Musee Guimet and Musee d’Art Moderne
Charlotte and Michael decided to have another trip up the Eiffel Tower which allowed me a morning to explore. I originally planned to head to Musee d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris but along the way, I managed to find this quaint, very French market. There was something special about stumbling upon this very established market that made the event special. The market had very fresh food, along with traditional market-style items.
While wondering through,I noticed this fabulous building on the corner that clearly looked like a museum, so I headed in.
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Musee Guimet / National Museum of Asian Arts Guimet
Of course, one of the first things I did after paying (Museum Pass wasn’t valid) was to ask if there was a curator available. Unfortunately, as it was a Saturday, none were available. After chatting to the usher, I was provided with a contact of someone to call on Monday.
The magnificent Asian museum was floor after floor of wonderful artefact representing this ancient culture. I must admit that Asian art is not my forte but even I could see the impressive work and style that went into each piece.
This free museum was the perfect ending to this museum-filled holiday.
Entering this very imposing building, I was greeted with a very friendly usher who kindly stored my bag filled with my market finds and a very embarrassing Eiffel Tower my husband bought in the morning. This awkward piece of Tourist, hm, item led to a fabulous conversation that filled in some gaps I wouldn’t have been able to have asked as, again, there were no Lead curators about on a Saturday.
I spent the first two hours exploring the gallery. The vast collection is divided in separate exhibition such as Abstraction, Cubism, Realist, Surrealism, etc. The divides between were very subtle, but quite obvious. Their use of soft signage impressed me.
You start with the Fauvism and Cubism, including Picasso, before heading to Gallery 2, Abstraction-Creation. Abstraction is something that I just don’t get, but I did spend time trying to appreciate the pieces shown as examples.
In this room, I saw a curator speaking to a group of young children. I was instantly intrigued by this and knew I had to find out more about these Kids in Museums activities.
In Gallery 3, I was greeted with a stark white room with very French decorative art furniture. The large gold art on the fore-wall was created by Jean Dunand and was called Sports. It had a very Athens Olympic vibe to it.
Galleries 4, 5, 6, and 7 had very interesting, and some disturbing Dada and Surrealist piece. In recent years, I’ve come to appreciate surrealism more (mainly due to Charlotte’s appreciation of Salvatore Dali but some of these pieces were just too far.
I didn’t spend much time in Gallery 8 Paris School, Gallery 9 Realist Art, Gallery 10 Abstract Art or Gallery 11 Martin Collection, but I did scan the rooms to see if anything caught my eye.
The other galleries also were quite a quick peruse for me as I just wasn’t getting some of the works . One particular piece that I really did like was called:
Jean Croft 1878-1858 Explicatif / Manifeste Tabii
This piece looked like a chalkboard with an advert on the bottom right hand corner. There is a rather large, but narrow while arrow going from the off-left to the bottom of the art work. For me, it looked like an advert for art which gave it a new but yet 50’s feel to the piece.
After my tour, I went to get my bag (sadly, the Eiffel Tower wasn’t ‘mis-placed’ while I was away). While retrieving my items, I again started chatting with David Giordanella. David has a clear passion for Musee d’Art moderne which was evident in his replies. When I asked if he would mind me asking some questions, he didn’t hesitate at all (this was after I was provided the director’s and communication director’s phone numbers as, again – Saturday). I personally feel the enthusiasm David spoke with lead to non-scripted answers.
How can the Museum afford to be free?
In December 2001, the Mayor of Paris decided that the museum would be free for all to enter. There are some temporary exhibition which are additional fees which helps supports the running.
How could the Mayor make this decision?
Musee d’Art Moderne is not a National museum, it’s City lead.
How many visitors to you receive a year?
In 2010, we had 380,000 visitors.
The Kids in Museum Activities – how do children get involved?
We have a wonderful Educational and Cultural Office which provides these resources for children. You only need to call up and reserve a spot. The groups are shown by age group. Ages 4-6 have 1 ½ hours for 3.80 while the 7-11 have 2 hours as their attention span is longer for 6.50.
These activities were established quite a few years ago and are very successful during the summer holidays. They also run normal school events (as most museums provide).
The Educational and Cultural Office also provides several events geared specifically for children throughout the year. These are usually for local children, but all visitors welcome.
As it was getting closer to meeting Michael and Charlotte, I sadly had to cut the interview there. But I left being more impressed with Musee d’Art Moderne after speaking with David. It goes to show that sometimes, a vile piece of tourist tat could lead to an educational conversation.