Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Nice Art Museums

The Nice Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art or MAMAC displays pieces of arts from the 1950s onwards only. Officially inaugurated on June 21 1990, the museum was founded by Nice artist Yves Klein famous for his anthropometric paintings. As with many art museums, the idea of it blooms early on and it takes a few decades for it to grow and became reality. In this case, Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard developed the initial proposal of restructuring the Ponchettes Gallery located on the seaside that holds temporary exhibitions of paintings and drawings. This was soon abandoned in a favour of another constructing a modern art section in the Museum Massena garden. To the dismay of many artists, a parking building was put there. It would take the promotion of Claude Fournet to the position of director of Nice's Department of Museums for the idea to return in the mid 1970s.

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It would take a 1985 exhibition called Around Nice of new realist pieces by the School of Support-Surfaces in Nice to make the city officials realize that they needed a new museum. Thankfully, everything was fast-tracked so that the museum could be opened sooner than usual. And what a treat for the eyes!

Glass footbridges and Carrara marble towers are the main elements of the building. Let us bow down to the architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal for the design, which is simply a tetrapod arch that wonderfully fits into Nice's urban world. Each tower has a 20-metre base and measures 30 metres high. None of the towers have exterior windows but the glass footbridges connect them to each other. The use of red-ochre and olive trees blends into the surrounding area known as the Promenade des Arts. Each tower has four levels; three for exhibitions and one for public use, which is a terrace. What you see on the 2nd and 3rd floors are the permanent collections, while the 1st holds any temporary exhibition.

The terrace is called the Jardin d'Eden. Do not forget to come here! The views of Nice from this point are just breathtaking. Filled with flowers and plants, you can find a few pieces of art here, but its purpose is for you to rest and look out over Nice.

Moving on to the art itself, the museum only shows European and American art from the 1950s and how they evolved. What the Europeans called New Realism was Pop Art on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Examples of which are some pop art by Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. Two of Klein's major pieces are here, the Garden of Eden and Wall of Fire, but there are 20 of his works on display in a separate section. Local artists can be found, such as Sacha Sosno and Robert Malavaal. You can also come across some German fauvists and Italian avant-garde artists.


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