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“Elles@Centrepompidou”: The Way Art Should Be

Throughout history, the French have certainly contributed their own interpretation of la femme through fashion and cultural sophistication. Things are about to get way more interesting thanks to a new exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris: elles@centrepompidou features over 500 works of art exclusively by women, taking over most of the huge modern museum. Spanning the early 20th century to the present, the collection divides itself into themes like “The Activist Body” or “A Room of One’s Own,” which uses Virginia Woolf’s manifesto to explore the concept of personal feminine space. Camille Morineau, curator of the exhibition, knew such a display would be a huge risk and enormous statement. While viewers may find some of the work aesthetically pleasing (like the Freida Kahlo paintings), much of the contemporary stuff comes from an extreme feminist perspective that’s violently aggressive. Yet, this might be what the art world needs, as Morineau told the LA Times that creating gender discourse in art in Europe has been nearly obsolete. Morineau, whose eyes were opened to women’s studies and gender issues at Williams College, explained that when she returned to Paris, “I kept waiting for the subject to pop up at a museum or university. I taught at l’École du Louvre for 10 years and tried to create a gender studies program. Impossible.” To bring back the ’90s phrase “girl power” now might seem outdated, yet somehow we think that Morineau may have that subject covered. [Gogoparis.com, Centrepompidou.fr]

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