Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, also called Mamac, is a museum dedicated to modern and contemporary art open since June 21, 1990in Nice. Located in the heart of the city, next to Place Garibaldi and in the extension of the “Coulée Verte”, MAMAC offers a dive in the International Postwar Art from 1950’s to nowadays. With a collection of nearly 1 400 works by more than 350 artists, (with an average of 200 on display), the museum offers – among others – an original dialogue between the European New Realism and American Pop Art. The museum also displays key works of minimal art and arte povera. Two major artists of the 20th century art form the heart of the collections: Yves Klein, with a permanent room that is unique in the world, made possible thanks to the long-term loans of the Yves Klein Archives, and Niki de Saint Phalle. Prominent Postwar female artist, Niki de Saint Phalle gave a great donation to the museum in 2001. MAMAC thus owns now one of the biggest funds of the artist in the world.

The museum also sheds light on the singularity and prominence of the local art scene from the late 1950’s to the early 1970’s. Nice and the Côte d’Azur were then an important place for experimentation and invention of new artistic gestures with prominent artists such as Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, Arman, Ben and groups such as Supports/Surface. Despite the singularity of personalities and practices, three key issues arise: the act of appropriation of everyday life (with the New Realists in particular), an art of gesture and attitude (with Fluxus) and an analytic exploration of the painting (with Support/Surface and Group 70). This research is put in perspective with the European and American artistic creation of the last sixty years.

The museum buliding located next to Place Garibaldi, designed by architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal, it has the shape of a tetrapod arch straddling the Cours du Paillon. The monumentality of the project developed on the cover of the Paillon makes it possible to link the museum to a theater via a terrace, called the Promenade des arts. With its square plan, its architecture is inspired by the rules of neoclassicism. The available surface area is around 4,000 m 2 spread over nine exhibition rooms for three levels. Its smooth facades are covered with white Carrara marble. The entrance and the shop are at the level of the Esplanade Niki de Saint Phalle overlooking the Place Yves Klein where the auditorium and the contemporary gallery of the museum are also located. The museum spaces are dedicated on the first floor to temporary exhibitions, the second and third level house the permanent collections.

The spaces cover five levels, including two sets of 1.200 m2 devoted to the museum’s collections. One floor and a project room are devoted to international temporary shows alternating thematic exhibitions and monographs of major artists of the last sixty years. A roof terrace accessible to the public offers a breathtaking panoramic view on Nice.

The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Nice was inaugurated on 21 June 1990. Several coherent projects for the creation of such a museum appeared in Nice in the second half of the XXth century. The first was linked to the restructuring of the Galerie des Ponchettes, a project supported by Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard, developed by Doctor Thomas, then by Jean Cassarini, the first prefiguration of the Museum of Modern Art in Nice. The second hypothesis that emerged was to build a modern wing in the garden of the Masséna Museum. This project was abandoned in order to build a car park.

The idea was revived in the mid-70s with the appointment of Claude Fournet as Director of the Museums of Nice. The opening of the Gallery of Contemporary Art (GAC) and a contemporary program at the Galerie des Ponchettes, offered the public of Nice a significant showcase of art.

In 1985, the exhibition “Autour de Nice” (“Around Nice”) at Acropolis, presenting a first group of works by the New Realists, the School of Nice and Support/Surfaces in particular, was to certify the necessity of a museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Nice. The same year, an agreement signed with the State provides for the implementation over five years of an ambitious programme of purchases of works of art. The State’s financial assistance provided to the city in its acquisition drive will set in motion the process of classifying the future institution under the label “musée contrôlé par l’état”. As early as 1987, an agreement was signed between the City of Nice and the State to finance the architectural project.

The Building
The architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal made an original proposal for a sort of tetrapod arch on horseback, on the one hand on the Paillon river, and on the other hand on the axis of the ancient N7 motorway linking the port district and the old town to the districts that developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The architecture of the museum had to harmonise two elements that make up the urban fabric of Nice: Sardinian town planning and the exotic utopia of the Belle Epoque.

A monumentality inspired by the principles of Classicism (square plan, arcature) responds to the layout of Piazza Garibaldi. The red ochre tones of the base are interwoven with the smooth Carrara marble surfaces of the towers, on which the olive trees are carved, to create an optical interplay that transposes to the heart of the city the registers of order and peace of Mediterranean nature. The coverage of the Paillon provides a rare opportunity to have land in the city centre and allows the ample development of a device called “Promenade des Arts” consisting of a museum and a theatre and extended by the “coulée verte” today.

This crucial location in the heart of the city required a high-rise development made up of four square towers on a base of 20 metres on each side for an elevation of 30 metres. From the outside, they are blind but connected by glass footbridges. The exhibition spaces are distributed over four levels, plus one level for the lobby and one for the terraces accessible to the public. The second level hosts the temporary exhibitions, while the 3rd and 4th levels are dedicated to the collections. The first floor houses the museum’s contemporary gallery. The exhibition spaces are deployed over 10 exhibition rooms.

The terraces are treated as belvederes from which the view largely embraces the city. On one of them, Yves Klein’s Le Mur de Feu (The Wall of Fire), created with the help of the “Direction des Musées de France”, is presented; it is an edition of one of the projects developed by the artist for his Krefeld exhibition in 1961.

The piazza linking the museum to the theatre on the one hand and to the Palais des Congrès on the other, allows the installation of monumental sculptures such as Alexander Calder’s Stabile Mobile or Niki de Saint Phalle’s Loch Ness Monster.

The collections
They include 1331 works by 346 artists at October 13, 2014, including 436 paintings and 292 sculptures and installations, which offer an avant-garde panorama of artistic creation from the end of the 1950s to the present day, articulated around different movements.

New realism – Pop Art
Room 4
The MAMAC collection bears testament to the emergence, at the end of the 1950s and the dawn of the 1960s, of movements borrowing from reality and the reinterpretation the nascent mass culture that was emerging both in France – particularly in Paris and around an artists’ centre in Nice – and in the United States.

This new artistic movement witnessed as much as it created a new visual language. This “pop” movement, sounding like an onomatopoeia, embodies a collective aspiration for the “modern”, the sanitized, the spectacular, the glamour, the leisure time, the hedonism and the projection towards a way of life of the future.

Coming from the street, from its posters, from the efficacy of advertisements, from magazines enamelled with portraits of in vogue icons; stimulated by the possibilities offered by new materials – round, supple, plastic, brilliant colors – this aesthetic brings art and life closer together, reground creation in popular strains and dazzling, embraces the emerging mass culture.

Like kinetic art at the same time, Pop – without being political – carries a democratic ideal, the challenge of immediacy of perception, the ardour of a youth eager to invent its new world. The name of this movement will be Pop in its British-American trajectory and then in its international orbit; “New Realism” in its Franco-European ascendancy and its reinvention of a dada attitude”..

Niki de Saint Phalle
Room 5
“In the history of art, Niki de Saint Phalle (1930-2002) is an exception. Few women artists enjoy the same level of recognition from a wide public as she did. She made her name and her destiny through the freedom of her expression, the iconoclasm of her gestures and the excessiveness of her projects. However, she has long been the subject of misunderstandings, confined to her iconic “Nanas”, her impassioned statements and her fierce sense of adornment, she was shunned by a fringe of male critics for her “feminine” work and her comments on matriarchy, and by feminist art historians on the pretext of a possible complicity with sexist stereotypes. Her work is finally reconsidered today through all its richness and complexity; considered for its indisputable and unique contribution to a history of forms and gestures; measured by her commitment and attention to the troubles and struggles of her time.

MAMAC owns one of the three reference collections in the world of the Franco-American artist’s work, from her first paintings and assemblages of the late 1950s, the very first gunshot paintings of the early 1960s, the iconic “nanas” and brides, to her prolific prints”.
Hélène Guenin

Catherine Marie-Agnès Fal de Saint Phalle was born on 29 October 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine. She was the second of five children born to Jeanne Jacqueline (née Harper) and André Marie Fal de Saint Phalle, originally from a family of French bankers. The Wall Street Crash had a number of consequences on the family business and led them to move to the United States. Niki was then educated in American schools, regularly spending her summer holidays in France.

This dual sense of belonging is a symbol of the artistic links existing between France and the United States from the early 1960’s. This was exemplified by the presence in Paris of internationally renowned artists such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, who were invited to exhibit in well-known Parisian galleries, including those of Ileana Sonnaben, and museums such as the City of Paris Museum of Modern Art.

Without any formal artistic education other than her own instinct and a certainty that it was her destiny, Niki de Saint Phalle – who began painting her mental universe filled with the fantastic in a manner inherited from Matisse, Ensor, de Dubuffet and Pollock – created assemblages, collecting all sorts of small objects and debris. She perfected these ideas in her monumental reliefs and in her action-tirs, which, by their very nature convinced critic Pierre Restany of the absolute necessity to include them in the group of “Nouveaux Réalistes”.

Developing an approach that involved a sort of release, reflecting her need to expel a certain violence, Niki de Saint Phalle began working on sculptures in 1963. From bas-relief assemblages, she moved to 3D creations with her first Nanas in 1964. These sculptures, in bold colours and with generous curves, symbolised the modern woman, liberated from traditions. The Nanas are black, yellow and pink, they are multiracial to reflect the world.

She dedicated herself tirelessly over many years to the defence of cultural minorities and the integration of black populations into American society.

Yves Klein
Room 6
Born in 1928 in Nice, Yves Klein was first to become a judoka. In 1954, he definitely turned to art and started his « monochrome adventure ». He took on the ultramarine blue, to which he gave his name « IKB » (International Klein Blue). Then he embarked on the quest for the immaterial and realized performances with his «living brushes». Klein goes beyond all artistic representation accepting that beauty is present in the invisible state and that his mission as an artist is to seize it wherever it might be. His work goes through the limits of conceptual, corporeal art, and of the happening, and illustrates a diverstity of practices and forms that undeniably make Yves Klein one of the most innovative artists of his time.

The second half of the XXth century has been deeply marked by Yves Klein’s creativity, through his monochromes, the pivotal event of the void, the use of the gold and of the pink among a trilogy of colors. He stamped his time on thanks also to his use of pure color soaked sponges, as well as the utilization of the fire as a paintbrush. Today his creativity still goes on influencing the new generations of artists and of researchers. Yves Klein died in 1962, aged 34, and left behind him a major intense work, but also audacious and infinite.

This room, unique around the world, has benefited from the support of the Archives Klein and of private collectors who generously put their works in deposit at MAMAC.

It’s on the wall of a cellar owning to Arman’s family that Klein painted his firsts blue monochromes, around 1947-1948. In 1955, he met Tinguely, César, Raysse and Restany in Paris and showed at the Salon des Réalités Nouvelles, a new painting made of one single color, which was refused and caused a controversy. From 1956, the exhibitions of Monochromes succeeded one another.

He started his « Blue Period » in 1956 in choosing an already existing ultramarine blue, extremely saturated which is, according to Klein, « the most perfect expression of the blue color ». Klein is at the time fascinated by the ultramarine pure pigment, of an incomparable intensity. He shows for the first time the installation « pure pigments » at Colette Allendy’s in May 1957, attempting to show « color in itself »:

Pure Pigments – Pure pigment, exhibited on the ground, became painting itself rather than a hung picture; the fixative medium being the most immaterial possible, that is to say, it is a force of attraction that directed only toward itself. It did not alter the pigment grains, as inevitably does oil, glue, or even my own special fixative. The only trouble with this: one naturally stands upright and gazes toward the horizon. »

Movements and artists
The New European Realists with the Nice artists Arman, Yves Klein and Martial Raysse, alongside César, Christo, Niki de Saint Phalle, Mimmo Rotella, François Dufrêne, Jean Tinguely, Gérard Deschamps, Daniel Spoerri, Raymond Hains, Jacques Villeglé, Alain Jacquet
The American version with Pop art is represented by a collection of works by Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Indiana, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselmann, John Chamberlain, Jim Dine, George Segal and the neo-Dadaist Robert Rauschenberg.
The School of Nice with Ben is linked to several representative works of Fluxus as with Robert Filliou
The Arte Povera brings together several artists including Pier Paolo Calzolari, Michelangelo Pistoletto or Enrica Borghi
Supports / Surfaces is represented with Noël Dolla, Marcel Alocco, André-Pierre Arnal, Louis Cane, Daniel Dezeuze, Vincent Bioulès, Marcel Devade, Christian Jaccard, Bernard Pagès, Jean-Pierre Pincemin and Claude Viallat.
The American minimalism and color field are illustrated by Morris Louis, Paul Jenkins, Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Ellsworth Kelly, Sol Lewitt, Larry Poons (en), Frank Stella and Joseph Kosuth
European minimalism with François Morellet, Olivier Mosset, Jean-Pierre Raynaud, John Armleder, Bernar Venet, Jan Voss
The figuration of the 60s and 80s, by Hervé Télémaque, Bernard Rancillac, Antonio Recalcati, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Keith Haring, Sandro Chia, Robert Combas, Hervé di Rosa, Rémi Blanchard, François Boisrond, Robert Longo, Jean-Charles Blais
There are also works by Serge Charchoune, Alexander Calder, Joseph Cornell, Hans Hartung, Lucio Fontana, Nicolas de Staël, Simon Hantai, Pierre Soulages, Olivier Debré, Victor Vasarely, Karel Appel, Paul Mansouroff, Annette Messager, Jan Fabre, Ai Weiwei, etc.

Donations and deposits
Since the opening, Yves Klein has benefited from a room where twenty of his works are gathered, several of which belong to the museum’s permanent collection.

In October 2001, Niki de Saint Phalle bequeaths a large part of her collection to the City of Nice for the museum: the body of the donation is made up of 170 works including 63 paintings and sculptures, 18 engravings, 40 lithographs, 54 serigraphs and many original documents. Among the monumental sculptures is The Lochness Monster.

The wrappings of Christo are part of the deposit made by Lilja Art Fund Foundation.

In 2004, the Swiss artist Albert Chubac offered around a hundred works to the Musée Niçois.

In 2010, the collector Khalil Nahoul donated 94 works (paintings, drawings, prints) including pieces by Pierre Soulages, Francis Bacon and Hans Hartung.

In 2014, the Berggreen bequest comprising works by John Armleder, Jean-Charles Blais, François Morellet, Claude Viallat or Jean Michel Alberola.

Temporary exhibitions
Over the years, MAMAC has proposed major international group exhibitions: Klein Byars Kapoor (2012), Intra-Muros (2004), De Klein à Warhol (1997); Chimériques polymères, le plastique dans l’art du XXème siècle (1996); monographic shows of prominent artists Liz Magor (2017), Ernest Pignon-Ernest (2016), Wim Delvoye (2010), Robert Longo (2009), Richard Long (2008), Robert Rauschenberg (2005), Niki de Saint-Phalle (2002), Arman (2001), Yves Klein (2000), Tom Wesselmann (1996); while emphasizing on the special relationship with the neighbor region of Northern Italy with solo shows of Giovanni Anselmo (1996), Gilberto Zorio (1992), Pier Paolo Calzolari (2003), or Michelangelo Pistoletto (2007).

About Nice. 1947-1977
The elements brought together here are part of the major exhibition “Regarding Nice. 1947-1977” organized in 2017 as part of the Biennial “Nice 2017. Ecole(s) de Nice” and on the occasion of the presumed anniversary of the birth of this artistic effervescence.

The School of Nice given or the list of its key figures, there existed from the late 1950’s a wave of strong, dynamic and artistic forces in Nice. The museum and its collections bear witness to the richness of this history, put into perspective in an international context, at a time when these gestures appeared. A constellation of actions and attitudes appeared in the area, as charismatic personalities made their mark, aiming to create connections between Nice and the international capitals of the art world.

In Paris, in 1977, the Centre Pompidou celebrated this vitality with the exhibition “A propos de Nice” (About Nice), orchestrated by Ben – one of the main protagonists of this epic movement. A famous episode initiated the legendary birth of the movement, that of the symbolic division of the world shared by three young men on the beach of Nice in 1947: Yves Klein appropriating the infinite blue of the sky; the poet Claude Pascal seizing the air and Arman repossessing the land and its wealth. This inaugural action, a quest for the absolute, the spirit of challenge and indifference, paved the way for an active scene in the heart of and in reaction to the tranquillity of the seaside town.

Beyond the narratives that traditionally define the School of Nice in a succession of movements: New Realism, Fluxus, Supports/Surfaces, etc., primordial attitudes and gestures bring together these generations of artists with heterogeneous practices: a revolution of forms, an insolence of attitudes, an appetite for irreverence and a fascination for narratives. Beyond an aesthetic history, “The School of Nice” testifies to the emergence of personalities in a cosmopolitan context and in a city then in full mutation.

French Riviera
In 1930 film A Propos de Nice, film-maker Jean Vigo takes a satirical look at the leisure town where wealthy, idle tourists live along local residents busy with the season’s activities. One generation later, Nice offers a striking contrast between a certain modernity, with its “herd of transatlantic liners in bright, garish colours, a showcase of cheap plastic utensils”* and its summer globetrotters, and the cultural isolation of young artists obsessed with the act of creating, – those contrasts undoubtedly act as the breeding ground for their energy and dissident behaviours.

Although the emergence of an art scene cannot be explained solely by its local context, it would be equally unproductive to ignore the specificity of Nice as a city and what it produced and forbid at the dawn of the 1960s. It was on the beach in Nice that Yves Klein dreamt of appropriating the infinity of the sky and on the seafront walk that Ben and his peers dreamed up actions that connected art and life. Amongst the blue chairs and the summer crowd, artists met and reshaped the world, challenging the stereotypes that represented the glamour of the Côte d’Azur abroad. Arman collected casino token, Martial Raysse created dazzling, pop evocations of the seaside world, and Claude Gilli evoked the Azure landscapes in brightly coloured cut panels. These references to pleasure seekers, bathers and pin-ups pay tribute to the emancipation of the body and stage an idyllic, sugar-coated society, brought to life through the archetypes of the French Riviera.

Modern wonders?
At the dawn of the 1960’s, influenced by the development of international tourism and the Americanization of French society, Nice became identified with youth, hedonism, and thriving mass consumption. This perpetual quest for the new and mass-production would lay the foundations for the artists’ relationship with appropriation and subversion of reality. “Yes, Nice is our peaceful and pasteurized paradise. From here, art could be created that adheres to this fabricated reality” wrote critic Jean-Jacques Lévêque in 1967.

Faced with this giddy obsession with the new, the making of cheap objects and illusion, artists invented new forms. They distorted this world, with its ludicrous aspiration for possession, in satirical or anti-establishment ways, singling out through a fascination with the aseptic its fatal quest for eternal youth. From this spectacle of daily life, artists produced a new beauty uniting excess and bad taste. They proposed a sociology of “modern wonders” inspired by the remains of a society driven by accumulation, using repetition to breaking point and proliferation to corrupt and degrade objects, and joyfully destroyed the icons of the modern world. In doing this, they composed an unbridled ode to the excesses of the cult of possession and programmed obsolescence.

The Quest for the Absolute – The Invention of Actions
In 1947, three young men at the dawn of their artistic practice, shared the world “facing this stupid sea where old men consume France and art.”* This original and mythical tale presented the horizon of ambition, a testament to a search for the absolute that was both indifferent to and obsessed with conquest. In a city still torn between conservatism and modernism, far from Parisian circles, it set off a series of future radical actions and artistic practices based on performative gestures and a quest for excess. Yves Klein created his Saut dans le vide (Leap into the Void) in the Parisian suburbs, Bernar Venet composed his own “fall” into a pile of detritus during his military service in Tarascon, and Ben threw God into the sea from the port of Nice.

These actions depict the portrait of this questful spirit, between triviality, irreverence and the desire for omnipotence, including a taste for childish humour and competition. Some actions can be seen as a parody of the then still dominant lyrical abstraction, an act criticizing society; others used an analytical and material approach or attempted to capture the “momentary states” of being and the world. From the mark of everyday objects or elements of nature in a baptism of fire, might these actions offer a way to connect the transitory nature of being to art’s desire for eternity?

Questioning Paintings ans Attitudes – Théâtre Total
In the mid-1960’s, a number of young artists were brought together by Ben’s magazine and the Nice School of Decorative Arts, with Charvolen, Maccaferri, Miguel, Dolla and their professor Viallat who ended up being fired in 1966-67 for causing political unrest. Engaged in the analytical and material exploration of painting, Chacallis, Maccaferri, Miguel, Charvolen and Isnard gathered in the context of an exhibition in Chacallis’ house in Vieux-Nice in January 1971. This event was the first official exhibition of Groupe 70, later followed by an invitation to the theatre of Nice.

The collective experience came to an end in 1973 after their participation in the 8th Paris Biennial. Between 1968 and 1973, art critic and poet Raphaël Monticelli and artist Marcel Alocco created “INterVENTION”, bringing together the members of Groupe 70 and various members of Supports/Surface for theoretical debates and organizing exhibitions. It was then that Marcel Alocco began his work on figures, first applying stylized patterns onto bedsheets, before cutting and deconstructing them in his famous patchworks. Lastly, on the margins of this academic research, Jacques Martinez, who worked in the area, unveiled his own pictorial language, based on the concepts of surfaces, materials and actions.

La Cédille qui Sourit
American artist George Brecht, a pioneer of conceptual art, and French artist Robert Filliou, who mastered the art of the ordinary, decided to set themselves up in Villefranche-sur-Mer, near Nice, to open a non-shop-bookshop, “An international centre of permanent creation” under the symbol of humour, La Cédille qui Sourit (the Cedilla that Smiles).

From October 1965 to March 1968, jewellery, facsimile editions, prints and original artworks were exhibited without hierarchy. The activities of La Cédille qui Sourit sometimes took place in a venue on 12 Rue de May, which was “always closed, only open upon request”, but most often in the streets and bars of the old town. Robert Filliou described it as follows: “We played games, invented and reinvented objects, liaised with the humble and the powerful ones, and drank and spoke with the neighbours.”* Foreshadowing the critical forms reflecting on the meaning of our existence and its world that emerged in Western cultural movements around May 1968, La Cedille qui Sourit was an attempt to bring art and life closer together in a small village on the Côte d’Azur, whose history haunts modern international artistic creation.

Considered as the last artistic adventure of the avant-garde movement in France, Supports/Surfaces was a short-lived but powerful influence (1970-1972) on Nice, making it the site of important experiments. Faced with the challenges carried by the art of appropriation and the art of attitudes, the artists of the movement maintained that painting was still possible and began reinventing the fundamentals of art. Traditional tools were replaced with raw materials. Canvases stretched over frames were replaced by free canvases and ordinary fabrics. Emphasis was placed on the artistic process and the interaction between actions and supports. In parallel with these critical acts, the presentation of artworks was also called into question through the use of unconventional display methods.

Projects led outdoors in the streets of the village of Coaraze in the summer of 1969 under the impetus of Jacques Lepage, then on the Mediterranean coast in the summer of 1970 represented important periods of experimentation and interaction with the audience, giving prominence to the nomadic and experimental character of Supports/Surfaces’ artworks.

Questioning Painting
In the mid-1960’s, a number of young artists were brought together by Ben’s magazine and the Nice School of Decorative Arts, with Charvolen, Maccaferri, Miguel, Dolla and their professor Viallat who ended up being fired in 1966-67 for causing political unrest. Engaged in the analytical and material exploration of painting, Chacallis, Maccaferri, Miguel, Charvolen and Isnard gathered in the context of an exhibition in Chacallis’ house in Vieux-Nice in January 1971. This event was the first official exhibition of Groupe 70, later followed by an invitation to the theatre of Nice. The collective experience came to an end in 1973 after their participation in the 8th Paris Biennial.

Between 1968 and 1973, art critic and poet Raphaël Monticelli and artist Marcel Alocco created “INterVENTION”, bringing together the members of Groupe 70 and various members of Supports/Surface for theoretical debates and organizing exhibitions. It was then that Marcel Alocco began his work on figures, first applying stylized patterns onto bedsheets, before cutting and deconstructing them in his famous patchworks. Lastly, on the margins of this academic research, Jacques Martinez, who worked in the area, unveiled his own pictorial language, based on the concepts of surfaces, materials and actions.

About a hundred events a year make the museum a place to live and share. Guided tours, workshops, meetings with artists or researchers, storytelling tours, lectures or projections, dance visits, concerts, performances and events, promote the accessibility of contemporary art to the wider audience and transform the museum in a playground for artists from different fields. All year long, the museum team builds a constellation of networks with companies, associations, students, social workers to invent specific programs and ways of reinventing the museum.

Since several years MAMAC is committed in active new readings of art history, anchored in contemporary societal issues; the highlighting of singular figures and the production of new stories. Our relation to Nature and the way artists deal with the ecological challenges is one o the key subjects raised in the program.

The project room or contemporary gallery is devoted to the most current experiments or visual languages in local and international contemporary art.

The museum has its own library focused on postwar international art scene, gathering: Documentation related to the museum activities: catalogues, artist’s prints and booklets; More than 13000 exhibition catalogues, essays, monographs, magazines…

Among others MAMAC organized: Gustav Metzger. Remember Nature (February 2017); A propos de Nice. 1947 – 1977 (Summer 2017); Cosmogonies, au gré des éléments, a multidisciplinary and historical group show focused on co-creation with Nature from Yves Klein to Thu-Van Tran and Otobong Nkanga (Summer 2018); Inventing Dance: in and around Judson, New York, 1959-1970 (Winter 2018); Le diable au corps. Quand l’Op art électrise le cinéma (Summer 2019) about the relationship between art and cinema in the 1960s.