Pompidou’s Pot

The Pompidou Center in the Beaubourg area of Paris once revolutionized the world of architecture with its “inside-out” design. Both architects on the project, Renzo Piano, and Yale educated Richard Rogers subsequently won the Pritzker Prize for their vision, the equivalent of the Nobel but for architecture recognition.

Centre Pompidou

You may love it or hate it, the fact remains that the museum and its surroundings always offer interesting sights.

Beaubourg fountain

L’Oiseau de Feu (The Firebird) – Stravinski Fountain

In 1982, Jacques Chirac, then Mayor of Paris, commissioned a fountain as an homage to Igor Stravinski. Adjacent to the Center, it is composed of 16 aluminum and steel statues animated by motors, each representing one of his compositions.



Surprisingly for such a modern work of art, the fountain was built with the Gothic St. Merri Church as a backdrop. The church was nicknamed “The Little Notre Dame” for being built on the same plan as the famous cathedral.

M. Chat

Now look up! In places which seem impossible for a human to reach, you might be able to spot Monsieur Chat (M. Chat.) In 2007, after four years of French clandestineness and 80 Parisian spray-painted M. Chat, street artist Thoma Vuille was finally caught orange-handed in flagrante delicto. A mere 300 Euro fine later, Monsieur Vuille was finally soaring towards the high roof tops of recognition.

Parisians seem to like mixing the old with the new: the Glass Pyramid at the Louvre and the Buren Columns at the Palais Royal immediately come to mind, but sometimes, I’m sorry, you just have to draw the line.

Le Pot Dore

Le Pot Dore (The Golden Pot) – Jean-Pierre Raynaud

The above abomination is one of the most well-known work from artist Raynaud. After The Pot toured the world including a stint in the middle of the Forbidden City in Peking, it seems to have rooted right in front of The Pompidou Center. The historian Jean Clair qualified Le Pot Dore as a specimen of garden dwarf art. I concur. It took me 30 years to accept Malevich’s White on White as art; I don’t think I have enough decades left in my life to view Pompidou’s Pot as a worthy masterpiece. Thought-provoking? Certainly. Because it’s absolute doodoo.

10 responses to “Pompidou’s Pot

  1. There are 3 or 4 golden objects lurking around Tokyo. I’m not sure if they are from the same artist, but they are kind of cool to see gracing buildings. But … that golden pot looks like crap.

    The Prada building in Tokyo looks neat and is supposedly sometype of architectural highlight.

    note to self: find better adjectives than “cool” and “neat”.

  2. I have a great appreciation for modern art but that Pot? In front of the Pompidou Center? Incidentally, Jean Clair was the curator of the Museum of Modern Art (Pompidou Center) for 10 years.

    The architects for the Prada building also won the Pritzker. Small world.

    note to Ross: may I suggest the use of “pimpnuts” as a worthy replacement for “cool” or “neat”?

  3. I just want to meet the people who pay for such things. I’ve got lots of ideas that I need funding to execute.

  4. Next time I’m in Paris, I’ll let the curator know. Send me your portfolio. Include pots.

  5. Absolute doo doo! Now, I love this art criticism here. Not too high falutin’ people get the picture.

    Again, I simply could read and look at these confections of yours all friggin’ day.

  6. I walked by the Pompidou but didn’t see the Pot. Mind you, with all the scaffolding and pseudo-scaffolding ringing the building, it could be hard to tell what’s permanent and what’s not… perhaps the Pot has been temporarily misplaced by a Very Tall Gardener. Oh, right, an artist has taken credit for it… maybe Raynaud dropped Something Profoundly Sculptural and, needing a quick replacement, used the house seller’s favourite trick, a fresh coat of paint?

    Anyway, I do wish I’d seen the Stravinsky fountain. Amazing. Great photos!

  7. Das pot is kaput? Gone? Au Revoir pot? The French peops have finally come to their senses? Raynaud actually used to be a horticulturist (before he was an “artist” and before he was dead.) Perhaps the Front of Liberation of the Garden Gnomes freed the pot! I’ll have to ask my nefioo.

    The pot symbolizes stunted life, roots unable to grow outside of the confine of their restraint universe, blah, blah, blah. A golden pot. A golden cage. Wooptidoo!

    Eyegillian, wo ist Ihr blog? You funny.

  8. I only said that I didn’t see the Pot; perhaps it was there and escaped my notice. Or maybe it’s been repainted in camouflage colours… mind you, maybe gold is a camouflage colour in Paris!

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