ARTS & SOCIETIES
 

LETTER OF SEMINAR 36

Centre d’Histoire de Sciences Po

 
 
 

AN ELITIST AESTHETIC FOR EVERYONE


Overall view of the Pompidou Center-Metz at night.
© Centre Pompidou-Metz; Shigeru Ban Architects Europe and Jean de Gastines Architectes, with Philip Gumuchdjian for the competition-winning project design/Metz Métropole/ Pompidou Center-Metz/Photo: Roland Halbe.


Agnès Callu
Gaëtan Picon

Laurent Le Bon
The Pompidou Center-Metz:
A New European Cultural Institution




Editorial Director: Laurence Bertrand Dorléac
Editorial Staff: Carole Gautier and Cécile Pichon-Bonin
Translator: David Ames Curtis

PREVIOUS LETTERS

THE INFLUENCE OF THE SAINT-SIMONIANS AND THE IDEA OF ART IN THE VANGUARD OF THE SOCIAL REFORM

BODY MORALITY

DANDIES

The Model Child

THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE USEFUL

Photographs by amateurs

The market, at the start

art in the republic

the voyage of the avant-gardes

Major exhibitions

WHAT IS SOCIAL ART ?

PRIMITIVISMS

realisms

JOSEPH BEUYS : A SHAMAN's FACTORY ?

the Artist and the philosopher

appropriations

THE OPACITIES OF THE TECHNOLOGY

Alternatives to the art market in new york

genius

PREHISTORIES

POSTWAR

MONEY

Icons

THE POWER OF ARTISTS

values in formation

nominalism

ANCIENT ROME

ON EVALUATION

NEW SOVIET FASHIONS

KLEINIAN ECONOMICS

POLICIES OF THE REAL

TOCQUEVILLE AND THE ARTS IN DEMOCRACY




 
EDITORIAL

 

  
 
    Under the heading of the battles led in favor of equality for all in cultural matters, the name of Gaëtan Picon may be mentioned, as we are told by Agnès Callu, the author of a dissertation about this man, one of “history’s vanquished.”  Picon is said to have consistently tried to impose an elitist form of taste via the loftiness of choices that were not only audacious but democratic, in that he campaigned so that the whole of the country would be reached, in particular by means of French-style community arts centers, the Maisons de la Culture.  A French Nietzschean and a solitary figure who ultimately remained at the margins of contemporary discussions, Picon is said to have, despite all, left behind faint traces of a far-reaching project, one first imagined as early as 1937 and put into practice (but also impeded) when, starting in 1959, he served as Director for Arts and Letters under the ministry of André Malraux.

    Laurent Le Bon, the new Director of the Pompidou Center-Metz (which was inaugurated in May 2010), responds to Callu on the level of achieved results.  Le Bon has headed up an unprecedented experiment--one Picon would perhaps have approved of--that follows in the wake of what French President Georges Pompidou attempted and succeeded in imposing for Paris in 1977.  The new Metz Museum is said to be the inspired sequel to the interdisciplinary Center that arose on the Beaubourg plain in Paris, and not a mere duplicate thereof, founded elsewhere.  For, the atmosphere of the two projects is not the same, and history required that it be begun anew, in partnership with various local and regional authorities.  The Metz version is also served by an architectural design that is transparent and user-friendly; inside and outside are brought into relation with each other.  The outside, moreover, is necessarily altered by this architectural presence, which is open to a visiting public that is itself in the process of construction and that, as one already knows, goes far beyond the limit of regular visitors to cultural institutions.

Laurence Bertrand Dorléac



Letter published with the support of the Foundation of France

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