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Paris+ Art Fair Opens: More Corporate, Less French

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The slick new event by Art Basel drew more A-list international collectors than FIAC, France’s former flagship fair — though perhaps at the expense of Parisian charm.

PARIS — Paris+, the eagerly awaited, if awkwardly titled, latest addition to the Art Basel international fair stable opened to V.I.P. visitors in the French capital on Wednesday. For almost half a century, the venerable Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, or FIAC, had been France’s flagship fair of modern and contemporary art. Now the Swiss have taken over. What difference has the world’s biggest and slickest art fair organizer made?

“It’s Swiss-made, so it’s fine. The booth was ready on time and it has very solid walls,” said David Fleiss, director of the Paris-based Galerie 1900-2000, a past stalwart of FIAC. “It’s brought in exhibitors and collectors we didn’t see at FIAC,” he added. Within the first two hours on Wednesday, his gallery sold 10 pieces priced from 3,000 euros to 100,000 euros, about $2,900 to $98,000, according to Fleiss. (Paris+ opened to the public on Thursday and runs through Saturday.)

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

The announcement that Art Basel would take over the traditional fall art fair slot, just after Frieze London, certainly came as a shock. But the administrators of the Grand Palais, where FIAC was usually held, insisted that the new fair should retain FIAC’s uniquely French flavor, rather than be branded Art Basel Paris. The French branding agency Yorgo & Company helped Art Basel come up with “Paris+” (officially pronounced “Paree ploos”).

Because the 122 year-old Grand Palais is currently being renovated, Paris+ was staged, with fewer exhibitors, in a smaller, temporary site near the Eiffel Tower. The event is scheduled to return to the spectacular Belle Époque-era Grand Palais starting in 2024.

Stephane De Sakutin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

For all its less-corporate, French charm, FIAC had a reputation with some international dealers as a less commercially successful fair than its London rival Frieze. At last year’s FIAC, the New York dealer David Zwirner told The Times that, though he thought Paris was “such a great city for a fair,” FIAC had “tended to underperform” for his gallery.

Enter Art Basel’s global 42-member team that manages V.I.P. relations. It put together a program of exclusive receptions, talks and visits to studios and museums that was more extensive than anything FIAC had ever offered and that drew in a much stronger guest list. The sight of prominent international collectors such Alan Lo from Hong Kong, Antonio Murzi from Panama, ​​Rudy Tseng from Taiwan, Sunita and Vijay Choraria from Mumbai and Don and Mera Roubell from Miami browsing the fair’s 156 gallery booths was a testament to the promotional power of the Art Basel machine.

The booths might have been fewer and smaller than usual in the temporary space, but international galleries had brought the kind of exceptional works that hadn’t been seen the previous week at the more chaotically crowded Frieze London.

Hauser & Wirth showed a spectacular 1963 Lucio Fontana punctured canvas, “Fino di Dio,” priced at $25 million, according to the gallery. Skarstedt brought a 1992 Martin Kippenberger self-portrait from the “Hand-Painted Pictures Series,” showing the artist upside down, wearing black-and-red shorts. Priced at €6.5 million, this was reserved for a museum during the early hours of the preview, Per Skarstedt, the gallery’s founder, said.

Martin Kippenberger; via Skarstedt

Though it wasn’t exactly a feeding frenzy, other galleries also reported some significant sales at the preview. Zwirner said that it had sold a 1989 Joan Mitchell painting, “Border,” for $4.5 million, and Hauser & Wirth said it found a buyer for a 2022 George Condo painting on linen, “The Dream,” at $2.65 million.

“Paris+ is a smarter fair than Frieze London,” said the New York-based adviser Wendy Cromwell as she left the event on Wednesday. “It’s the Art Basel brand: While there are fewer galleries, there is a broad representation of top works by key artists. It feels like a mini Art Basel in Paris.”

With so much attention — and money — now focused on young and rediscovered artists, Paris+ put particular emphasis on its “galeries émergentes,” or “emerging galleries,” section, as FIAC had done in recent years, placing a selected 16 rising dealerships in the center of the fair. Participants in this area had 50 percent of their booth fees subsidized by Galeries Lafayette, a French department store.

Tongue-in-cheek dog paintings by the young English artist Sophie Barber, represented by the Los Angeles gallerist Chris Sharp, proved popular. At 25,000 pounds, around $28,000, “Renoir Loves Me,” an oversize tribute to the Impressionist’s favorite spaniel, was the most expensive of four new Barber paintings sold at the preview, according to Sharp.

Sophie Barber; via Chris Sharp Gallery

The Paris+ director, Clément Delépine, who used to run the highly regarded Paris Internationale satellite fair, said the prime position sent a message. “The emerging galleries are very important to me. I wanted to make them the center of the fair,” he said.

“This is where I come from,” he added.

Under new leadership, Paris Internationale continues to be the week’s must-attend curtain raiser for those looking for new or overlooked talent.

Paris Internationale, renowned for its quirky pop-up venues, on Monday held the preview of its eighth annual edition at 35 Boulevard des Capucines, where the landmark first Impressionist exhibition was held in 1874 — back then, it was the photographer Nadar’s elegant studio, now it’s a disused department store. Cinder-block walls, exposed piping and bare concrete floors were more in tune with Paris Internationale’s contemporary aesthetic. Sixty galleries from 26 countries are participating at the event, which is free to attend and runs through Sunday.

In a market dominated by big, brashly colored paintings, the small, intense, predominantly black-and-white self-portrait “Untitled (head)” by the Detroit artist Cay Bahnmiller proved a counterintuitive standout on the booth of the gallery What Pipeline, also from Detroit. Made in 2007, the painting was bought by an American collector for $8,500, according to Alivia Zivich, a What Pipeline co-director.

via What Pipeline

All five of the fantastically surreal and similarly small Jannis Marwitz tempera-on-panel paintings shown by the gallerist Lucas Hirsch of Düsseldorf, Germany, had been snapped up by a collector before the fair for prices between €9,000 and €12,000, Hirsch said. Marwitz, a German-born figure painter based in Brussels, uses the meticulous techniques of old masters.

Many visiting collectors and art world professionals were struck by the depth of the material to be viewed, at both commercial and institutional venues, in the French capital. “There’s been a shift from London to Paris because of Brexit,” said the New York-based art adviser Christina Shearman. “There’s undeniable energy in Paris.”

With London’s dealers hampered by Brexit, and Britain in political and economic crisis, momentum in the European art trade does seem to be shifting toward Paris. The expansion of the thoughtfully curated Asia Now fair, which also ran in the French capital this week with 78 galleries from 25 countries exhibiting in the grand courtyards of Paris’s historic Mint, only added to the impression that Paris is developing a fall art offering that is a serious threat to London’s long-vaunted “Frieze Week.” (Asia Now runs through Sunday.)

But back at Paris+, the Swiss collector Michael Ringier was wondering if anything had really changed. “What is different? It’s an art fair,” said Ringier, looking across the uniform white booths and the aisles of gray carpeting. If it weren’t for the occasional glimpse of the Eiffel Tower through a large window, visitors could have been at an art fair anywhere. More English was being spoken by the V.I.P. crowd than French.

“It’s very difficult to create a new kind of fair,” Ringier added. “But the level of quality is different from FIAC. That’s because of Art Basel.”

When asked if this new Paris fair was missing some of FIAC’s local distinctiveness, Marc Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director, pointed out that more than a third of the exhibitors had spaces in France. “On the one hand, you want this show to retain its Parisian identity,” said Spiegler. “On the other, galleries want the best possible global promotion.”

Charm is all very well. But international art dealers have businesses to run.

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Hands-on art installation takes shape at college campus

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Artist Jill Price is showcasing some of her new art, called UN/making the Frame, at The Campus Gallery at Georgian College in Barrie.

Visitors will find in the printed handout that they are invited to “put on a suit, smell, water, zest, taste, move, touch, and rearrange elements in the space,” which helps illustrate “everyday performances that help to visualize how still-life paintings are neither two-dimensional nor still, and that the actions of humans matter.”

Price, a past instructor in Georgian College’s fundamental art and fine art programs, is an interdisciplinary artist and the recipient of several Queen’s University awards.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Her artwork has been shown may times overs the years going back to 2000 — in solo shows, as well as juried, group and invitational exhibitions across Ontario.

This particular exhibit “presents multiple assemblages that point to how a plastic garbage can or a ‘mere bowl of fruit’ whether painted or in the flesh, are all part of our animate and interconnected ecologies.”

“Embracing the ready-made for its potential to delineate space as well as bring attention to the accumulation and ‘liveliness’ of everyday objects.”

The arranging, placement and use of the objects is solely up to the viewer as they walk through the gallery.

There is also a stop-motion video screen that draws the visitor in to witness Price as she plays out the process of creating the pieces and documents the time, labour and the materials that were used in the artworks.

This whimsical and hands-on experience can be viewed at The Campus Gallery until Dec. 4.

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Art

Hands-on art installation takes shape at college campus

Published

 on

Artist Jill Price is showcasing some of her new art, called UN/making the Frame, at The Campus Gallery at Georgian College in Barrie.

Visitors will find in the printed handout that they are invited to “put on a suit, smell, water, zest, taste, move, touch, and rearrange elements in the space,” which helps illustrate “everyday performances that help to visualize how still-life paintings are neither two-dimensional nor still, and that the actions of humans matter.”

Price, a past instructor in Georgian College’s fundamental art and fine art programs, is an interdisciplinary artist and the recipient of several Queen’s University awards.

Her artwork has been shown may times overs the years going back to 2000 — in solo shows, as well as juried, group and invitational exhibitions across Ontario.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

This particular exhibit “presents multiple assemblages that point to how a plastic garbage can or a ‘mere bowl of fruit’ whether painted or in the flesh, are all part of our animate and interconnected ecologies.”

“Embracing the ready-made for its potential to delineate space as well as bring attention to the accumulation and ‘liveliness’ of everyday objects.”

The arranging, placement and use of the objects is solely up to the viewer as they walk through the gallery.

There is also a stop-motion video screen that draws the visitor in to witness Price as she plays out the process of creating the pieces and documents the time, labour and the materials that were used in the artworks.

This whimsical and hands-on experience can be viewed at The Campus Gallery until Dec. 4.

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Ukrainian avant-garde art finds refuge from war in Madrid

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MADRID, Nov 29 (Reuters) – Ukrainian art has found a refuge in Madrid where a retrospective on the country’s avant-garde in the early 20th century is showing works little known to the general public while offering them a safe haven away from the bombs.

On Tuesday, the Spanish capital’s Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum inaugurated the exhibit “In the Eye of the Storm. Modernism in Ukraine, 1900-1930s”. It showcases a collection of about 70 artworks in various formats representing different trends, from figurative art to futurism and constructivism.

Genius Dog 336 x 280 - Animated

Aside from paying tribute to a little-known period in the history of Ukrainian art, the exhibition takes on particular relevance amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of the country.

“We wanted to do something in terms of showing Ukrainian art, but also taking Ukrainian art out of Ukraine and bringing it to Europe and to safety,” Katia Denysova, one of the exhibit’s three curators, told Reuters.

Denysova, who described her journey out of Ukraine as a “rollercoaster”, said that transporting the works through a country at war into the European Union ran into numerous challenges.

They included the temporary closure of borders in response to the impact of a stray missile on neighbouring Polish soil, which sparked fears of an escalation two weeks ago.

When the curators saw the works had made it to Spain safe and sound, they were “beyond delighted”, Denysova added.

She now hopes that Ukrainian avant-garde art will tell the public a story of creation and resistance.

“This is an integral part of our heritage, of our culture in Ukraine. This is what Ukrainians are fighting for right now.”

Reporting by Darío Fernández, Silvio Castellanos and Michael Gore; Editing by David Latona and Mark Heinrich

 

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