France's Pompidou Centre opens regional art hub

A sparkling new branch of one of the world's top modern art museums, Paris's Pompidou Centre, opens in northern France on Wednesday with hundreds of rarely seen treasures on its walls.

On a former waste land in Metz, the undulating white teflon roof houses space to free up some of the 65,000 works trapped in storage at the Paris museum - and to breath new life into a city seen as a forgotten gem.

Planting the huge new venue in Metz, a town of 130,000 people in what was once part of Germany, its creators aim to shift the gravity of France's national art collections, which critics say is narrowly centred on Paris.

"This is a great moment for culture in this country, because it is the first time a great cultural institution has decentralised," said Alain Seban, director of the Paris Pompidou Centre, in Metz on Monday.

The new museum's 5,000 square metres (107,000 square feet) of gallery space offer high ceilings to accommodate monumental works such as Sonia Delaunay's bright seven-foot canvas "Portugal".

It also aims to put the northeastern Lorraine region on the map by drawing in visitors from across the nearby borders of Germany and Belgium, and tourists from Paris, an 80-minute high-speed train ride away.

"We want to open it to the widest possible public, the European and international public," said Jean-Luc Bohl, president of the Metz area council, one of several bodies that funded the 72.5-million-euro (93 million dollar) project.

The museum is to be inaugurated on Tuesday by President Nicolas Sarkozy and opens to the public from Wednesday.

Its inaugural show: "Chefs-d'Oeuvre?", an exhausting array of 780 artworks that questions what constitutes a "masterpiece" while acquainting the viewer with monumental works by some of the giants of modern art.

The long galleries teem with numerous art forms: Henri Cartier-Bresson's photography, sculptures by Constantin Brancusi, paintings by Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, plus architectural plans, videos and even furniture.

"It introduces to the widest possible audience the most contemporary forms of art and creativity to make them think about ideas of taste and aesthetics," said Laurent Le Bon, director of the new museum.

Designed by Japanese architect Shigeru Ban and France's Jean de Gastines, the teflon-draped wooden roof sits above a ground floor facade of glass shutters that open in warm weather to draw in visitors.

In between lie three elevated oblong galleries, the window of the top one framing a view of Metz's cathedral.

"I wanted to find something contextual," Ban told AFP. "I wanted to connect the art museum to the city."

Elsewhere in northern France, the former mining town of Lens is preparing to receive its own outlet of world-class art when the Louvre - Paris's most visited museum - opens a sister branch there in 2012.

The so-called "antenna" museums aim to regenerate the surrounding regions as the Guggenheim did in Bilbao, an industrial city in northern Spain, which opened in 1997 with an avant-garde design by US-based architect Frank Gehry.

Similarly in Britain, London's Tate museum opened regional galleries in Liverpool in 1988 and Saint Ive's in 1993.

For some, the planting of offshoots in France's old industrial lands is a symptom of broader changes under way in the country's economy.

"Cultural programmes have become an indispensable factor in developing towns and regions," said Antoine Fonte, a Metz official in charge of arts projects.

"Lorraine is undergoing a full-on transformation and the Pompidou Centre Metz will strengthen the shift towards the tertiary and service industries."

"Sometimes people think Metz has lost its spirit," said Dominique Gros, the mayor of Metz, which was long a garrison town but has seen thousands of military jobs cut. "For us the Pompidou Centre is a fresh start."

News

literature

News
Dermot O'Leary attends the X Factor Wembley Arena auditions at Wembley on August 1, 2014 in London, England.

television

News
news
Arts and Entertainment
At this year's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas

Music Why this music festival is still the place to spot the next big thing

Arts and Entertainment
Russell Tovey, Myanna Buring and Julian Rhind Tutt star in Banished
tvReview: The latest episode was a smidgen less depressing... but it’s hardly a bonza beach party
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv Some of the characters appear to have clear real-life counterparts
News
Brooks is among a dozen show-business professionals ever to have achieved Egot status
people
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A cut above: Sean Penn is outclassed by Mark Rylance in The Gunman
film review
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
James Franco and Zachary Quinto in I Am Michael

Film review Michael Glatze biopic isn't about a self-hating gay man gone straight

Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the movie 'Get Hard'
tvWill Ferrell’s new film Get Hard receives its first reviews
Arts and Entertainment
Left to right: David Cameron (Mark Dexter), Nick Clegg (Bertie Carvel) and Gordon Brown (Ian Grieve)
tvReview: Ian Grieve gets another chance to play Gordon Brown... this is the kinder version
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman in the first look picture from next year's Sherlock special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Because it wouldn’t be Glastonbury without people kicking off about the headline acts, a petition has already been launched to stop Kanye West performing on the Saturday night

music
Arts and Entertainment
Molly Risker, Helen Monks, Caden-Ellis Wall, Rebekah Staton, Erin Freeman, Philip Jackson and Alexa Davies in ‘Raised by Wolves’

TV review
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Game of Thrones will run for ten years if HBO gets its way but showrunners have mentioned ending it after seven

Game of Thrones
Arts and Entertainment
Mans Zelmerlow will perform 'Heroes' for Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Elizabeth (Heida Reed) and Ross Poldark (Aiden Turner) in the BBC's remake of their 1975 original Poldark

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

Mexican government reportedly paying Bond producers for positive portrayal in new filmfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Disney’s flying baby elephant is set to return in live-action format
filmWith sequels, prequels and spin-offs, Disney plays it safe... and makes a pachyderm
Arts and Entertainment
Nazrin with Syf, Camden
photography
News
The QI Elves photographed at the Soho Theatre. They are part of a team of researchers who find facts for the television programme 'QI'.
people
Arts and Entertainment
‘The Royals’ – a ‘twisted, soapy take on England’s first family’
tv0-star review: Sean O'Grady gives it his best shot anyway
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

    The saffron censorship that governs India

    Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

    Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
    Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

    How did fandom get so dark?

    Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
    The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

    Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
    The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

    Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

    Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
    Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

    Disney's mega money-making formula

    'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
    Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

    Lobster has gone mainstream

    Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
    Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

    14 best Easter decorations

    Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
    Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

    Paul Scholes column

    Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
    Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

    The future of GM

    The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
    Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

    Britain's mild winters could be numbered

    Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

    Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
    Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

    The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

    The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
    Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

    Cowslips vs honeysuckle

    It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
    Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

    A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss