One does not often travel to Meudon, a very royal suburb of Paris, which had a direct road to Versailles in the times of Louis XIV, when minister Louvois owned it. Frédéric Jousset, a successful French financier, has invested the Hangar Y which used to be a storage fro dirigibles in teh 19 th century, and is turning it into a contemporary art center and symposium place. At the opening last Tuesday, he announced that the election of the future President of MEDEF would take place in the industrial building next May. No doubt, the members of French Enterprises will enjoy the walk around the park of sculptures which include Ugo Rondinone, Tony Cragg and Subodh Gupta… His foundation, Art Explora, is running the project with a first exhibition on airplanes curated by Marie Laure Bernadac, formerly at Centre Pompidou where Jousset’s mother has long been a curator herself. The place will be open only on week ends for the public so as to be rented out during the week. A lovely restaurant Le Perchoir on the water, will open in two weeks.
The son of a successful businessman and music benefactor Hubert Jousset, Jousset seems to be doing everything right. He became well known from the public when he opened a hotel on the premises at Chambord (and tried to replicate it in Chantilly). He acquired Beaux Arts Magazine which organises many PR events, and launched his foundation Art Explora at the French Academy. He is a passionate collector of contemporary art and is very involved both in France and in Great Britain where he lives. His official message is to bring culture to everyone. In Meudon, tickets to visit the sculpture park will sell for 3€. Many people will say that he has not invented anything, since we have all been to Fondation Carmignac in Porquerolles, Château Lacoste’s near Aix en Provence, to the Kröller Müller in Holland or to private gardens in Belgium and the Tuileries gardens were turned into an art center by André le Nôtre in the 17 th century!
Nothing was ready for the inauguration and tens of workers were trying to clean the machinery away from the statues. And this in itself was great fun because you could see the amount of work that had been put into this 25 M€ endeavor started only three years ago… Walking around the little lake, you discover multiple works including “Animitas” by Boltanski with bells ringing in the wind and a 10 mn sound installation conceived by Ircam X Ircam Amplify. The exhibition “In the Air” mixes archives of old airplanes and hot air balloons with contemporary commissions by Laure Prouvost, Doug Aitken, Sylvie Fleury, or large planes by Roman Signer who also designed a kayak for the park. The building itself is extraordinary. It was done with leftovers from the Universal exhibition in 1879 and saw the first inside flight by a dirigible. It became a museum in 1921.
So this Hangar Y will certainly become a week end destination. It is only thirty minutes from the Trocadero by car or you can reach it by train to Meudon or by tube to Corentin Celton in Issy les Moulineaux and there is a shuttle every thirty minutes from there.
Hangar Y is open every week end and school holidays from 10 am to 8 pm.
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