Werner Spies, curator of the Pompidou Museum of Modern art, has been jubilantly awaiting its reopening on January 1st 2000, a few weeks before his the ending of his term. Some 1600 works will be shown in a different way over an additional surface of 4500 square metres of exhibition rooms. Quite ecstatic, Werner Spies said this was return to the reality of these works in a reborn museum.
«Our collection is among the best in the world and rivals that of the MoMa. Both have their impacts and differences though the Pompidou Museum remains badly in need of German Expressionist and Futurist works,» he said.
Now, the museum will offer contemporary works in its first rooms while its permanent exhibition will end with the presentation of works from the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th Century. Formerly, visitors were first discovering the works of Matisse, Cézanne or Picasso, now housed on the first floor of the museum.
Jean Tinguely masterpiece, «Requiem for a dead leaf», symbolising a terrifying century and showing that art is closely linked to history, has been placed in the entrance hall. Then visitors will discover Warhol's ten «Liz», a pneumatic work by Claes Oldenburg and many Pop paintings alongside works by Raynaud or Beuys followed by those of Serra, On Kawara, Becher and Richter with also an insight on Kinetic and Op Art and a room devoted to temporary exhibitions (now with works by Annette Messager).
Works by Music, Rainer and Dumas are placed in the same room while enough space has been given to installations, notably those of Beuys, Christo, Kienholz or Dorothea Tanning. On the upper floor, paintings by the Douanier Rousseau have been placed near those of Matisse, Picasso and some Fauve artists. An entire room has been devoted to Cubism, and others to Dubuffet, Kandinsky or Rouault.
Many rooms have been divided by large window cases containing drawings, documents and small objects while a large painting by Francis Picabia, bought last year by the museum, dominates the Dada room.
Walter Spies stressed that the museum has been concentrating on the purchases of major works so as to beef up its collections, notably a painting by Otto Dix, another by Georg Grosz while splendid works by Paul Klee and Malevitch are being exhibited in the Kandinsky room.
Some rooms offer some interesting confrontations, particularly between Braque and Picasso, Bonnard and Matisse or Giacometti and Bacon. «We have to create surprises for our visitors», Werner Spies said.