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