Paris's Centre Pompidou announces plans to open a new international outpost in New Jersey

It would be the first branch of the modern arts hub in North America

A general view of the Pathside building in Jersey City, slated to be developed by French contemporary art museum Centre Pompidou for a Jersey City extension in 2024. AFP
A general view of the Pathside building in Jersey City, slated to be developed by French contemporary art museum Centre Pompidou for a Jersey City extension in 2024. AFP

The Statue of Liberty could be getting company from her native France.

Paris's acclaimed Centre Pompidou announced plans this weekend to open a satellite museum in what is now a gutted industrial building in New Jersey's Jersey City, not far from where Lady Liberty stands in New York Harbour.

Centre Pompidou x Jersey City, scheduled to open in 2024, would be the French museum's first venture in North America, said the organisation's president, Serge Lasvignes. It currently has sites in Metz, France; Shanghai, China; Malaga, Spain; and Brussels, Belgium.

The satellite museum will be completed in time for the start of a major renovation of the Centre Pompidou's landmark Paris museum, which houses more than 120,000 works of Modern art in its unique architecture of exposed coloured pipes and air ducts.

The facade of the Centre Pompidou art centre in Paris, in a photo taken in 2010. AFP
The facade of the Centre Pompidou museum in Paris in 2010. AFP

Jersey City hasn’t historically been widely visited by the hordes of tourists who visit the New York City area each year, but it is an easy train ride from Lower Manhattan.

While the French would provide the art and expertise, Jersey City would provide the cash.

The small city would pay up to $6 million phased in over the course of the five-year contract for the Centre Pompidou’s exhibitions, projects and educational programming, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said. In addition, the city would have to cover the estimated $30m it would cost to renovate the Pathside Building.

The mayor said he was mindful of not handing the bill to taxpayers. Fulop said the money would be raised through donations and through the creation of a special improvement district for businesses in the Journal Square area to share the cost from a project that would benefit them.

“We can afford this,” Fulop said.

The plan to create the partnership next goes to the City Council, which the mayor said has been kept in the loop.

Jersey City acquired the 5,400-square-metre Pathside Building in 2018. It was built in 1912 as an office building and was last used by a community college. The development is located in Journal Square, where an average of 22,500 commuters travel by train between New Jersey and New York City daily, officials said.

Updated: June 6, 2021 06:47 PM

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