In Paris for FIAC? Here Are 11 Must-See Shows on View This Week in the French Capital

From Laure Prouvost to Simon Fujiwara, here are our favorite shows away from the fair.

Julian Schnabel in between Vincent van Gogh, Autoportrait (1889) and his own Tina in a matador hat (1987). Photo by Sophie Crepy Boegly, ©Musée d’Orsay.

Just as dealers, collectors, and assorted art-world hangers-on recover from the madness that was Frieze London, it’s already time to hop across the channel and head to Paris for FIAC week.

As if we really needed an excuse to visit the city—it is, after all, the Paris of, well, Paris—the international contemporary art fair is on from October 18 through 21 this year at the historic Grand Palais and the adjacent Petit Palais (where you can now scope out the empty spot earmarked for Jeff Koons to install his embattled Bouquet of Tulips sculpture next year).

For those still getting used to the week-long gap between Frieze London and FIAC (Frieze introduced new dates in 2016 to work around Rosh Hashanah), Paris offers plenty to see beyond the fair. The city’s cornucopia of foundations, galleries, and museums provide more than enough to hold our attention, and to further lure the public back into art galleries, dealers all around the city are banding together to take part in Gallery Night on Thursday.

Here are our picks of not-to-be-missed exhibitions, from contemporary interventions in the city’s historic spaces to mind-boggling sculptural installations.

Orsay Through the Eyes of Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel, The Exile (1980). Courtesy Galerie Bruno Bischofberger, Männerdorf-Zurich, Switzerland ©ADAGP, Paris 2018 © Droits réservés.

WHAT: In the museum’s largest contemporary intervention to date, Schnabel has been invited to display his own work alongside his pick of 13 paintings from its 19th-century collection. It’s Schnabel’s first intervention in a major French institution since a show at the Pompidou three decades ago and coincides with the release of his film on Vincent van Gogh, At Eternity’s Gate.

Fittingly, work by Van Gogh will feature in visual conversation with Schnabel’s works as well as others from the Orsay collection by artists including Claude Monet and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec. In his 40-year career, Schnabel has approached painting in different and experimental ways that, shown side-by-side with 19th-century greats, demonstrate that the medium today is alive and well.

WHERE: Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris

WHEN: October 10, 2018–January 13, 2019


Suspension – A History of Abstract Hanging Sculpture, 1918–2018

Suspension: A History of Abstract Hanging Sculpture. 1918—2018, 1 Oct – 15 Dec, Olivier Malingue London and 16 Oct – 25 Oct, Palais d’lena, Paris.

WHAT: Curated by Matthieu Poirier ahead of the release of his book on the little-documented sculptural genre, the show traces a century of abstract sculpture through the lens of “aerial suspension.”

The genre emerged at the end of the 1910s with artists including Marcel Duchamp and Man Ray, who pioneered this new, modern, way of seeing sculpture in an era when humankind was beginning to conquer the skies. The tradition continued through the 1930s with artists like Alexander Calder—whose moving sculptural works caused Duchamp to coin the term “mobile”—and on through the ‘50s with François Morellet, Daniel Buren, and Sol LeWitt. Its contemporary iterations are shown in work by artists including Ernesto Neto, Tomás Saraceno, and Haegue Yang.

The show brings together more than 50 hanging works by more than 30 artists, which are placed in dialogue with the modern classicism of Palais d’Iena, designed by architect Auguste Perret in the 1930s.

WHERE: Palais d’Iena, 9 Avenue d’Iéna, 75016 Paris

WHEN: October 16–28


Rebecca Warren Carte Blanche

Rebecca Warren, There Is Another Way (2011). Copyright Rebecca Warren and Courtesy Stiftung zut Förderung Zeitgenössicher Kunst in Weindingen.

WHAT: As part of FIAC’s “Hors les Murs” (Outside the Walls) program, the UK artist Rebecca Warren has taken over the Eugene Delacroix Museum in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Warren, who makes sculptural work in materials including clay, bronze, steel, and neon, is presenting her 10-foot-tall bronze sculpture Rainer (2017) in the museum’s garden. Her steel work Melancholy (2011) can be found inside the museum converted from the studio Delacroix designed for himself.

WHERE: National Museum Eugène Delacroix, 6 Rue de Furstemberg, 75006 Paris

WHEN: October 14–29


Grayson Perry, “Vanity, Identity, Sexuality

Grayson Perry, 2017. Photo ©Richard Ansett.

WHAT: For Perry’s first major solo exhibition in France, the UK artist will showcase 55 artworks over two floors of the Paris Mint (where French euro coins are birthed). Perry’s works in traditional materials including ceramics and tapestry riff (often with dark humor) on topics including identity, gender, class, religion, and sexuality. Through his work—and his alter ego Claire—Perry challenges traditional concepts of masculinity, an issue the arts program of the Monnaie wants to address.

Notable inclusions in the show are a 26-foot-wide tapestry called Comfort Blanket, and 60 religious and collectors medals from the collection of the Monnaie de Paris, which will be shown alongside a new medal created for the show by the 2003 Turner Prize-winner.

WHERE: Monnaie de Paris, 11 Quai de Conti, 75006 Paris

WHEN: October 19, 2018–February 3, 2019


Simon Fujiwara, “Revolution

Simon Fujiwara, Joanne (2016). ©Andreas Larsson / Simon Fujiwara.

WHAT: Fujiwara is presenting his first major solo exhibition in France at the Galeries Lafayette Foundation’s new building, Lafayette Anticipations. Fujiwara’s work challenges the fetishization of personal experience in our time and the constant need to self-present. For the show, large-scale works and installations, including Fujiwara’s Happy Museum, are presented on the building’s mobile platforms. 

One installation, Empathy I (2018), offers a simulation theme-park ride that thrusts viewers into the first-person perspective of others via simulated found footage. His “Joanne” series of photographs featuring his secondary school art teacher, Joanne Salley, draws attention to the very real impact mass media can have on people’s lives (Salley was forced to resign when topless photos of her leaked online). Elsewhere to be found is a wax figure of Anne Frank, Likeness, cobbled together from numerous available images including photographs and her figure in Madame Tussaud’s in Berlin.

WHERE: Lafayette Anticipations, 9 Rue du Plâtre, 75004 Paris

WHEN: October 13, 2018–January 6, 2019


Laure Prouvost, “You Are My Petrol, My Drive, My Dream, My Exhaust

Laure Prouvost, we will go far. ©Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris, Brussels.

WHAT: Studio des Acacias is presenting a diptych of videos by the artist who has been nominated to represent France at next year’s Venice Biennale. “You Are My Petrol, My Drive, My Dream, My Exhaust” draws on elements made for Prouvost’s shows at the Musée Départemental de Rochechouart (2015) and Fahrenheit by FLAX in Los Angeles (2016). In the large resin-based installation, relics including a motorcycle, an LED, and a squid-ink vodka bar, conjure the two conflicting landscapes of rural France and urban American life.

WHERE: Studio des Acacias, 30 Rue des Acacias, 75017 Paris

WHEN: October 19–November 11


Michael Heizer”

Michael Heizer, Scoria Negative Wall Sculpture (2016). ©Michael Heizer. Photo by Thomas Lannes, courtesy of the artist and Gagosian Gallery.

WHAT: Gagosian is presenting works by Michael Heizer made throughout his 50-year career. Heizer explores the potentials of negative space in enormous sculptural installations like Cilia and Slot Mass, which he temporarily installed on the California-Nevada border in 1968. The gallery floor has been excavated to accommodate permanent steel versions of these works, and a mass of dark rock will be set into the wall to create his Scoria Negative Wall Sculpture (2016). There are shown alongside some of Heizer’s so-called “displacement paintings,” and drawings.

WHERE: Gagosian, 26 Avenue de l’Europe, 93350 Le Bourget

WHEN: October 16, 2018–February 2, 2019


On Air, Carte Blanche to Tomás Saraceno

Tomás Saraceno, Aerocene, launch in White Sands (New Mexico, USA) (2015). © Photo Studio Tomás Saraceno, 2014.

WHAT: Saraceno has been invited to take over the entirety of the prestigious Palais de Tokyo for the fourth edition of its “Carte Blanche” series. Titled “On Air,” Saraceno’s exhibition will bring together his major works with new commissions made in collaboration with scientists, activists, musicians, and philosophers.

The show promises to be a “cosmic jam session” filled with sound and sculptural works that connect the human and nonhuman universes, and the voices of the visible and the invisible. Saraceno’s work aims to invite new ways of thinking about the planet and its limited resources and encourages ethical approaches to the atmosphere and environment.

WHERE: Palais de Tokyo, 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris

WHEN: October 17, 2018–January 6, 2019


Tadao Ando, “The Challenge

Church of the Light, Osaka, Japan, 1989 © Photo Mitsuo Matsuoka

WHAT: The Centre Pompidou is hosting a major retrospective of the Pritzker Prize-winning Japanese architect. The show is organized around four themes: the simplicity of space, the urban challenge, project genesis, and dialogue with the past, and it unwraps key principles in Ando’s practice. Common themes in his work include his use of smooth concrete, geometric shapes, and a seamless incorporation of natural elements into built environments.

WHERE: Centre Pompidou, Place Georges-Pompidou, 75004 Paris

WHEN: October 10–December 31


Private Collections: a Journey From the Impressionists to the Fauvists

Vincent van Gogh, Les Lauriers roses. Le jardin à l’hôpital à Saint-Rémy (May-June 1889). Mexico, Collection Pérez Simón. ©Arturo Piera.

WHAT: The Musée Marmottan is exhibiting 62 works from private collections that have rarely been shown in public. “Private Collections” features works by Monet, Renoir, Camille Claudel, and Rodin, among others, that have been lent by 30 collectors from around the world.

WHERE: Musée Marmottan Monet, 2 Rue Louis Boilly, 75016 Paris

WHEN: On view through February 10, 2019


Monumental Minimal

Dan Flavin, Untitled (1975). Private collection, Europe. © Adagp, Paris, 2018. Photo: Charles Duprat.

WHAT: Ropac is presenting a group show of American Minimalist art including work by Carl Andre, Dan Flavin, Donald Judd, and Sol LeWitt. Around 20 major sculptures and paintings are presented in the former industrial building that is the gallery’s Paris space. Bookended by Flavin and LeWitt’s respective monuments to Russian artist Vladimir Tatlin and Josef Albers, the show emphasizes the importance of transatlantic exchange in the birth of Minimalist art.

WHERE: Galerie Thaddeus Ropac, 69 Avenue du Général Leclerc, 93500 Pantin

WHEN: October 17, 2018–March 23, 2019

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