On Sunday I decided to carry out the plans I had intended for Saturday before my need for country won out. After getting up and getting around I headed to the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou is named after former president Georges Pompidou and houses the National Gallery of Modern Art, along with several galleries for visiting exhibits, cinemas for independent films and several educational spaces for children. The building is very strange and futuristic looking, with most of the activity happening outside. The elevators and the escalators run up the outside of the building and several sculptural exhibits are on outdoor terraces. It’s said that President Pompidou once said “this is going to cause a stir” when he saw the plans for the building that was to be his namesake, I think he was right.

The ouside of the Centre Pompidou, the red are the escalators.

The ouside of the Centre Pompidou, the red are the escalators.

Inside was just as incredible as outside. While the sculptures in the water fountain were cool, I think the sculpture inside was better. I was incredibly lucky and got to see the visiting Alexander Caulder and Wassily Kandinsky exhibits!

The Sun Bird sculpture in the water fountain outside the musuem.

The Sun Bird sculpture in the water fountain outside the musuem.

Caulder has always fascinated me. His sculptures are so lithe and full of movement. His little wire contraptions always dance around in the most delicate way, it’s as though he had a second understanding of the natural environment around his art and could see how it was going to change from second to second, depending on the breeze from an old woman fanning herself or the gusts from a little kid running in circles around the stand. This exhibit also made me realize that the second half to his art is the shadows created by the works. In the silhouette created by each figure you could see a different piece. Hallowed out faces became fuller and expressions of anger and hate softened to almost smiles.

Caulder's "Fishbowl". His pieces are just so lighthearted and fun spirited. You can tell he enjoyed making his art and wanted his viewers to enjoy it too.

Caulder's "Fishbowl". His pieces are just so lighthearted and fun spirited. You can tell he enjoyed making his art and wanted his viewers to enjoy it too.

As much as I enjoyed the Caulder exhibit, the Kandinsky one was a little bit better. Kandinsky had a long career and was able to impact several different movements and periods in modern art. His art reflects the fear and uncertainty of central and eastern Europe during a time when war was always imminent and life as everyone knew it could change at any time. Even though he lived in a scary and depressing time, his art always appears to be optimistic, he painted images of life of joy and happiness. The man had a very strong faith and was an eternal optimist in my opinion and that shines through in every painting. His development over time was interesting to see too. He began with a very basic, elemental style and advanced to more complex and complicated compositions and movements and then went back to the basics. At one point he stopped mixing his colors and stopped using advanced shapes. He heralded the strength and simplicity of the primary colors of red, blue and yellow and the starkness and well-known comfort of the circle, the triangle and the square.

The main gallery wing was devoted to an interesting look at women in art during the modern movement. I was stunned to see just how suppressed and underrepresented women have been in the modern art era. For some reason I’ve always thought of the art world as being more open and accepting of women than other fields. Just so long as the creativity and desire to look deeper is there I thought that was enough for the art world. The numbers would disagree. A study was done of the art in the Metropolitan Museum of Art and it showed that less than 3% of the art is by a female artist, but nearly 84% of the nudes are women. I guess this just goes to show that, even in the art world, women are still just seen as a form in a lot of ways. Their beauty is heralded and renowned and praised, but that’s that, they are to be looked at and appreciated but not examined on a deeper level. Hopefully that’ll change soon.

The openness of the museum also allowed for an incredible view of the city. I almost think it’s the best view I’ve seen yet. From the top floor you can see the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Sacre Coeur, the Paris Balloon and a ton of other beautiful monuments. Despite being a little hazy today I could see for miles and just stopped to appreciate the beauty of teh city. Sometimes it still feels a bit surreal. It’s hard to believe I’ve been here nearly 5 weeks already and only have a few weeks left. It’s gone by so fast and it’s been amazing for every second of it.

Sacre Coeur as seen from Le Centre Pompidou

Sacre Coeur as seen from Le Centre Pompidou

The Paris balloon that goes up for 10 minute rides over the city. We almost went up for Katie's birthday but the weather didn't cooperate.

The Paris balloon that goes up for 10 minute rides over the city. We almost went up for Katie's birthday but the weather didn't cooperate.

The Eiffel Tower...again

The Eiffel Tower...again

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