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A Museum a Day Keeps the Art Blues Away

 The "new" Picasso Museum - Paris, FranceThe “new” Picasso MuseumPresident François Hollande at the Inauguration - Paris, FrancePresident François Hollande at the InaugurationGehry's Chiat Day in Venice, CaliforniaGehry’s Chiat Day in Venice, CaliforniaThe Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe Walt Disney Concert Hall Los Angeles, CaliforniaThe Guggenheim Museum in BilbaoThe Guggenheim Museum in BilbaoLocation of Fondation Louis Vuitton - Paris, FranceLocation of Fondation Louis Vuitton

The buzz is certainly out about the new “musée” in town — not the Musée National Picasso (which reopens officially this Friday). No, I’m talking about the “Fondation Louis Vuitton,” designed by American architect Frank Gehry located in the Bois de Boulogne (8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi).

The inauguration made all the news, with interviews of Gehry himself and President François Hollande in attendance. With 13 years from inception, it must feel awfully rewarding for Gehry and Louis Vuitton to see it open and fully realized. It was the “brainchild of France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, the chief executive and founder of the FLV.” Of course, the museum is designed to house his personal collection of art — a collection that includes the works of such illustrious contemporary artists as, Christian Boltanski, Ellsworth Kelly, Gilbert & George and Jeff Koons.

National news channel France 24 showed it off this week in an article and video online worth a read and viewing to learn more about it. Wikipedia has a good report on it, too, where you can get more of the details.

Gehry’s work has always fascinated me, from the moment I first laid eyes on the fun-loving giant binoculars of the Chiat/Day building in Venice, California to the stunning Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles — which may be the most beautiful contemporary building I’ve ever seen. Sadly, I haven’t yet had the pleasure of visiting the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, but now will have the privilege of visiting the new “FLV” thanks to someone who wants to give back to the country that made him rich. As we understand it, the now privately owned museum will be donated to the city of Paris in 55 years.

Naturally with anything newly introduced in France, there is criticism and controversy. Buildings that continue to be opposed by the locals include the Centre Pompidou and the Pyramide du Louvre, but let’s not forget that at one time, the residents were opposed to the Eiffel Tower,too!

Imagine, the building takes up a tiny drop in the enormous Bois de Boulogne, but some neighborhood activists protested against reducing the green space in order to build the magnificent structure. (Some people just love to complain.) Then, others aren’t happy about the publicity this gains for the Louis Vuitton empire and Bernard Arnault, who requested Belgian nationality a couple years ago when France was about to impose a 75% tax on his earnings. (Do you blame him?) On top of that, rival Francois Pinault, art collector and major shareholder and Honorary Chairman of the retail company Kering also envisioned such a museum in the same location, but the red tape made it so difficult, he eventually opened the Palazzo Grassi in Venice, Italy, which now holds the Pinault collection. (By coincidence, I was just visiting the Palazzo Grassi last week, the reason for my trip to Venice — just to see the Irving Penn exhibit.)

One big reason for living in Paris has always been the accessibility to art. So, tomorrow I’ll visit the Picasso thanks to a special invitation to the residents of the 3rd arrondissement for a sneak preview one day before the official opening and then will visit the new FLV at the beginning of November with tickets purchased online.

A museum a day keeps the art blues away.

A la prochaine,

Adrian Leeds, The Adrian Leeds Group - at the Guggenheim in Venice, ItalyAdrian Leeds

The Adrian Leeds Group

(at the Guggenheim in Venice, Italy)

Respond to Adrian

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