Fair to Art à Paris
Every year the FIAC comes to the Grand Palais, as it did this past week. FIAC stands for “Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain,” this being it’s 46th edition with 199 galleries from 29 countries including two countries represented for the first time (Ivory Coast and Iran). Having a stand there for a gallery is not only prestigious and expensive, but lucrative, presenting all media: painting, sculpture, photography, installations, videos, performances, and digital arts. Some of the world’s most important galleries and artists were there.
I’ve attended just about every year since long before living in Paris and I love it. Contemporary art can elicit a whole host of emotions. It can be exciting, fun, inspiring, enlightening as well as bewildering and confusing. The art I love the most is that which makes me smile or even laugh or awestruck. Anything with too profound a message I’d leave for the more intellectual to ponder while I prefer to be amused.
This year, I made the mistake of attending on Saturday afternoon, when the crowds were likely at their peak. But, with friends, we managed to get down every aisle, see every gallery (if not every work of art) and not lose one another in the crowds. The people watching is as good as the art, if not better…old and young alike, but all whom are art lovers are there, and often as interestingly clad as the works on the gallery walls.
Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama took center stage this year. For the fair, her gigantic 10 meter high pumpkin sculpture was set at Place de Vendôme last Monday and while it was supposed to remain until today, the work was removed on Thursday due to the wet weather. One of the my favorite works of art at the fair was her giant flower. She is no ordinary artist, evident by her work, and largely because of the severe psychological difficulties she has coped with since she was a young child. She is living in psychiatric hospital as a result, but is allowed to work on her art in a studio across the street. It’s an amazing story if you want to dig deeper…but no doubt, her mental illness is the foundation for her extraordinary works.
Anish Mikhail Kapoor always steals the show for me. His work was all over the fair and in France (Versailles) as well as in front of the Monaco Casino Monte-Carlo.
Another artist whose work I have always loved and was prominent at the fair was French artist Jean-Michel Othoniel with his glass bead sculptures in a few different galleries (including Perrotin). You will know his work from the double crown of glass and aluminum that adorns the Palais-Royal-Louvre Museum Métro station. They are bigger than life and full of it in living color.
I took a photo of Sam Durant’s light-box sculpture “The Future is Female” that hangs high at the Paula Cooper Gallery for my daughter, the ultimate feminist, who responded with “The Present is Female.” Of course, I agree. What does Sam Durant know? He’s a guy! He still thinks women haven’t made it in this world. Ha!
Anyway, the point is that contemporary art can be a whole lot of fun and that’s what makes the FIAC such and enlightening and energizing experience. Under the glass and iron roof of the Grand Palais, it just doesn’t get better.
If you missed the FIAC, but love art and the Grand Palais, then put Paris Photo this coming November 7 to 10 on your list of things to do in Paris. And don’t miss seeing the documentary about Steven Arnold, “Heavenly Bodies” Thursday, November 7th at 3 p.m. and again on Saturday, November 9th at 5 p.m. I was one of the biggest collectors of Steven Arnold’s photos in the early 90s before he died of AIDS just before we moved to France. FINALLY, after all these years, this film is about his amazing photographic work that stole my heart and contributed to my daughter’s love of photography and her launch of her own amazing career:”
Academy Award winner Anjelica Huston narrates this exploration of the spectacularly dreamlike world of Salvador Dalí protégé, Steven Arnold, and his strikingly creative and influential body of work. Arnold’s genre-bending oeuvre reveals a singular vision merging Hollywood camp, ancient practices, and surrealist whimsy. Taken from over 70 hours of footage, and featuring memorable interviews with Ellen Burstyn, Simon Doonan, Stuart Comer and more, “STEVEN ARNOLD: HEAVENLY BODIES paints a remarkable picture of the inspiring life of this unheralded multimedia artist and countercultural icon.”
I’ll be at both showings, because I have a small part in it! See you there (I hope).
A la prochaine…
Adrian Leeds Group
(Reflected in an Concave Work by Anish Kapoor)
P.S. What a surprise and an honor. We just found out that we were nominated for Expatriates Magazine Best in Paris – Real Estate Expert. Please vote for us using this link!
P.P.S. And don’t miss Anne Pujalte’s “L’Histoire par l’Humour”…when history is painted with humor, her mischievous mind wanted to crunch some illustrious and colorful personalities. Come to the art opening October 29th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and then visit the exhibition October 26th through November 8th, at La Galerie Thuillier, 13, rue de Thorigny, 75003 Paris.