Being Modern: MoMA in Paris – Art Exhibition in Fondation Louis Vuitton.

MoMA In Paris

The Evolution of the MoMA’s collection over the years

Extending through the four-floored, iconic building of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris designed by the architect Frank Gehry, is the unprecedented exhibition of over 200 artworks delineating the MoMA’s history of collecting modern and contemporary art. The Being Modern: MoMA in Paris exhibition hosted at the Frank Gehry-designed building is located nearby the Jardin d’Acclimatation in the Bois de Boulogne at the 16th arrondissement of Paris and will be available to viewers starting October 11th 2017 through March 5th 2018. Aside from featuring some of the most important works collected by the MoMA throughout the decades, it also includes never-before-seen documentary footage of the MoMA’s archives, thus interrelating the museum’s history and that of the development of modern and contemporary art.

MoMA in Paris
Frank Gehry-Building © Fondation Louis Vuitton

Rather than a traditional survey exhibition, Glenn D. Lorry, director of the MoMA along with artistic directors of Fondation Louis Vuitton, Suzanne Pagé, and Quentin Bajac decided to present Being Modern: MoMA in Paris as an exhibition that would display the evolution of the MoMA’s collection in over ninety years. The works selected for the exhibition range from artists like Gustav Klimt, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cézanne, and René Magritte through the works of the abstract expressionists, minimalists, pop art and concludes with contemporary artworks acquired by the MoMA in the last two years. Glenn D. Lorry, Suzanne Pagé, and Quentin Bajac found themselves with the arduous task of selecting from all six curatorial departments of the MoMA, 200 artworks that would best narrate the history of the institution and grant its visitors in Paris a reflection of the museum’s extensive and exquisite modern and contemporary art collection.

First time for MoMA in Paris

The exhibition Being Modern: MoMA in Paris not only manages to capture the evolution of the MoMA’s collection through the years but also that of art itself over the past decades, for the exhibition displays artworks made in different types of media, ranging from paintings, sculptures to digital works. It is not only the first time the MoMA hosts an exhibition in Paris, but it is also the first time that several artworks are being exhibited in France. The exhibition includes Constantin Brâncuși’s “Bird in space” (1919, acquired in 1934), and the Pop Art American artist Andy Warhol’s “Campbell’s Soup Cans.” (1962, acquired in 1990’s). According to Glenn D. Lorry, director of the MoMA in an interview with the New York Observer, the exhibition presented “A unique opportunity to tell the story of how the museum’s unparalleled holdings were assembled both in and outside of New York.”

MoMa in Paris - Warhol Campbell Soup
Being Modern: MoMA in Paris – Andy Warhol © MoMA

The exhibition consists of three sections distributed throughout the four floors of the Foundation Louis Vuitton.

  • The first section of the exhibition deals with the MoMA’s first decades. It hosts works like the French post-impressionist Parisian painter Paul Cézanne’s “The Bather” (c. 1885, acquired in 1934), Constantin Brâncuși’s “Bird in space” (1919, acquired in 1934). From the post-war period as well including not only works by the New York School abstract expressionists like Jackson Pollock but also Willem de Kooning, amongst others.
MoMA in Paris - Paul Cezanne The Bather
Being Modern: MoMA in Paris – Paul Cézanne ©MoMA
  • The second section travels from minimalism through pop art and features significant works developed around the 1960’s including the artists from the Fluxus movement.
  • The last section of the exhibition is found on the top floor of the building. It corresponds to the contemporary artworks collected by the MoMA over the previous two years, including Kerry James Marshall’s “Untitled” (club scene) (2013, acquired in 2015) and the original set of 176 emoji designs by Shigetaka Kurita (1998-99, acquired in 2016).

American art movements and even the establishment of the MoMA as a museum were all born in Paris

During France’s second empire in the late 19th century, the newly rebuilt Paris inspired the poet and art critic Charles Baudelaire in his 1860 essay “the painter of modern life” to motivate painters to abandon the traditional subject matters of art and depict the modernity of Paris. He defined modernity in his essay as “the transitory, the fugitive and the contingent,” and thus giving birth to Modern art. Glenn D. Lorry, the director of the MoMA, reflects on the significance of the MoMA hosting an exhibition in the 19th century capital of Modernity by stating that “Paris was an important capital during the late 19th and early 20th century, and it was a center for progressive ideas. For some of the artists in the earlier part of the collection, the defining artists were fully associated with Paris (…) wouldn’t it be interesting to look back now to Paris almost 100 years later and re-contextualize some of those works here in Paris.” Indeed Andy Warhol’s “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans” and Paul Cezanne’s “Bather” displayed simultaneously at the Being Modern: MoMA in Paris exhibition, reveal that the foundational ideas for American art movements were all born in Paris. Suddenly, pop art or abstract expressionism, and even the establishment of the MoMA as a museum make New York and Paris do not seem so distant after all.

"Etre moderne: Le MoMA à Paris" ("Being Modern: MoMA in Paris")

We're thrilled about today's opening of "Etre moderne: Le MoMA à Paris" ("Being Modern: MoMA in Paris") at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris! Over 200 works from MoMA's collection and archives will be shown at the Fondation through March 5, 2018. The exhibition features masterworks by Paul Cézanne, Marcel Duchamp, Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, Gustav Klimt, René Magritte, Pablo Picasso, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Yvonne Rainer, and Frank Stella, along with works being shown in Paris for the first time by Constantin Brancusi, Andy Warhol, Diane Arbus, Romare Bearden, Barbara Kruger, and others. For more info about the exhibition, visit #FLVMoMA

Posted by MoMA The Museum of Modern Art on Wednesday, October 11, 2017


Whether it is impressionism, pop art, abstract expressionism, or your future travel destination for the upcoming holidays, Being Modern: MoMA in Paris proves that from October 2017 through March 2018, all roads lead to Paris!

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