Pompidou goes global?

May 3, 2012

In a recent report on The Art Newspaper, Alain Seban, president of the Centre Pompidou, has announced that the institution is planning to expand abroad through a chain of galleries and exhibition spaces dislocated globally.

A similar expansion attempt had been made by the Pompidou in 2007, when the then president Bruno Racine announced an opening in Shanghai before 2010; however, the initiative never happened due to difficulties with the Chinese authorities.

According to Seban, museums, universities and even shopping centers could now be part of the network of sites that will host the Pompidou-branded exhibitions. Seban has not detailed the exact locations yet, but suggested he is looking into Brazil, Russia, India and China. Locations are supposed to measure around 2,000 – 3,000 sq. m each and would be active for periods from 3 to 5 years.

Confronted about the natural comparison between Centre Pompidou’s move and the Solomon R. Guggenheim model (the Guggenheim is planning a new branch in Helsinki and is due to open its Abu Dhabi Saadiyat district in 2017), Seban replied: “The Guggenheim model of expansion was based on replicating the New York original: flagship architecture, cutting-edge temporary exhibitions, a modest display of the permanent collection and the fantastic appeal of the brand. We are taking a more modest approach, with temporary projects in existing venues like museums and universities, but why not historical monuments, former industrial facilities or shopping malls? We will draw on the scope of our collection, which is the best in Europe, and the strength of our own brand.”

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