Key dates of the museum's history
● 1984: The Musée d’art contemporain de Lyon, established by the Ville de Lyon, opens two exhibition floors within the Palais Saint-Pierre, home to the Musée des Beaux-Arts. Thierry Raspail is appointed director.
● 4 October 1984: First edition of the Octobre des Arts event: 11 monographic exhibitions and a programme of 63 exhibitions, performances and shows organized by galleries, artists and associations. The event takes place throughout the city and surrounding area.
● 1988: The macLYON embarks on an unusual venture: an exhibition of 250 monochromatic works, entitled La couleur seule, l’expérience du monochrome. The public success of the exhibition foreshadows the creation of the Biennales. The exhibition features many big names from 20th-century art history, such as Monet, Malevich, Miró, Reinhardt, Rothko, Pollock, Klein, Warhol, as well as emerging artists like Anish Kapoor, little known at that time.
● 1991: The museum creates the Biennale d’art contemporain de Lyon, with a first edition called L’amour de l’art.
● December 1995: Inauguration of the building designed by Renzo Piano for the Musée d’art contemporain at the Cité Internationale. The new venue hosts the third edition of the Biennale de Lyon, devoted to interactive art.
● 2002: Creation of Rendez-Vous, dedicated to young international artists, a project in collaboration with the École des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Institut d’art contemporain de Villeurbanne, the macLYON and the Biennale. The exhibition travels to various overseas locations (Beijing, Shanghai, Cape Town, Singapore, Havana, etc.).
● 2004: The exhibition Le Moine et le démon, devoted to China, opens a cycle of exhibitions focusing on relatively unknown international art scenes. Later exhibitions include India (Indian Highway, 2011), Brazil (Imagine Brazil, 2014), South-East Asia (Open Sea, 2015) and Los Angeles une fiction in 2017. These exhibitions are co-produced with other European institutions and travel throughout the world (Doha, Montreal, São Paolo, Oslo, London, etc.).
● 2005: Andy Warhol, l’oeuvre ultime marks the beginning of a series of large monographic exhibitions, for which the macLYON devotes the entirety of its spaces to a single artist. Keith Haring (2008), Ben (2010), Robert Combas (2012), Erró (2014), Yoko Ono (2016), Bernar Venet (2018).
● October 2018: A new chapter in the history of the macLYON begins. Isabelle Bertolotti succeeds Thierry Raspail as artistic director. She is accompanied by Matthieu Lelièvre (art historian, independent curator) in the role of artistic advisor with the mission of developing links with young artists and international art networks. The new management liaises closely with the Lyon Arts Pole, established in the spring of 2018, and directed by Sylvie Ramond, also director of the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon.