Two Frenchmen jostle for dominance of the luxury sector worldwide: François-Henri Pinault of Kering and LVMH’s Bernard Arnault. Their rivalry extends into the arena of contemporary art, a passion for both titans. Pinault has long led the way, with his family’s majority stake in Christie’s and two flashy art museums in Venice.
Arnault unveils his long-delayed riposte later this year: the Louis Vuitton Foundation for Creation in the Bois de Boulogne in Paris. The cultural salvo occupies a site in the Jardin d’Acclimatation, and the 150,000-square-foot space is a Frank Gehry design, swapping out his signature tortured metal for a swirling glass skin. The architect himself has likened it to a floating ship, though the hulking structure is more akin to a bursting chrysalis or a discarded sketch for a set from Frozen.
Budget a brief stopover simply to inspect the structure—especially since Arnault and his team have revealed little as to the purpose of the building (other than, of course, to irritate Pinault). The auspices for exhibits, though, are positive: The much-admired Suzanne Pagé was hired away from Paris’s Musée d’Art Moderne to be head curator, organizing displays of the billionaire’s vast art holdings. The only confirmed piece so far, however, is a specially commissioned video work by artist Sarah Morris. At Bois de Boulogne; fondationlouisvuitton.fr.