Sunday, May 15, 2011

Musée du Quai Branly

Last week John and I visited one of Paris' newest museums, the Musee du Quai Branly, situated on the Seine just east of the Eiffel Tower. Contemporary architect, Jean Nouvel, has created a postmodern structure for the anthropological museum with a glass wall and a "green wall" of vegetation facing the Seine.
On entering we found ourselves passing through a thick garden of grasses and shrubs facing the colourful, pop-out blocks on the main building. Certainly a fresh take on museum structure. Nouvel was apparently trying to break the distinction between outside and inside architecture.
Inside we were led along a red path through a vast, dark space that housed the collections from all around the world excluding Europe.
The collection is superb and beautifully lit. The masks like this one in the Oceanic collection are evocative and beautifully made.
Once we were used to the layout of the place, we quickly relaxed and even got playful. John was not the only visitor who couldn't resist taking the pose of this Oceanic sculpture.
The collection of African masks is amazing.
Often there are video screens in the walls or little rooms with seating to demonstrate how the ritual items are used by various cultures so that one can gain a context beyond seeing them merely as beautiful objects of art.
Leaving the stilted structure we were surprised to find ourselves back on the banks of the Seine and the modern, Western city.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't had a chance to visit this museum yet myself, but it is definitely on my list. Thanks for the photos!
    As usual, I am vicariously enjoying your vacation.

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  2. That's great to hear, Lisa. Thank you.
    So are you back from Istanbul? Was it wonderful? Your apt? The cool neighborhood?

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