Jean-Michel Othoniel at Centre Pompidou

The collection at Centre Pompidou is so large that I rarely see enough of one artist’s work to learn more about him/her. That’s where the temporary expos come in – and My Way, a retrospective on Jean-Michel Othoniel, not only acquainted me with his work, but showed me that I already knew him.

If you’ve ever seen the whimsical, glass beaded Métro entrance behind Palais Royal, you’ve seen Othoniel’s work, too. Curving columns of red, blue and silver glass beads form two canopies over the entrance, and aluminum filigree fitted with colored glass disks comprise three sides.

The Pompidou show draws from 25 years and several distinct periods of Othoniel’s work, but the glasswork, dating to 1997 and featuring large scale installations of Murano glass, is the most interesting. The colors are luminous, and the creations at once delicate and bold.

Le Bateau des Larmes – the Boat of Tears – outfits an abandoned wooden rowboat with a crown of beads to resemble rigging. My Bed is a life-size double bed that beckons to be inhabited. Stanchions of glass and steel, entitled “Banner” are surprising representations of the form.

Brilliantly hued beads re-create giant necklaces, torrents of rain, a visual diary, and much more. Each piece engages the imagination and appeals to both heart and mind. Through May 23 – hurry!