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Centre Pompidou

Rainy day plans called for a museum and we chose the Pompidou. There were no lines early on, though by late afternoon when we took a break in the cafe, they were snaking around the ticket maze and jammed up at the door to get through security. We rode the escalator to the top for the view, shooting some along the way as well and hanging out a bit to see if the sun would come out over Sacre Coeur. It didn't, so we headed down to the Dreamlands exhibition.

Too bad we couldn't take any photos inside the museum because Dreamlands had many opportunities. Starting with slides of the original Dreamland that opened at Coney Island in 1904, we were truly drawn into a fantasy world, not just of entertainment but of envisioning other places and ways of life. There were reminders of the Buffalo Worlds' Fair exhibit we saw some years ago, and a Learning from Las Vegas video that I sat through twice. Once because of my familiarity and interest in Las Vegas, and twice because sitting felt so good. Peter made a note to get the Learning from Las Vegas book, and to look up two sixties references, Ron Herron's Instant City Urban Action Tune Up from and Cedric Price's Fun Palace. I discovered that Disney had actually proposed, but never built, a whole new community and city, as part of Epcot. Only the theme park was built and Walt Disney died before it was completed.

Next up was the exhibition, Promises of the Past, with the forbidding sub-title A Discontinuous History of Art in Former Eastern Europe. We went in for a quick look but stayed, fascinated by the amazing painted buildings in Tirana, the capital city of Albania, and the story of how they got that way. Edi Rama, the mayor and an artist himself, proposed painting the buildings as a way of covering up the sterile Soviet gray cement with brightly colored designs that would let the people reclaim their public space and their own independence. The transformations are just amazing, and though there was more to the show, these buildings were the highlight.

After that we needed a cafe break but cut it short because there were still two floors of the permanent collection to be seen. All our favorite names were included but most of their works on display were unfamiliar to us. That was the bonus that filled the last two rainy hours of the day and let us walk back home again under clear skies. Photos here.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 26, 2010 4:25 AM.

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