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The (Jean) Nouvel Other: Primitivism and the Musée du Quai Branly

Ruiz-Gómez, Natasha (2006) 'The (Jean) Nouvel Other: Primitivism and the Musée du Quai Branly.' Modern & Contemporary France, 14 (4). 417 - 432. ISSN 0963-9489

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The Musée du Quai Branly, located beside the Eiffel Tower in Paris, opened in June 2006. Constructed to house France's important collection of non-western art, the museum has been promoted as ‘decidedly post-colonial’ and a place of ‘reconciliation and sharing’. Historians have situated the creation of the museum within political debates over the restructuring of several of France's museums and, more broadly, the country's position in a post-colonial world, while focusing little critical attention on the building itself. The author argues that Jean Nouvel's architectural program for the Musée du Quai Branly—a ‘primitive shelter’ surrounded by a ‘sacred wood’—gives physical form to a primitivist aesthetic. The unproblematised binaries of self versus other and culture versus nature evident in Nouvel's design reveal a surprisingly unsophisticated theoretical standpoint. As a frame in which to view and understand the objects on display, the Musée du Quai Branly invites a primitivist—and colonial—reading of its collection.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Philosophy and Art History, School of
Depositing User: Users 161 not found.
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2017 13:35
Last Modified: 25 Jun 2021 10:15

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