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photo of Rossellini directing Beaubourg 1977
Art, Cinema, History & Politics, Photography

Modern Museums Between Cultural Diplomacy and Institutional Critique

Featuring Roberto Rossellini's last film, "Beaubourg 1977"

November 14, 2023
6:30 pm

Modern Museums
Between Cultural Diplomacy and Institutional Critique

Co-sponsored by
Center for European and Mediterranean Studies (CEMS)
in collaboration with Institut Ramon LlullKJCC | NYU Museum Studies Program

A panel discussion with
Carles Guerra, art critic, NYU
Martha Rosler, artist

Featuring a screening of
Roberto Rossellini‘s
Beaubourg, centre d’art et de culture Georges Pompidou
(1977, Documentary, France, 54 min.)
In FRENCH with ENGLISH subtitles


On 31 January 1977, the Centre George Pompidou opened its doors to the public in Paris. A large area in the city centre, including the old Les Halles market, had to be demolished in order to build the highest-impact cultural facility in decades. Three months later, on 6 May, Roberto Rossellini wrapped up the editing of a 54-minute film that testified to the public’s response to the project. The great Neo-Realist filmmaker was proposed by Jacques Grandclaude, spreadhead of the Communauté de Cinéma, to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to celebrate the opening of the building designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers. The result was a sceptical vision rather than a pure celebration: ‘A film without comments or music,’ as Rossellini himself explained in the press. This may explain why Le Centre Georges Pompidou, which was to be Rossellini’s final film, was largely ignored for many years. 

Carles Guerra is an art critic, researcher, and the inaugural visiting professor in Catalan Studies at NYU. He has been director of the Photographic Spring of Catalonia festival, director of the Virreina Centre de la Imatge, chief curator of the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and, between 2015 and 2020, director of the Fundació Antoni Tàpies. In addition to an extensive list of monographic exhibitions that include artists such as Perejaume, Joaquim Jordà, Xavier Ribas, Ahlam Shibli, Art & Language, Allan Sekula, Susan Meiselas, Harun Farocki, Oriol Vilanova, and Ariella Aïsha Azoulay, Guerra has curated projects such as 1979: A Monument to Radical Moments and Antoni Tàpies: Political Biography, with whom he has tried to respond to the legacy of modernity from the urgent need to articulate a potential history. His research has delved into the field of dialogic practices in the fields of art and visual culture.

Martha Rosler works in video, photography, text, installation, and performance. Her work focuses on the public sphere, exploring issues from everyday life and the media to architecture and the built environment, especially as they affect women. Rosler has for many years produced works on war and the national security climate, connecting life at home with the conduct of war abroad, in which her photomontage series played a critical part. She has also published several books of photographs, texts, and commentary on public space, ranging from airports and roads to housing and gentrification. A retrospective of her work has been shown internationally, and her writing is published widely in publications such as Artforume-flux journal, and Texte zur Kunst. Rosler has been included in numerous group exhibitions and biennials. In 2012, she presented a new series of photographs, taken during her trip to Cuba in January 1981, and in November, she presented the Meta-Monumental Garage Sale at MoMA in New York. Her most recent publications include Culture Class (2013; Spanish trans.: Clase cultural. Arte y gentrificación, 2014), on artists and gentrification; Martha Rosler: Irrespective (2018), accompanying her survey show in New York; and La Dominación y lo cotidiano: ensayos y guiones (2019), a book of essays and scripts in translation.