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Art²: Alain Seban & Glenn Lowry In Conversation With Sophie Claudel

In France, argues Alain Seban, president of the Centre Pompidou, in the following video, “art is common because it is a matter of public interest.” Moderated by Sophie Claudel, head of the Visual & Performing Arts Department, this discussion between Alain Seban and Museum of Modern Art director, Glenn Lowry, focuses on the commonalities and differences between the two museums, their mission, their audience, and their curatorial approaches. Glenn Lowry and Alain Seban have worked together frequently and are mutually inspired by one another’s work at their respective institutions. At the same time, they are careful to draw distinctions between the situation of a private art museum like MoMA and a public cultural complex like the Centre Pompidou, which, in Glenn Lowry’s words has a “national mandate” to present contemporary culture to French citizens. Perhaps the biggest difference they highlight is the place of art within the national identity of the two countries. As Alain Seban says, in art is a matter of “interest.” It is, as Glenn Lowry says, “important to anyone understanding their position in their country.” By contrast, Glenn Lowry continues, in America “art is not seen as an essential dimension of what it means to be an American. At an individual level, some people collect art and some don’t but the politic of art is not considered in the same way.”