Prominent Director of New French Art Museum to Lecture at Bechtler Museum of Modern Art

NOVEMBER 22, 2010

The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art presents a lecture by Laurent Le Bon, a leading authority on modern and contemporary art, December 1, 2010 at 6 p.m. Le Bon serves as Director of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, the new satellite of the renowned Centre Pompidou in Paris. The Centre Pompidou is the official home of France’s national collection of modern art.

Le Bon, 41, has been described as the “young Turk of the French art scene.” He’s considered by many to be a rising star among curators worldwide and, as the Director of the Pompidou-Metz, is on his way to becoming a major force in the art world.

“The Bechtler Museum of Modern Art is extremely pleased to welcome Laurent Le Bon to Charlotte where we will share further the excitement of opening a new museum and all that it can bring our regions,” said Bechtler President and CEO John Boyer. 

Le Bon’s lecture in Charlotte will highlight the objectives, cultural programs and unique architecture of the Centre Pompidou-Metz, a $91-million art museum located 175 miles east of Paris in the small town of Metz. The museum opened to huge crowds and much fanfare May 12, 2010. Le Bon’s speech will also focus on the museum’s blockbuster opening exhibition Masterpieces?, which investigates the question of what constitutes a masterpiece.

Le Bon is the curator of Masterpieces?, a survey of 780 works primarily drawn from the Centre Pompidou Paris collection but also the Louvre, the Musée d'Orsay, the Quai Branly Museum, New York's Museum of Modern Art and Switzerland's Beyeler Foundation. In the 2008 book, Centre Pompidou-Metz, Le Bon described the exhibition as being more than just a succession of important works and that he intended it to appeal to the general public as much as the specialist. “The exhibition is above all a reflection of our ideas of taste, collections, museums and artistic judgment,” he wrote. “Its original scenography enables us to see or revisit works in a new context and tell their evolution, their life and their history.”

In addition to discussing highlights of his museum’s opening exhibition, Le Bon’s lecture will include information about another type of artwork. The Centre Pompidou-Metz museum building is a masterpiece in its own right. Looking like the traditional Chinese bamboo hat that served as architectural inspiration, the modular structure possesses a curved roof made of wooden hexagonal units which are supported by a central metallic spire and four conical pillars. The large surface area of the signature roof element covers a collection of interior spaces where three galleries unite.

Laurent Le Bon Lecture

Date: December 1, 2010

Time/location: 6 p.m. reception in Bechtler lobby; 6:30 p.m. lecture in Wells Fargo Auditorium (inside the Knight Theater)

Tickets: Free for museum members (reservations required), $10 for non-members. Purchase and/or reserve tickets online, by phone at 704.353.9200 or in person at the visitor services desk.

About the Centre Pompidou-Metz

Located in Metz, the Lorraine region of France, the Centre Pompidou-Metz is the first offshoot of a major French cultural institution. Sibling to the Centre Pompidou in Paris, it presents multi-disciplinary programs that engage all audiences, and looks to the spirit, expertise and values of the Centre Pompidou. The Centre Pompidou-Metz hosts temporary exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, with works drawn from the collection of the Centre Pompidou, Europe's foremost collection of modern art. For details visit the Centre Pompidou-Metz website

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