shows should be seen in the South Korean capital of Seoul. The first American branch of the Center Pompidou in Jersey City, near New York, should open later this year.
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