Le Centre Pompidou

A couple of weeks ago, two friends and I decided to visit Le Centre Pompidou, Paris’ modern art museum, after class.  It’s one of the few museums I remember from my family vacation nearly twelve years ago, so I was really excited to go back.  Now that I’ve got my Sciences Po student ID card, I can get into most museums in Paris for free, so I’ve been trying to take full advantage of that.  The best part about free entry is that I don’t feel any pressure to see everything or to stay long enough to get my money’s worth.  Since I’m already a pretty slow museum navigator, it’s nice to just stroll at a leisurely pace and know that I can always come back to see whatever I miss.

On the way to le Centre Pompidou

Palais de Justice on the way to Le Centre Pompidou

The Seine!

La Seine

Afternoon traffic

Afternoon traffic

Tower on the way to le Centre Pompidou

Tower on the way to le Centre Pompidou

Le Centre Pompidou

Le Centre Pompidou

Alexander Calder's Horizontal

Alexander Calder’s ‘Horizontal’

The museum building itself, as you can see, is really cool.  It’s escalators are encased in hamster tube-like structures that line the exterior and offer views of the surrounding neighborhood.  The space bridges the notions of inside and outside — architectural design as art, I guess.

Square in front of the museum

Square in front of the museum

In front of le Centre Pompidou

In front of le Centre Pompidou

Inside le Centre Pompidou

Inside le Centre Pompidou

Tube-encased, semi-exterior escalators

Tube-encased, semi-exterior escalators

The works on display were equally impressive and often striking — here are some of my favorites.

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Furniture?!

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View from le Centre Pompidou

View from Le Centre Pompidou

View from le Centre Pompidou

View from Le Centre Pompidou

Can you spot the Eiffel Tower?

Can you spot the Eiffel Tower?

The Eiffel Tower from le Centre Pompidou

The Eiffel Tower from Le Centre Pompidou

Sacre Coeur from le Centre Pompidou

Sacre Coeur from Le Centre Pompidou

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Leeum: Samsung Museum of Art

Two weekends ago, after the fantastic brunch I posted about previously, my UChicago classmate and I explored Itaewon by foot.  Neither of us really knew what Itaewon had to offer, so we wandered around aimlessly with the hope of discovering something interesting.  As it turns out, we did!

We spotted a sign for Leeum, the Samsung Museum of Art, in one of the alleys branching off from the main road.  The name sounded really familiar…and then I realized I had included it as a “must-see” in my oral presentation on sightseeing in Korea (for my Korean class in Chicago, of course)!  Neither of us had anywhere to be and we were right there, so we couldn’t pass it up.

Before even entering the museum itself, two giant spiders (like in Harry Potter, but bigger) loomed up out of nowhere.  We hadn’t seen them from the sidewalk because they’re located on a large deck above street level, so when I first caught sight of them, I was pretty awestruck.  It’s hard not to be when you come across a sculpture of a spider more than four times your height.  The piece is entitled “Maman” (French for mother) and is by Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist and sculptor.  Back in high school, I went to an exhibit of her work at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) for an art class, which equipped me with some insight into the themes that link much of her artwork.  She bases almost all of her pieces on past experiences and memories from her childhood and is known today as the “mother of confessional art”.  The spiders are pretty incredible to behold.

Inside, we bought tickets that granted us access to the entire museum and were directed to start on the fourth floor of ‘Museum 1’.  Leeum is split into two parts — ‘Museum 1’ is the traditional art wing, while ‘Museum 2’ showcases modern art — so I got to see celadon pottery and large installations in the same visit!  It also turns out this museum is a bit particular about how visitors go about — there were arrows at every turn and plenty of staff on hand to instruct you which way to go.  At least you know you don’t miss anything!

Here are some photo highlights from the afternoon:

A tiny ancient pillow… Ceramic pillows? Who knew!

The awesome spiral building that houses ‘Museum 1’ and the light installation that you can see in the picture of the lobby above.

Another cool installation.

No pictures allowed!

Some rules are meant to be broken…

“PDA not allowed”

A Takashi Murakami piece.

The museum cafe.

National Museum of Korea

I admit I have some catching up to do…

When there are a few consecutive days when I don’t post (as has been the case recently), it’s often because I’ve been out and about more than usual (a good thing!).  So, let us return to last Thursday, when I visited the National Museum of Korea.   Continue reading

The Perfect Café – Part 4 [Market O]

A week and a half ago, I went to Apgujeong with a couple of friends from class, one of whom lives in the area.  Apgujeong is located near the upscale and shopping-centric area of Gangnam, so it’s similarly characterized by higher-end stores and brand names.  We went on a search for a cute cafe to hang out in for the afternoon, which turned out to be a particularly good plan since it was raining. Continue reading

Sinchon Graffiti

I discovered one of Sinchon’s main drags today.  After taking the language placement test on campus this morning, I decided to wander around campus, hoping to end up on the busy streets of Sinchon (pronounced Shin-chon).  Both Yonsei and Ewha Women’s University are located in this neighborhood, so it’s known as a bustling college town full of restaurants, coffe shops, and plenty of nightlife.   Continue reading