Paris's Pompidou Centre reopens after strike

Paris's futuristic Centre Pompidou re-opened after a three-week strike by museum staff in protest against budget cuts.

Paris's Pompidou Centre reopens after strike

Paris's futuristic Centre Pompidou re-opened on Thursday after a three-week strike by museum staff in protest against budget cuts, luring in visitors with surrealist photos and designer furniture.

Officials at the Pompidou said union workers and management were in talks and the museum had returned to normal, with exhibitions such as the "La Subversion des Images", a celebration of surrealism.

"We have reached an agreement with the unions who have decided to follow management's invitation and negotiate," a spokeswoman said.

Many of the city's top museums, including the Louvre that houses the Mona Lisa and the Musee d'Orsay that is home to Vincent Van Gogh's bold masterpieces, have shut temporarily over the past weeks due to the protest.

France is the world's top travel destination with some 80 million tourists in 2008, thanks to its beaches, ski resorts and cultural treasures -- the Louvre alone has about 6 million visitors a year.

But museum staff say lower subsidies and a greater focus on the commercial rather than artistic success of exhibitions are hurting France's high-brow tradition.

France's government argues it has to overhaul the culture sector along with broader changes and cost cuts in public service.

While the changes are also meant to improve efficiency and quality thanks to spontaneous audits, staff say a lack of personnel is forcing them to seal off rooms full of paintings and could even worsen security and endanger artwork.

The Pompidou reopened with several simultaneous exhibitions including "Via Design 3.0 - 30 years of furniture design". Like the other museums, it also houses fashion shows and events that are meant to pull in locals as well as tourists.

When it first took its place deep in the historical centre of Paris in 1977, it caused shock and outrage with its modernist inside-out architecture of glass and steel tubes. Since then, it has since turned into one of the city's most beloved museums.

Reuters
Last Mod: 17 Aralık 2009, 19:57
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