Centre Pompidou Confirms Plans for Seoul Museum, Expanding its Global Network of Outposts

On Monday, the Centre Pompidou in Paris confirmed rumors that it will open a branch in Seoul, expanding a network of outposts that spans Metz, in France, Shanghai, and Málaga. The opening date is tentatively set for 2025. 

The museum signed a deal with the Hanwha Culture Foundation to house the forthcoming institution in Tower 63, the headquarters of the business conglomerate Hanwha group. The French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte has been tapped for the design.

Hanwha will foot “rental and other fees as agreed under the terms”, according to the Korean news outlet Yonhap News. “Throughout the four-year collaboration, the Centre Pompidou will offer eight monographic exhibitions—two per year—based on a selection of works from the Center Pompidou collection,” according to a statement from Hanwha. The deal gives Hanwha permission to use the French museum’s brand for four years, with an opportunity for a contract extension. 

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An angular building with piping on its exterior with people beneath.

This is the latest development in a busy year for the Paris museum; last week, Laurent le Bon, the museum’s president, finalized a partnership with Saudi Arabia to develop a contemporary art museum in AlUla, a stretch of sandstone mountain and desert in the Kingdom’s northwestern region. Its collection will center art from Southwest Asia, North Africa, and South Asia, and span mediums, with focuses on land art and emergent digital forms. The RCU will also commission immersive installations and public artworks from Arab artists and those further afield. 

The forthcoming Saudi and Seoul branches promise a welcome cash influx for the Centre Pompidou ahead of the museum’s extensive renovations, which will begin at the end of this year and last for three years, during which time the museum will be closed. 

According to Le Monde, which first reported the expansion rumors, borrowing the Centre Pompidou brand will cost Hanwha €20 million (roughly the same in USD). 

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