Best in Show: Here Are the 5 Buzziest Museum Exhibitions Everyone Is Talking About in Paris

The art world descended into the City of Light this week—here are some of the most talked-about shows.

Mike Kelley, Ectoplasm Photograph 13 (1978/20099. © Mike Kelley Foundation for the Arts. Tous droits réservés. © Adagp, Paris, 2023.

After a micro-break after Frieze London, art experts headed to Paris to do it all again: perusing fair aisles, chasing around to gallery openings, dining and dancing, and bopping around to the city’s incredible network of museums.

Between the landscape of private and public institutions are a set of ambitious exhibitions. Here are some of the most compelling ones that can’t be missed.


Lili Reynaud-Dewar: “Hello, My Name Is Lili and We Are Many
Palais de Tokyo
October 19—January 7, 2024

Lili Reynaud-Dewar, Paul Alexandre, chambre 502, hôtel Relais du Pré, Paris, 24 avril 2023. Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr, Vienna.

The winner of the 2021 Marcel Duchamp Prize is known for her hard-to-categorize investigations that take the form of film, writing, and dance—but always with friends, family, or students as collaborators or subjects themselves in the work. At the Palais de Tokyo, Reynaud-Dewar shows a 19-episode film blending reality and fiction, looking at the evils of the oil industry and gentrification, while questioning the value of artistic production in relation to political activism. The second diaristic exhibition takes up the locations of hotel rooms in Paris, and looks at the artist’s emotional and professional relationships, an ongoing source of artistic content for her. —Kate Brown


Mark Rothko
Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris
October 18—April 2, 2024

Mark Rothko, Self-Portrait (1936). CR82. Collection Christopher Rothko. ©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko - Adagp, Paris, 2023.

Mark Rothko, Self-Portrait (1936). CR82. Collection Christopher Rothko. ©1998 Kate Rothko Prizel & Christopher Rothko – Adagp, Paris, 2023.

The Fondation Louis Vuitton is celebrating the American abstract painting pioneer in one of the buzziest openings of the week. Rothko hasn’t actually had a retrospective in France since 1999, and this exhibition gives an impressive overview packed with prime examples of of his sublime and quasi-spiritual expressonistic paintings.

The institution knows how—and certainly has the means—to put on a great show, always securing impressive loans and this one is no exception, having borrowed the entirety of Tate’s Rothko room among the 115 works included in the show. The exhibition is organized chronologically, from Rothko’s early-career figuration—including this rare 1936 self-portrait inspired by Rembrandt—to the mellifluous canvases for which he is famous, and a number of his lesser known but no less magnificent late darker hued works. —Naomi Rea


Mike Kelley: “Ghost and Spirit
The Bourse de Commerce – Pinault Collection, Paris
October 13—February 19, 2024

Perspectaphone, 1978. Performance at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, 1978

As the late critic Peter Scheldahl put it, Kelley was “a scourging wit in many mediums.” More than a decade after his untimely death, his large oeuvre still evades classification, though one can say for certain that it is challengingly conceptual, and borrows bravely from high and low. Despite his cult status in the U.S., Kelley is less intimately known in France and Europe, which makes this sprawling retrospective that starts off at the Pinault Collection at Bourse de Commerce so exciting. The show will travel to the Tate Modern in London, the K21 in Düsseldorf, and the Moderna Museet in Stockholm. And while you’re there, do not miss solo presentations by rising star Ser Serpas, as well as exhibitions by the legendary American painter Lee Lozano and painter and art critic Mira Schor.Kate Brown


Picasso. Endlessly Drawing
Centre Pompidou
October 18—January 15, 2024

Picasso drawing

Pablo Picasso, Portrait of Françoise, 1946 – Pablo Picasso Acceptance in Lieu, 1979 © musée national Picasso-Paris (MP1351), © Succession Picasso 2023

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Pablo Picasso’s passing. Among some 50 exhibitions jointly organized by cultural institutions in Europe and North America celebrating the achievements of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Centre Pompidou has put together a show that offers a rare opportunity to rediscover the basics of Picasso’s art.

Featuring nearly 1,000 works from notebooks, drawings, and engravings dated from his youth studies to his final works drawn from the collection of Musée National Picasso-Paris, “Picasso. Dessiner à L’infini” (“Picasso. Endlessly Drawing”) dives deep into the modern master’s lesser-known and rather private drawing practice, which laid the foundation for some of the artist’s greatest works. Like a private visual diary, the drawings reveal Picasso’s creative process and exploration of techniques. “They enable us to explore Picasso’s graphic profusion,” said the show’s curators Anne Lemonnier, assistant curator of Musée National d’Art Moderne, and John Popelard, curator of drawings and prints, Musée National Picasso-Paris. —Vivienne Chow


Peter Doig: Reflections of a Century
Musée D’Orsay
October 17–January 21, 2024

Peter Doig, <i>100 Years Ago</i> (2000). Private Collection© Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS/ ADAGP, Paris, 2023

Peter Doig, 100 Years Ago (2000). Private Collection© Peter Doig. All Rights Reserved, DACS/ ADAGP, Paris, 2023

An essential stop off for anyone’s Paris+ schedule is Peter Doig’s exhibition at the Musée d’Orsay. Doig’s painterly sensibility, his masterful gestures in color, light, place, and perspective visible in his Trinidad paintings naturally complement the modernist works in the Orsay’s collection. Major Doig works, from the ethereal figures soaking in the moonlight in Night Bathers to a silvery ocean scene of geometric abstraction in 100 Years Ago, are shown in a salon-style hanging, holding their own in the museum’s domed rooms. To accompany his first solo exhibition in France in 15 years, the artist has been permitted to select works from the museum’s collection in an adjoining room overlooking the Seine, where Impressionist and post-Impressionist works by Gauguin, Courbet, and Rousseau illuminate some of the inspirations percolating inside the mind of the Scottish painter. —Naomi Rea

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