Saturday, October 10, 2009

Elles @ Centre Pompidou

So, this post is one of the reasons I even brought up the cookie story.

I went to the Centre Pompidou one last time because there was a Kandinsky Exhibit I wanted to see before it or I was no longer in Paris.

While there I noticed that there was also a new primary exhibit in the Pompidou Center. "Elles @ Centre Pompidou."

Elles doesn't have a direct translation in English that makes its meaning apparent. It could be translated as they, but it loses its inherent meaning, because elles is the third-person plural, but strictly feminine. So, I guess you could translate is as "the female they" or "the women" (though "the women" would just be les femmes).

So the exhibit is essentially "They (females only) at the Pompidou Center." Got it? Good.

I thought maybe it was just a special exhibit focusing on the existing art in the Pompidou by female artists.

Well, I was kind of right.

Take a look at some of the things I found in the exhibit.

At the entrance there was this display that featured the names of prominent male artists, but the names had been changed into a feminine version of the name (La Corbusier, Annie Warhol, Jacqueline Pollock). I thought that was pretty clever.

Barbara Kruger

Sylvie Fanchon

Sylvia Bachli

Lee Bontecou

Koo Jeong-A (An example of contemporary art that I doesn't appeal to me. Everything else I took pictures of I really liked).

More Barbara Kruger. (I love this, by the way. Maybe too much. I think it's really funny.)

Helen Frankenthaler

(I don't know who the artist was here. Just liked the look of them.)

Marthe Wery

Details of a Kristin Baker painting. Her subjects (inspired by car racing) aren't really my thing, but her technique is really cool.

I don't know who made this, but it was kind of interesting--a dress all covered in light bulbs.

Vera Molnar

I found a lot of pieces that I really loved in the exhibit. And then I saw this (you might want to click on it to see a bigger version):

This really annoyed me. I can understand that the curators probably wanted to make a point about how women artists were just as good as men. But here's the thing. I think you can do that without coming across as whiny little kids who are basically saying, "Hey, look at me, too!"
Why not give the exhibit another title, and then once everyone has gone through, have some sort of big reveal at the end that tells them how all of the works in the exhibit were by women?
Anyway. This was just one of the pieces of art, but it was at the beginning of the exhibit and I felt that it set the stage in a way that kind of tainted everything else that was featured.
It was still a really great exhibit, and I discovered several artists that I had never heard of whose work I really liked.

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