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History Paris Pompidou Centre France

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Paris' Pompidou Centre hosts a May 68 happening, 50 years on

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May 68 poster Photo by Alain Gesgon/CC

The Pompidou Centre in Paris hosts the ‘Mai 68 Assemblée Générale’ happening to mark the 50th anniversary of May 68 in France. The event runs until 20 May.


In May-June 1968 massive student protests and strikes across France nearly brought down President Charles de Gaulle and his government.

Fifty years on, the Pompidou Centre hosts in Paris a happening called 'Mai 68 Assemblée Générale'.

May 68 posters and slogans

Graphist artist Philippe Lakits will reinterpret the slogans and posters of May 68 in a 60 metre long frieze designed for the event.

The May 68 slogans have had a powerful impact in a France without newspapers, radio or television, which were all on strike at the time.

Most of the May 68 posters were produced in the Ateliers populaires (People’s Workshops) that art and graphic design students will try to revive in the Pompidou Centre Forum.

According to the event organiser Romain Lacroix, the main May 68 topics on the posters are nowadays 'somehow irrelevant:

«Feminism was hardly touched on, now it’s much more to the fore […] Ecology was also neglected, even if the Larzac became an issue… these are issues that are of interest to the younger generation. »

Besides the picture frieze, debates and conferences will take place in a mobile lecture hall designed by Olivier Vadrot.

Georges Pompidou and May 68

The Pompidou Centre has a specific link to May 68.

Georges Pompidou, who was General de Gaulle’s prime minister at the time, managed the crisis while he was bringing it to political closure.

In 1969 after being elected president, Pompidou decided to to have an arts centre built which opened ten years later in 1977.

The Pompidou Centre is « a place focused on urban and social issues » says Romain Lacroix.

« We can see clearly how it’s a question of how to make protest part of the museum. It’s due to the fact that the first artists whose works were shown at the Pompidou Centre in 1977 were those demonstrating on the streets in 68. »

 

Mai 68 Assemblée Générale runs from 20 April to 20 May 2018.