My Gay Paris: will the new Palais de Tokyo achieve its goals?

When you think contemporary art and Paris, you will probably think firstly of the Centre Pompidou. Now that the Palais de Tokyo has reopened, it is allegedly the most important center for contemporary art in Europe. They tripled its size. People where expecting this with enthusiasm: the queue to take part in the re-opening party was stretching for hundreds and hundreds of meters.

The installation of the artist Peter Buggenhout is right at the entrance, which is a giant sculpture entitled “the blind leading the blind”. The idea of this sculpture is that nobody knows where we come from and where we are heading to (except for death, which is quite certain for everyone).

We hope this image will not make you too depressed.

France was late in term of places to admire and produce contemporary art, in comparison with Germany and its Kunsthallen, and London. This new Palais de Tokyo is meant to put France back on track in that respect. Will it succeed? We cannot be sure of that. Indeed, in France, the notion of art and creation is perceived in a very different way than other places in the world. France has a tradition of official art supported with the help the state with subsidies. For example, in France, for each new building, at least 1% must be spent in ordering an artwork, such as a sculpture. If you go to see a movie, a certain amount of the price you pay, about 7%, will go to the national center of cinematography (CNC), which will in return put money in French cinema, even if you are going to see an American movie.

Creation and art should not be restricted to a few museums and art galleries, in the posh gentrified areas of modern capitals : it should be everywhere. That is even more true for Paris.

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