The Centre Pompidou, on the floor devoted to Modern Art, where one expects to find rooms full of the usual suspects, has rehung its collection. The effect is gobsmacking. There is, of course, the odd Picasso, the odd Braque, the odd Matisse, but there are also rooms full of people who have been considered marginal, from parts of the world considered marginal. It is an utterly astonishing rewriting of c20 painting. I came out with an adrenaline surge unlike anything I've known visiting museums lately.
The show is organized both regionally and thematically. The themes haven't changed much: cubism, surrealism, concrete, conceptual, and so forth. But the regions expand well beyond France, Europe, and the USA. There are artists, lots of them, from Latin America, China and Africa (beyond the usual bow to historical masks and totems). The verve of the Latin American artists is especially exciting. And there are lots more women than usual and their work feels strong. Sonia Delaunay, of course, but also women most people have probably never heard of, some of them discovered in strange ways (one was a house cleaner for a curator).
This is a much stronger show than the one devoted to women a few years ago. It is amazing to see how conditioned we are to read one story, when perhaps there are many other stories that deserve to be known. I imagine what might happen if someone decided to "rehang" the Modernist Poets, without featuring all the Big Names we usually take as icons, and casting the net more broadly, geographically speaking. I wish someone would take that on.