From Paris: Sebastian Puig checks out Kandinsky and Calder at the Pompidou.

Now what the heck does it say up there? (Surreptitious photos by Sebastian Puig all taken with special Get Smart® shoe phone.)

Q: What’s better than SUPERTITLES at the opera?

We loved seeing the exhaustive (and exhausting) Kandinsky retrospective at the Beaubourg, a.k.a. Centre Georges Pompidou: the bold splotches of color, the whimsical shapes, all that kinetic motion from the peripatetic 20th-century master whose career took him from the Blue Rider through the Bauhaus. The only thing that left us puzzled was the wall text, which was writ LARGE and placed WAAAY up the wall. I suppose it’s so that even if visitors are stacked five-deep and can’t see the art, they can at least read the name of the painting over the tousled heads of fellow art-gawkers. Maybe some U.S. museums will catch on to this user-friendly trick. The Guggenheim will get its opportunity in September, when the show travels to New York.

Calder at the Pompidou is up through July 20; Kandinsky, through Aug. 10.

Click on images to supersize.

The Pompidou: Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano’s 1977 inside-out masterpiece.

Both big shows are up on the 6-eme…just keep climbing

The building has one of the most fab views of Paris.

The view of Paree competes with the art where it leaks into the Pompidou’s galleries.

Art? Cityscape? Why, I’ll have both!

Kandinsky. With SUPERTITLES!

Kids love Calder because he was one of them.

Oh, by the way, if you haven’t seen it yet, on permanent display in its own pavilion near all the buskers and picnicking college students in the Place Beaubourg is Brancusi’s studio. And Renzo’s Piano’s reimagining of the sculptor’s environment is even better than the original: it’s got glass walls!

Brancusi was so in love with the harmony of his own permanent installation that when he sold a sculpture, he would replace it with a plaster cast. (See a 360-degree view of the whole studio here.)

After the show, a visit to the Café Beaubourg is in order – it is our favorite place in the area for beautiful people-watching ops.

It is best known for the concrete interieurs tres chic which put Philippe Starck on the map of design-lovers back in 1980. Keep the Gauloises outside, please; they interfere with the delicate — and expensive — nuances of the cordon bleu.


  1. Sean

    I don’t know about that super high up wall text. Seems like it would be something of a pain for wheelchair visitors.

  2. Philip Lee

    The Calder and Kadinsky exhibits were fantastic.

    Thought the film about transporting JFK’s body was flawed…They flew JFK back in Air Force One, with Jackie forcing them to modify the jet to accomodate the casket in the passenger cabin rather than in the luggage area. To my knowledge, his body was never transported via rail. Regardless, the imagery did capture the broad feeling of connection that many Americans felt.

    I enjoyed the Calder exhibit immensely, and found the video of his presentation of his circus charming and entertaining. His wire sculptures look as if he was drawing freehand in the air. The presentation with suspended exhibits and plainly visible shadows brought his pieces to life.

  3. SanSuzie

    I saw these shows in April and they both rocked. The crowds however, did not. And that is the most poorly organized museum space on earth. We had to stand on four different lines to get in.