The artistic program of the museum finds its main articulation in the connection between European New Realism and the American expression on Art of assembly and Pop Art. This confrontation pertains to a historical reality attesting of strong complicity between these two movements.
The museum collections demonstrate it: the works by the New Realists attest their journey since the Parisian Manifesto until the survey exhibition of 1970 in Italy. The New-York Pop Art artists are present with significant works. The symbolic image of the museum, in this same turning point of the 60s, is given by the Yves Klein room offering an exceptional ensemble of approximately twenty major works of the artist, thanks to a long term deposit granted by Rotraut Klein and Daniel Moquay.
American Abstraction is represented by the advocated of the Post Painterly Abstraction with Kenneth Noland, Jules Olitski, Larry Poons, but also Morris Louis and Frank Stella; Minimalism by the works of Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra and the State deposit of a painting by Ellsworth Kelly.
The collections also bear witness to the importance of the development of the Support/Surface movements in France, and more specifically in the area with the propositions by Claude Viallat, the involvement of Bernard Pagès, Noël Dolla, Louis Cane and Vincent Bioulès.
Are also present, Daniel Dezeuze, Marc Devade. The Groupe 70 continues, in a way, the trace left by Supports/Surfaces. Simon Hantaï, Olivier Mosset, Martin Barré are part of the movement of a certain French abstraction.
Figuration is the essential motivation of the artists of the 80s. Following the example of the German Fauvists or the Italian trans-avant-garde, the Free Figuration artists will deal with themes connected with cartoons, graffiti, street slogans, in an ironic make and deliberately naïve.
The temporary exhibitions program, like the permanent collection, is part of the period from the 1950s to the present days. The essential artistic movements in question are those of the collection. Some mark points, chosen in the first half of the century to attempt an inventory of the aesthetic and pictorial means available for the contemporary avant-gardes.
Finally, the geographical characteristics, like the location within the Mediterranean Basin or the proximity of Northern Italy, the significant presence of many artists having taken up residence on the Riviera, orientate the program, giving to the museum a double calling, both regional and international.
The dynamic of the program of the museum enabled to thus present the following artists over these last few years: Yves Klein, James Lee Byars, Anish Kapoor, Louis Cane, Assan Smati, Vincent Ganivet, Sarah Sze, Cai Guo-Qiang, David Tremlett, Wim Delvoye, Robert Longo, Richard Long, positioning the MAMAC as a reference museum on the Riviera.
The museum imagined by the architects Yves Bayard and Henri Vidal, inaugurated in 1990 and inspired by the principles of Classicism, registered as a monument of modernity downtown, answering to the layout of the Garibaldi Square.