Pompidou Centre denies spat with Guggenheim

15th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

HONG KONG, Dec 15 (AFP) - France's Pompidou Centre Wednesday scotched press reports of a spat with America's Guggenheim in which the Parisian museum called its US rival "second-class" and compared it to a "Coca-Cola factory".

HONG KONG, Dec 15 (AFP) - France's Pompidou Centre Wednesday scotched press reports of a spat with America's Guggenheim in which the Parisian museum called its US rival "second-class" and compared it to a "Coca-Cola factory".

Pompidou Centre chairman Bruno Racine said in a statement the two institutions had great respect for each other and often staged exhibitions together.

"We enjoy a longstanding and friendly relationship with the Guggenheim. This mutual respect is clearly demonstrated by our joint initiatives," the statement issued via the French Consulate General in Hong Kong said.

The statement followed a report in the South China Morning Post here which said Racine and other Pompidou heads had scoffed at the idea of the two institutions working together in a cultural district proposed for Hong Kong's Kowloon neighbourhood.

"We and Guggenheim have different concepts," he was quoted as saying in a report in the Post Monday. "We're not interested in managing a museum together with Guggenheim."

Other museum officials were less diplomatic.

"The Pompidou and Guggenheim are on different levels: we're world class, they are second class," chief curator Alain Sayag reportedly said.

"A museum is not a Coca-Cola factory; you can't have museum branches everywhere in the world," museum director Alfred Pacquement reportedly added, referring to the Guggenheim's branches around the world.

The two museums have joined a bid by a consortium of Hong Kong developers to build an arts and culture centre in the so-called West Kowloon Cultural District.

The Pompidou Centre made a big splash of its interest in the project, loaning the city a prized item from its collection, the huge 10-metre Parade by Spanish painter Picasso, as a token of its commitment.

The Guggenheim later pitched in with a proposal to add Hong Kong to its list of other cities - New York, Venice, Las Vegas and Bilbao - where it has museums.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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