The Carré d’Art will turn thirty on May 9, 2023. Its building, designed by English architect Lord Norman Foster, makes a strong architectural statement. It presides over the heart of the city, on the site of the ancient Roman forum and temple, from which it derives its name, the Maison Carré “The Square House”.

The museum’s 2023 season will be dedicated to celebrating its collection, one of the most extensive contemporary art collections, both nationally and internationally. The Carré d’Art’s thirtieth anniversary will also mark the beginning of an era in the city of Nimes where contemporary art will be occupying a key position in this city, which is possessed of an exceptional historical heritage, but whose identity is also resolutely modern. Located on an exceptional site, the mission of the Carré d’Art – Museum of Contemporary Art is to collect, preserve, and present contemporary works of art, making them accessible to the widest public possible through exhibitions, publications and pedagogical projects.

A Singular Perspective on Contemporary Art

Today, museums have a particular role to play, in understanding the past, and conceiving the, future. They offer a critical space to counter the, spectacularization and instrumentalization of, art., When taking a critical look at the works of a, collection, it is important to perceive them in, their historical context, whether esthetic or, political, in terms of their links with the present, and the future. The collection is presented, from a specific perspective, a precise moment, in which globalization, social networks, and, new ecological and social issues have deeply, changed the way in which we relate to the, world.

The exhibition of any museum collection, will always be a learning process, something, that will raise questions. With each story one, chooses to tell, there are necessarily others that, get left behind., Although the Carré d’Art’s mission is not, specifically universalist, the works shown, demonstrate that, over the last decades, it, has become clear that Europe and the United, States are no longer the only continents in play., Other parts of the world, such as the Middle, East or Asia, have carved out their reputations, showing the complexity of the world in which, we live. Over these last years, a reinterpretation, of history has enabled us to rethink the places, and visibility of women and minorities in the, collection, as well as the programs.

«The 30th anniversary of the Carré d’Art marks the launch of a new initiative, one where contemporary art will be center stage. Consequently, as of 2024, the Mayor of Nimes, Jean-Paul Fournier, and myself, have set out to coordinate a major event of international scope, dedicated to contemporary art, but based locally, one which includes the population of Nimes and local artists. We have just chosen the Artistic Director for it, and the result will be the creation of a new destination, one that will develop another form of cultural expression, one focused on the future, which will further increase the appeal of our city.»

Sophie Roulle, Assistant Commissioner of Culture

The Collection

Instituted in 1986, the museum’s collection comprises almost 600 works created from 1960 to the present day. They are grouped into three principal categories:

• The representation of movements that originated in the south of France, such as Nouveau Réalisme, Supports-Surfaces, and Figuration Libre (known in the US as Neo-Expressionism);
• Arte Povera: including the works of Mario Merz, Giuseppe Penone, Alighiero Boetti and Giovanni Anselmo;
• Key works of American artists such as Richard Artschwager, Allan Kaprow, Joseph Kosuth and Christopher Wool, as well as German painting, including the works of Gerhard Richter, Sigmar Polke and Albert Oehlen, along with installations by Thomas Schütte.
• Sophie Calle, Annette Messager and Suzanne Lafont, key figures of the French art scene, are also represented in the collection through a series of photographic works and installations.
• New acquisitions include the works of artists like Walid Raad, Ryan Gander, Georg Baselitz and Taryn Simon.

The Commemorative Program

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of the Carré d’Art, Jean-Marc Prévost, the General Director of the Carré d’Art Museum of Contemporary Art, has joined forces with the five other major museums of Nimes, the Library of the Carré d’Art, and the École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, to create a program of exhibitions, activities and events, organized around several landmark moments.

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