Paris is making a strong comeback on the world contemporary art scene

With its iconic museums, new places dedicated to contemporary art, and the arrival in force of international galleries, Paris is returning to the forefront of the world scene of contemporary and modern art, say industry players interviewed by AFP. "Paris is more attractive than ever for collectors and players in the art world", says Justine Durrett, senior director in Paris of the Zwirner gallery, also established in New York, London, Hong Kong, and soon Los Angeles. She attributes this "return to the front of the stage" to "the multiplication of new places dedicated to contemporary art (Fondation Vuitton, Lafayette Anticipations, Bourse de Commerce...) in an already very strong institutional ecosystem", carried by museums such as the Center Pompidou or the Palais de Tokyo. The Lafayette Anticipations building in Paris, March 5, 2018 (Christophe SIMON / AFP/Archives) In addition to a "strong program", Ms. Durrett also evokes a "unique dialogue between history and contemporary creation, not only in art but also in fashion, gastronomy, luxury, and the art of living in general". In less than two years and despite the Covid-19 health crisis, around ten international galleries have set up in Paris, including several "Anglo-Saxon and American, which is quite new", confirms Marion Papillon, president of the professional committee art galleries, which represents more than 300. Brad Pitt "Brexit has accelerated things [number of actors have left London] but there is a real dynamic: French galleries export better and are also more visible internationally," she adds. Another vital sign of this new golden age: the arrival in Paris in the autumn of Art Basel, the world leader in contemporary art fairs. Paris, which had gradually lost its aura since the 1950s, "is becoming a powerful place in the cartography of contemporary and modern art. London is languishing, and New York fears the place taken by the City of Light", observes Kamel Mennour, an international gallery owner who represents some forty artists, including Daniel Buren, Ann Veronica Janssens, Anish Kapoor, and Martin Parr. This new era even attracts celebrities. Passionate about art and architecture, the American actor Brad Pitt is one of these regular VIP visitors. After going to the Vuitton Foundation to discover the building designed by architect Frank Gehry, he recently surveyed the Bourse de Commerce. Inaugurated in May in the heart of Paris, the building restored by Japanese architect Tadao Ando houses the private collection of works of art of businessman François Pinault. It hosts until June, with the Center Pompidou, a retrospective devoted to the contemporary American sculptor Charles Ray. "In the eyes of Americans, Chinese or Germans, Paris is extremely well off and desirable, it is + the place to be + (+ The place where you have to be +)", insists Mr. Mennour. "Just after New York", adds Chris Dercon, president of the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais (RMN-GP), who was behind the choice of Art Basel in Paris for the October slot traditionally occupied by the Fiac, whose future remains unresolved. "More international than London" By exporting his brand to France, Marc Spiegler, world director of Art Basel, says he wants to rely on the "dynamism " and the "cultural importance" of Paris, which "no other European city brings together so well" to create an event "of the highest international level". "Paris is becoming more international than London," says Nicolas Bourriaud, curator, and art critic, who has just created a new structure, "Radicants", halfway between the gallery and the art center. Objective? "Produce exhibitions worldwide from Paris and respond to a demand for meaning linking works from the past with emerging subjects." On the market side, if France remains in fourth place in the world behind the United Kingdom, China, and the United States with only 7% of the cumulative total of sales, "the results of 2021 show a real renewed attention for the Parisian activity ", indicates the auction house Christie's Paris. With a total of 409 million euros, including 78.8 million for contemporary art (65.5 million in 2020), it posted its "second-best result in 20 years", with 316 new customers (123 in 2020) and bidders from 63 countries (49 in 2020). Seen on boursedirect.fr

Paris is making a strong comeback on the world contemporary art scene

With its iconic museums, new places dedicated to contemporary art, and the arrival in force of international galleries, Paris is...