Rendezvous: Masterpieces from the Pompidou and Guggenheim

Rendezvous: Masterpieces from the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums


Press Preview: Thursday, October 15, 1998, 10 am to 2 pm
Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 88th Street), New York City
Remarks will begin at 11:30 am

Honorary Chair: Madame Georges Pompidou

Masterpieces by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, and many other artists will fill the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum this fall when two of the world's most important collections of Modern art are brought together for an unprecedented exhibition. On view from October 16, 1998, to January 24, 1999, Rendezvous: Masterpieces from the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums features more than 300 paintings, sculptures, and drawings by more than 150 artists, and forms an exceptional exhibition chronicling the history of Modern art from the turn of the century to 1970. The exhibition represents a partnership between the two museums to exhibit jointly masterworks from their permanent collections, offering the public the unique opportunity to see works of art presented side by side that are usually separated by an ocean.

This exhibition is sponsored by Revlon.

Transportation assistance is provided by Air France.

This exhibition is supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, New York and an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts & Humanities. Additional support is provided by The Florence Gould Foundation.

Rendezvous: Masterpieces from Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums is organized by Bernard Blisténe, Deputy Director of Exhibitions and Contemporary Art, Centre Georges Pompidou; and Lisa Dennison, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. Renowned industrial designer Andrée Putman is the designer of the exhibition installation.

This exhibition represents the first time in the institution's history that the Musée national d'art moderne will allow its extraordinary core collection of masterpieces to travel outside Paris, a special circumstance made possible because the Centre Georges Pompidou will close for two years for the renovation and expansion of its galleries and facilities. Thus, Rendezvous offers a comparison of two great art institutions, one American, one French, and of American and European approaches to collecting.

Although the two collections are merged for the exhibition, the identity of each is discernible. Structurally, the Musée national d'art moderne and the Guggenheim represent two distinct kinds of museums: the public, government-run institution and the private museum. The former is one institution within a multidisciplinary cultural center, and the latter is one in a network of international museums. One originally celebrated the Modern art produced in France, the other non-objective painting.

Despite these fundamental differences, there exist numerous parallels between the Guggenheim and Centre Georges Pompidou and the development of their collections. Both museums were founded at roughly the same time, and their collections were profoundly marked by the vision of their first directors: Jean Cassou for the Musée national d'art moderne and Hilla Rebay for the Museum of Non-Objective Painting (as the Guggenheim was originally named). Further, both institutions came to be defined by visionary architecture: the Frank Lloyd Wright spiral designed for the Guggenheim Museum (opened in 1959), and the "inside-out" construction created by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers for the Centre Georges Pompidou (opened in 1977).

In their holdings of artworks from 1900 to 1945, the collections of the Guggenheim and Centre Georges Pompidou exhibit other strong similarities. In many instances, one institution owns the preliminary study for the final painting in the collection of the other, such as Vasily Kandinsky's paintings and oil studies of Landscape with Tower (1908) and In the Black Square (1923), Marc Chagall's drawing and final painting for Green Violinist (1923-24), and Marcel Duchamp's drawing and final painting for The Chess Players (1911). Works from each collection representing a single motif or series in an artist's career are reunited in this exhibition, including two "muse" sculptures by Constantin Brancusi and three paintings from Robert Delaunay's Windows series (1912-14). In other cases, a complementary relationship exists between artists working on the same theme, such as the extraordinary depiction of sleep in Picasso's Woman with Yellow Hair (1931) from the Guggenheim and Matisse's The Dream (1935) from the Pompidou.

In its presentation of European and American art from 1945 to 1970, Rendezvous continues to exhibit similarities between the two collections, most notably each institution's significant holdings of Jean Dubuffet paintings. Yet the exhibition also allows the viewer to observe parallel movements in American and European art: American Abstract Expressionism with European Art Informel; American Neo-Dada and Pop Art with French Nouveau Réalisme; American Minimalism and Process Art with Italian Arte Povera and French Supports-Surfaces; as well as both American and European forms of conceptual art. These juxtapositions will help make possible a reconsideration of artistic developments in both Western Europe and the United States.

As a summary of modern art, Rendezvous embodies André Malraux's concept of the "musée imaginaire," in which seminal works of art from different collections can be seen together in a way that is not usually possible. Since the Pompidou opened in 1977, much of its collection has remained within the walls of its galleries. When the Pompidou reopens in 2000, it is unlikely that such an ensemble of the masterpieces from its core collection will be presented outside Paris again.

A 700-page catalogue, co-published by the Guggenheim Museum and the Centre Georges Pompidou, will be available. It will feature full-color illustrations of works in the exhibition, as well as essays by Thomas Krens, Director of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation; Jean-Jacques Aillagon, President of the Centre Georges Pompidou; Werner Spies, Director of the Musée national d'art moderne; Bernard Blisténe; Lisa Dennison; Yve-Alain Bois, Joseph J. Pulitzer Jr. Professor of Modern Art at Harvard University; Stanley Cavell, Walter M. Cabot Professor of Aesthetics and General Theory of Value at Harvard University; Jean-Louis Cohen, Professor at the University of Paris and the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University; and Mark C. Taylor, Cluett Professor of Humanities and Religion at Williams College.

Public Programs
In conjunction with Rendezvous: Masterpieces from Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums, the Guggenheim Museum will present a wide-ranging program of activities for the public. Free guided tours, events for children, and lectures by curators will be offered. A series of performing arts events including French theater and new music will supplement the visual art component of the exhibition. In addition, several programs highlighting aspects of French culture, including a film series and an architecture symposium, will be presented in conjunction with the Guggenheim Museum SoHo's concurrent exhibition, Premises: Invested Spaces in Visual Arts, Architecture, and Design from France, 1958-98. (Please refer to the Premises press release for further details on the special programs associated with that exhibition.)

These programs are presented under the auspices of The Sackler Center for Arts Education, a major facility for the museum's education initiatives that support programs throughout the museum. The following schedule is subject to change; please visit the admissions desk to confirm daily schedules. Unless otherwise noted, the public programs will be held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1071 Fifth Avenue (at 89th Street).

Daily Tours
Uptown, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, public tours of Rendezvous: Masterpiecesfrom Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums will be held daily. Tour times are posted at the museum's information desk in the main rotunda, where the tours also begin.

On Sundays, October 25, November 15, December 13, and January 10, at 4 pm, a certified sign-language interpreter will accompany the guide for Rendezvous: Masterpieces from Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums and will interpret the tour for hearing-impaired visitors.

A Curatorial Eye: Gallery Tours
On Fridays, October 30 and January 8, at 2 pm, Craig Houser, Curatorial Assistant, will lead guided tours of the exhibition. Each tour is limited to 30 people; reservations are taken at the information desk the morning of the program. Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs) are available and have been made possible through public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts. Support has also been provided by a generous grant from the Sprint Foundation.

French Theater Evenings
On Sunday, October 25, at 8 pm, the Guggenheim Museum will host the UBU Repertory Theater's presentation (in French) of Ionesco's masterpiece of absurdist theater, La Cantatrice Chauve (The Bald Soprano). Directed by Fran_oise Kourilsky, La Cantatrice Chauve is a comic classic by this master playwright. The program is presented with the support of Mary Sharp Cronson, Producer, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Admission is $10 ($7 for members, senior, and students).

On Sunday, November 15, at 8 pm, the Guggenheim Museum will present "Celebrating HenriMichaux," a montage of works by this major French poet. In English translation and directed by Françoise Kourilsky. Presented by UBU Repertory Theater with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Admission $10 ($7 for members, students, and seniors).

French Contemporary Music

On Sunday, November 1, at 8 pm, the chamber-music group Ensemble 21 will perform a concert featuring works by some of France's premiere contemporary composers, including G_rard Grisey, Philippe Hurel, Philippe Leroux and Tristan Murail. The program is presented by Jason Eckardt and Marilyn Nonken with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Admission $10 ($7 for members, students, and seniors).

On Thursday, December 3, at 8 pm, the Miller Theater at Columbia University hosts The Ensemble Sospeso. The ensemble will perform works by Marc-André Dalbavie in the presence of the composer, as well as works by other young French composers. For information please call (212) 854-7799.

On Tuesday, December 8, at 8 pm, pianist Dominique My will lead the world-renowned Ensemble Fa, comprising eight musicians and a soprano, in its presentation of two world premieres: the first by Philippe F_nelon, highly lauded for his opera "Salammb_" at the Paris Opera House, and the second by Jacques Lenot. Both composers will be present for the performance. Original works by Hughes Dufuort and Gérard Grisey will complete the program. This evening is presented with the support of Mary Sharp Cronson, Producer, Works & Process at the Guggenheim, and the Cultural Services of the French Embassy. Admission $10 ($7 for members, students, and seniors).

On Tuesday, January 19, at 8 pm, two soloists and two sound engineers of the internationallyacclaimed IRCAM Institute of Paris will perform. The concert will feature soprano Donatienne Michel-Dansac and clarinetist Pierre Dutrieu. Presented with the support of the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and Fran_aise d'Action Artistique (AFAA). Admission $10 ($7 for members, students, and seniors).

French Films for Children On Sundays, November 22 and January 10 at 2 pm, the museum presents a mini-festival of French films for children and their families. On November 22, the museum will screen the classic films The Red Balloon and The Little Prince. On January 10, the series continues with Babar: The Movie, based on the famous storybook characters created by Jean and Laurent de Brunhoff. Tickets to the films are free with museum admission and are available at the admissions desk on the day of the screening.

Family Tours and Workshops
On Sundays, November 1 and December 6, from 2 to 4 pm, families are invited to tour the exhibition and participate in a hands-on arts workshop. Groups will meet at the museum's information desk in the main rotunda of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and a museum guide will lead children ages 5 to 10 through the exhibition. The children will then participate in workshops, which build upon the themes explored in the gallery tours. On November 1, children will explore the exhibition and will then join teaching artist Jon Cassotta to create personal box constructions inspired by the work of Joseph Cornell. On December 6, following a tour of masterpieces in the exhibition, children will create their own sleep study drawings inspired by works of Matisse and Picasso. The cost for each program, including materials, is $10 per child ($5 for members), plus museum admission. Enrollment is limited to 20 children per session. Preregistration is required through the Museum Box Office at (212) 423-3587.

Family Activity Guides to Rendezvous: Masterpieces from Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums will be available at the museum. Using this free guide, children and their parents can learn about art movements, artists, and landmark buildings.

Curriculum Guide and Information Packets for Educators
A free guidebook, which uses objects in the exhibition Rendezvous: Masterpieces from Centre Georges Pompidou and the Guggenheim Museums to reinforce school curriculum areas such as French, history, art, and social studies, is distributed free of charge to all New York City public schools. Free materials may be requested by calling (212) 423-3781.

September 28, 1998


Director of Public Affairs

Guggenheim Museum

Telephone: 212/423-3840

Telefax: 212/423-3787


Jean-Pierre Biron

Director of Communication


Carol Rio

Chief Press Officer

Centre Georges Pompidou

Telephone: 011-33-1-44-78-42-16

Telefax: 011-33-1-44-78-13-02


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