Only Lyon - Tourism and Conventions

Thierry Raspail, directeur du musée d'art contemporain de Lyon
Vue de l'expo Keith Haring - © Stéphane Rambaud 2008
Bâtiment du MAC - Blaise Adilon

Contemporary art is part of daily life here in Lyon

Thierry Raspail, Director of Lyon’s Museum of Contemporary Art

Thierry Raspail, Director of Lyon’s Museum of Contemporary Art

Today we can no longer really talk about specific features in the field of creativity, in Lyon as elsewhere. In terms of diffusion, however, Lyon has always had a tradition of actively seeking an audience. Art is simply part of daily life here in Lyon. 

What is special about Lyon’s Museum of Contemporary Art?

The museum’s greatest strong point is that we don’t have any permanent collections. We leave it up to the artists to design and construct not only their works but also the entire space. The result is that every three months the Mac is a new museum. It’s undoubtedly for this reason that 52% of our public is under the age of 26; the museum is a place of permanent discovery.

 

Is Lyon a dynamic city in terms of contemporary creation?

Curiously, Lyon had a rather austere creative image for a long time, despite the fact that it has always had a spirit of initiative. In the 1960's it was the venue for avant-garde autumn exhibitions. Lyon was also the first city to create the ELAC, a completely free art centre located at the Perrache railway station, where all travellers were free to enter. Since then, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Villeurbanne has opened, and this is now the FRAC venue (Regional Funding for Contemporary Arts). And today, all these internationally recognised structures: the institute, the museum, the School of Fine Arts as well as the Biennial all work together with a great creative dynamic.

Are there any specific features to contemporary art coming from Lyon?

Today we can no longer really talk about specific features in the field of creativity, in Lyon as elsewhere. In terms of diffusion, however, Lyon has always had a tradition of actively seeking an audience. Art is simply part of daily life here in Lyon. What’s more, Lyon has become a reference both in Europe and further afield thanks to its artistic car parks. They are not only clean and bright with classical music playing in the background, but they also play host to some exceptional pieces of art! This tradition of art being a feature of daily life can also be found around the city. At the square called Antonin Poncet, for example; you can admire the “arbre à fleurs” (flower tree) by contemporary artist Jeong Hwa Choi, is a legacy of one of our Biennials. Looking into the future, the Saône riverbanks project should fit into this tradition.

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