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Banner of the Centre Pompidou's 40th Anniversary │ Courtesy of the Centre Pompidou
Banner of the Centre Pompidou's 40th Anniversary │ Courtesy of the Centre Pompidou
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The Centre Pompidou Unveils Spectacular Nationwide 40th Birthday Plans

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 23 September 2016
On January 31, 2017, the Centre Pompidou will turn 40. But there will be no drunken bathroom sobbing or questionable sportscar purchases as a result. No, instead Paris’ grand cathedral of modern and contemporary art will be celebrated with a year-long calendar of events and exhibitions across France.

In true Aquarian style – honest, intelligent, and imaginative – an ingenious plan has been devised to share out the fun of this major landmark’s anniversary. In total, 75 partner venues in 40 cities, from Lille to Lyon and Metz to Martinique, will be involved. The Paris museum will be offering many of its most famous works on loan to support the 50 exhibitions in its honor. There will be an additional 15 concerts, dance shows, theatrical performances and lectures over the course of the year. So no matter where you go in France between November 2016 and March 2018, there’s a high chance you’ll be able to sample the taste and originality of the Centre Pompidou.

The Centre Pompidou │© bogitw
The Centre Pompidou │ | © bogitw

The festivities will begin with a colorful, abstract bang at the Musée de Grenoble. Sixty masterpieces by the Russian painter and theorist Wassily Kandinsky, selected from the Pompidou’s permanent collection, will go on show from October 29, 2016 until January 29, 2017. The exhibition, entitled Les Années Parisiennes (The Paris Years), will also feature a wealth of archival material from the Pompidou’s dedicated Kandinsky library.

Red-Yellow-Blue – Kandinsky, 1925 │© Claude Valette
Red-Yellow-Blue – Kandinsky, 1925, via Wikimedia Commons | © Claude Valette

Come spring 2017, the Monnaie de Paris will pay tribute to work of the recently passed French painter, sculptor, and light artist François Morellet. From February 24th to May 21st, the façade of the building will be transformed into a vertical sculpture park, and inside his finest projects will be brought back to life. Don’t think this word choice insensitive: the exhibition itself is called Le Retour! (The Return!).

François Morellet, ‘L’Avalanche’
François Morellet, ‘L’Avalanche’ | © Florent Darrault/Flickr

As the weather heats up again (we hope), the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris will host a new exhibition exploring the relationship between three of the 20th century’s most influential artists: André Derain, Balthus, and Alberto Giacometti. From their meeting in 1933, through the intensification of their artistic friendship in 1935 and beyond, the crossovers in their lives, both personal and creative, will unfold in a story told by 200 of their works. Be sure to pay MAM a visit between June 2nd and October 29th.

André Derain - The Turning Road, L'Estaque │© Irina
André Derain – The Turning Road, L’Estaque │ | © Irina

Of Paris’ most unforgettable museum, at the very least visually, Audrey Azoulay, the French Secretary for Culture, has said: ‘Since its launch, the Centre Pompidou has given us another vision for culture which is multidisciplinary, arouses curiosity and throws new light on society today.’ To find out more about where, when and how to toast its achievements so far, check out the dedicated celebration website, or jump straight to the full program.

Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris, France