The Centre Pompidou celebrates its 40th anniversary

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Le Centre Pompidou fête ses 40 ans
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The weekend of February 4th and 5th will offer a multitude of free activities for visitors of all ages.

The Centre Pompidou: A Revolutionary Building

It was born of the will of President Georges Pompidou, who in 1969 decided to use the Plateau Beaubourg, which was then used as an open-air car park, to build a multidisciplinary cultural center of an entirely new type. It aimed, on a radically different concept from the classical museum, to bridge the gap between the arts and to bring together, in one place, a national museum of modern art, an industrial creation center, another of musical creation (IRCAM ) of which Pierre Boulez will take the lead, and a large library of public reading accessible to everybody. To do so, a competition of ideas was launched: 681 competitors from 49 different countries participated and it was the project of two almost unknown architects, an Italian, Renzo Piano and an Englishman, Richard Rogers, which wass retained. Compared to an "oil refinery" at the time of its construction, due to all its external pipes, it was the target of an intense polemic and Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the new president of the republic, was about to abandon the project. However, eight years later it opened its doors with a vernissage attended by more than 5000 personalities. It has since met with unexpected and never denied popular success. Becoming an icon of modern architecture, adopted by Parisians and loved by tourists, it has opened a new way of living art and culture.

A first-class cultural venue

Indeed, it is not only its playful and colorful architecture that has made its fame. Since its opening, the CentrePompidou has offered exhibitions that marked their time, such as the series of "Paris" ("Paris-New York" among others), "Vienna, birth of a century", "Magicians of the Earth "and which contribute to the history of art of the 20th century. Curiously, the exhibitions that have seen the strongest frequentation were those devoted to Dali: 840,662 visitors in 1979 and 790,090 for the exhibition of 2012! The collections have grown considerably since the opening - 120,000 works - and are among the first in the world in the field of modern and contemporary art. In addition, it has developed a program of live shows, films and debates that make it a pivotal cultural life. The Center currently hosts more than three million visitors each year and is celebrating its forty years of existence with its audience.

A weekend of exception and events throughout France

So the weekend of February 4th and 5th will offer a multitude of free activities for visitors of all ages. Parades, concerts, performances, visits will create a surprise on every floor of the building and its surroundings. On Saturday evening, a monochrome ball (dress code: one single color from head to feet according to everyone’s choice) will animate the forum until 2am. Sunday will not forget the children and will offer more dance and music in other contexts. And soon the whole of France will bring itself up to date with the Center because most French cities will propose one or more events for which they will be associated with the Center Pompidou during the first half of 2017. The Center has not finished surprising us.