Buildings can be works of art in and of themselves. Ask any architect who has designed a building and seen it grace the landscape. Their creation is a living, breathing part of the world. The Centre Pompidou Metz, designed by Shigeru Ban and Jean de Gastines, cuts and flows through the landscape of Metz, France. It holds its own in the mix-matched styles throughout this eastern French city, one of the few French metropolises that are close to the German border.
As soon as you step onto the square that the museum calls home, you understand that the Centre Pompidou Metz was created to make a statement. The building extends over 10,000 square meters, more than half of the interior space going to exhibits. The restaurant, gardens and forum hold even more space for events and artwork to be displayed. Massive amounts of construction is happening around the Centre Pompidou Metz to create more condos, shops and businesses who can take advantage of this modern metamorphosis exploding in this part of the city of Metz.
The exterior of the Centre Pompidou-Metz is worth the trip alone. The wooden hexagonal roof is covered with a fabric skin, allowing light to filter through almost every angle. The entry welcomes you in with a massive exhibit that reflects a larger exhibit in the museum (in the case of our visit, the massive half dome structure created by Tadashi Kawamata reflected his “Under the Water” exhibit in Gallery 2).
Inside this hexagonal building you will find a series of exhibits in the three galleries the building holds that change out every few months and years, depending on the length of the exhibition. The ever-changing exhibits make this a museum you could easily visit over and over again. The children and teen programming creates a space for families to enjoy together, immerse themselves in the thriving art collection that comes to this corner of Europe from across the globe, and sparks creativity to make their own artwork through child and teen workshops. Most importantly, this is a place where friends, families and strangers can reflect on the past and look towards the future of art as it unfolds.
• Click above images to see full gallery •
Centre Pompidou Metz Exhibits
Modern architecture collided with the shared history of France and Germany in the “Between Two Horizons: French and German Faces of Modern Art through Saarlandmuseum Collection” when this new exhibit opened in late June 2016 (running through January 2017). This artistic look at the complex relationship that Germany and France have shared over 100 years and two world wars brought home just how horrific the battles were, but also how art can still bind us together and heal old wounds. My family and I had been tracing the steps of American WWI soldiers from Paris to Metz, making this exhibit all the more impactful as it brought another side to the wars both nations have faced in over 100 years and the cultural impact it had on art and society.
Artists between the two countries have been influencing each other for centuries. They each shared questions and concerns through hard times, and created their own schools of art that would impact the other from Impressionism to Abstract Expressionism, as well as the influence of new American artists living abroad. Exhibition artists include Monet, Pisarro, Matisse all the way to Bauhaus and artists such as Deroubaix and Meese.
Even if you aren’t an art lover, you will be able to appreciate the Centre Pompidou-Metz for its ingenious design, and overwhelming power over the contemporary landscape of this French city. The graceful wooden lines cut through the sky, creating a space that welcomes instead of intimidates. Art lovers and families looking to expose their children to the art of this world will never be disappointed when they visit the Centre Pompidou Metz. After all, you never know what exhibit will be waiting for you there.
France is full of museums, including our favorites–
the Lourve with Kids and the Musee d’Orsay with Kids
Know Before You Go
- Centre Pompidou-Metz, 1, parvis des Droits-de-l’Homme, CS 90490, 57020 Metz Cedex 1
- Hours: 10am-6pm (7pm April through October)
- Admission: $$ (free for small children)
- Restaurant? Yes.
- Stroller-friendly? Yes.
- Information in English? Yes, the website and museum both have information and pamphlets in English that highlight the exhibits.
Many thanks to Centre Pompedou-Metz, ATOUT France, and the city of Metz for hosting my family so we explore the art and beauty of the area. As always, my opinions are my own. When they aren’t you will be the first to know.