The Centre Pompidou Pops Up in Málaga

Could the lucrative satellite offset budget cuts?

The existing cube building that will host Málaga's Pompidou. Photo via: El Mundo

The Centre Pompidou has announced that a temporary offshoot will open its doors in Málaga, Southern Spain, in March 2015. The pop-up will be running for an initial period of five years and will be housed in an existing cube-shaped building on the quay, which will be reconditioned to meet museum-quality standards over the next six months.

The satellite will follow the model of the Parisian center, hosting a program of temporary exhibitions as well as a display of works drawn from the Pompidou’s permanent collection. The Spanish newspaper El Mundo reports that the loan of some 90 pieces —including artworks by Francis Bacon, Constantin Brancusi, Max Ernst, March Chagall, Frida Kahlo, Picasso, René Magritte and Joan Miró— has already been approved.

The team of the Pompidou Málaga has estimated that at least 200,000 people will visit the center during its first year. The local government, which paid a bidding fee of €2.1 million ($2.7 million) to the institution to secure its location, is surely hoping that the figures will add up. The city of Málaga also agreed to a yearly contribution to the museum’s funding of at least €1 million ($1.3 million). A seemingly lucrative operation, the spin-off could well have been designed to help offset the €2 million cut the French government imposed on the museum’s 2014 budget.

This will be Pompidou’s first foray outside France, but plans for several pop-ups, in locations including Brazil, Russia, India and China are already being discussed. The outposts are part of a strategic project initiated by the its president, Alain Seban, aimed at attracting new audiences in France and throughout the world while boosting the global recognition of the Pompidou brand.

For the city of Málaga the stakes are also high. During the last decade, Picasso’s native port town has invested heavily to be considered more than just a beach destination. In 2003, both a Picasso Museum and a Center of Contemporary art (CAC) opened. In 2011 the museum Carmen Thyssen, with a focus on 19th-century Spanish painting, was launched with works from the Thyssen-Bornemisza collection.

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