Friday, April 3, 2009

Musée Quai Branley and the Jazz Age

Musée Quai Branley, located on the Left Bank in the 7th, is home to cultural artifacts representing indigenous arts from Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas.  Designed by Jean Novel, (be sure to check out his site, it is very cool) this dizzyingly modern museum is worth a visit both for its interior and exterior.  The glass wall above, holding museum goers outside its grounds in long lines that can go forever, leaves one feeling as though they are entering into a large terrarium which we as museum patrons become a part of.  The courtyard is filled with plantings reflecting the regions represented inside, while the facade of the administrative building is a vertical garden completely covered in flora from all parts of the world.  

The razzle dazzle continues on the interior as well, although I couldn't find blog worthy photos that showed how interesting it can be.  The space is cavernous and dark--lighting is a game that is played with uniquely designed windows and colorings that add to the mystery of both the space and the regions it represents.  Perhaps that is where one of the museum's restaurants,  Les Ombres (The Shadows) gets its name.  For those of us not use to fine dining in our city's museums, this one gets consistently high marks and doesn't come cheap.

The museum is fabulously multi-purpose.  There are large spaces for concerts/plays/lectures and an extensive research and teaching department with multi-media displays throughout.  A quiet reading room with over 5000 volumes is devoted to expanding on the museum's collections.

I bring all of this to your attention because A.) you should visit this place when you are in Paris and B.) currently they have an exposition called:  

The Jazz Age,  showcasing jazz and its evolution through the graphic arts.  A collection of film, literature, comics and advertising explores specifically the development of jazz in Europe and France during the 30's and 40's.  Quite the time for this genre of music in Paris.  I wish I could transport myself back to the days of Josephine Baker and the like, partying till all hours of the night/early morning.  I think at my age, that would be the end of me.  Recovery from not enough sleep is bad enough.  Add some alcohol and I am done!  But I'd certainly make the effort.

Additional information: 

Photo credits:  christina adams@flickr, Purple Cloud@flickr, musée quai branly


Phivos Nicolaides said...

Very nice and interesting post, as always Kim!

Kim said...

Thanks Philip. It is so worth a visit.