Musée du FRAC à Marseille, vue exterieur entrée

The Regional Contemporary Art Funds

a museum in the heart of the business district of Marseille
An artistic and cultural project

On the occasion of ‘Marseille, European Capital of Culture’ the audacious FRAC was inaugurated in 2013, in the heart of the district ‘La Joliette’.  Today considered as a must-see museum of the city, discover the history of this site.  

Origins of the museum: the beginnings of the FRAC

Linked to decentralisation, the FRAC aims to recover and build up a public collection. At a regional, national and international level, these museums have been designed to support artistic creation.

It was on the 12th of November 2007,  that a jury composed of regional elected officials, state representatives and qualified personalities chose the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma & Associates for the construction of the future Provence-Alpes-Côtes d’Azur Regional Fund for Contemporary Art.

In France, the architect took his first steps by building the future ‘Cité des Arts et de la Culture’ (Arts and Culture City) in Besançon, then went onto designing the FRAC in Marseille and the astonishing Conservatory of Music and Dance of Aix-en Provence with its façade in anodised aluminium panels laid out in an origami.

Did you know?

Before the construction of ” new generation” FRAC  in the ‘Joliette’ suburb, the FRAC of Marseille spent 30 years in the must-see ‘Panier’ suburb, under the shadow of the Vieille Charité.

A modern building

As part of the ‘Marseille Capitale de la culture européenne’ (Marseille capital of European culture),  it took two years for the museum to see the light of day.

To play with the constraints of a museum that isn’t in the city centre, architect Kengo Kuma designed this building to be in perfect symbiosis with the modern décor of the business district.

Dressed in recycled glass scales, the museum is boldly set up as a building in two identifiable bodies: the main body in the south-eastern part connected by footbridges to a tower in the northern part.

Equipped with ” superimposed streets”, four exhibition spaces, a documentation centre and an educational area, the 5757sqm building, houses more than 1000 works by 540 international artists.

For the architect, ” it is a moving and a living museum, in which the works are in permanent mobility and are part of a logic of diffusion and interaction with the public”.

The exterior of the building is particularly neat, thanks to a luminous façade pixelated with non-tinted glass elements, intending to create a custom-made glass of haute-couture fabric, in keeping with the lights of the ‘Cité Phocéenne’.

Its inner working is inspired by the  ‘la Cité Radieuse  built by Le Corbusier, which offers a fluidity of wandering through voluminous spaces subtly open to the outside. The building’s urban terrace offers an unexpected panorama of the city, but what is most impressive is the aesthetic gesture of the architecture and the facade made of enamelled glass plates. In a minimalist approach, the architect made sure all of the structures of the building were visible by allowing each material to express itself: concrete, steel, glass and light.

After extensive work on the glass, more than thirty different variants and numerous tests were created,  1700 glass panels of 30 millimetres thick. It took four months of delicate and meticulous work to lay the scales like a double skin, orienting them at a particular angle and not parallel to the façade to create interaction and interplay between the environment and the building itself. And like this, the building comes to life.

A museum with many functions

The FRAC is not only a very versatile exhibition space. Conversation, diffusion, exhibition, documentation, mediation… Many things happen there, you are never bored.

The FRAC is also an experimental laboratory whose collection and activities form a living heritage designed to promote and facilitate access to contemporary art for as many people as possible.

The collective and thematic exhibitions organised by the FRAC is in partnership with cultural, social, associative and educational structures. It supports, organises and creates links between the regional  life of contemporary art, artists and the public.

Throughout the year, the FRAC of Marseille has offered many programs related to contemporary art: exhibitions, events, meetings with artists, or workshops, young and old alike will find a real interest in visiting it.

At the rate of about fifteen clashes a year, it organizes many personal, collective and thematic collections. The museum’s vast multi-floor space allows for simultaneous exhibitions. A documentation area with about thirty seats is also available to the public, where publishing and editing activities are also in the spotlight: artists’ books, catalogues, monographs … The FRAC is dynamic and knows how to reinvent itself!

Practical information

20, boulevard de Dunkerque, 13002 Marseille 

Metro and Tramway: stop ‘Joliette’ and  Bus lignes 35, 49 et 82 : stop ‘Joliette’

Exhibition opening hours:  Tuesday to Saturday from 12 noon to 7 pm (closed on Mondays and public holidays), Sunday from 2 pm to 6 pm

And one Friday per month : free night from 6 pm to 10 pm  

Rate:  full price 5 €
Reduced rate: 2,50 € (on presentation of valid proof: CityPass, students, under 25 et over 60 years old). Free entry every Sunday.