First Saudi, now Seoul: Centre Pompidou confirms latest move of global expansion

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The Centre Pompidou is expanding again, this time to South Korea. In an announcement today, the Paris-based modern and contemporary art museum confirmed rumours that it would open a branch in Seoul, boosting its burgeoning network of outposts, which includes venues in Metz in northern France, Shanghai and Málaga. The museum also announced earlier this month that it will open a Saudi Arabia branch.

On 19 March, the Pompidou and the Hanwha Culture Foundation signed a partnership agreement in Paris. Hanwha, a vast conglomerate with interests in finance and retail, will pay “rental and other fees as agreed under the terms”, according to the Korean news agency Yonhap News.

The agreement was signed by Shin Hyunwoo, the chairman of the Hanwha Culture Foundation and Laurent Le Bon, the president of the Centre Pompidou. The museum, located in Tower 63, the headquarters of the Hanwha group, will be designed by the French architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte and is due to open in 2025.

“Throughout this four-year collaboration, the Centre Pompidou will offer eight monographic exhibitions—two per year—based on a selection of works from the Center Pompidou collection,” says a statement.

Meanwhile, the Pompidou is gearing up to open a satellite branch in the northwestern region of AlUla in Saudi Arabia. The new agreement between the museum and the Royal Commission for AlUla (RCU)—the Saudi government cultural body led by the country’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman—was finalised in a signing ceremony also attended by the French Culture Minister, Rima Abdul Malak.

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