Contemporary art is a crucial part of the museum's acquisitions policy. Since the 1980s the contemporary collection has been expanding steadily, thanks to numerous purchases – many of them in the context of temporary exhibitions – as well as deposits by the National Contemporary Art Collection and the Pays de la Loire Region Contemporary Art Collection. The result is now an impressive panorama of the art of today.
The collection is structured around groups of works belonging to the major art movements from the early 1960s onwards: Arte Povera is especially well represented, with work by artists like Alighiero e Boetti, Claudio Parmiggiani and Luciano Fabro, while Raymond Hains, Martial Raysse, Jean Tinguely and Jacques Villeglé provide an understanding of New Realism. The Support(s)-Surface(s) movement is illustrated by works by Toni Grand, Claude Viallat and Daniel Dezeuze.
The collection also embraces the many different media artists are now using, including sculpture (Maurizio Cattelan, Lygia Clark, Anish Kapoor), photography (Gilbert & George, David Goldblatt, John Baldessari), installations (Christian Boltanski) and video (Vito Acconci, Thierry Kuntzel, Bruce Nauman, Bill Viola, Anri Sala and Philippe Parreno). Contemporary painting is represented by a large group of works by artists including Gerhard Richter, Claude Rutault, François Morellet and Luc Tuymans.
Other artists not part of any movement as such – Jimmie Durham, Philippe Thomas, Francis Alÿs, Park Chan-Kyong, Bahman Jalali, Efrat Shvily – bring a critical eye to bear on the political, economic and social circumstances of our time.