See What Dealers Are Bringing to FIAC This Year

Why are so many dealers staging male-only booths?

Josef Albers, Variant with first green (1947-55). Courtesy Waddington Custot.

Paris’s leading art fair for contemporary art, FIAC, is opening its 43rd edition at the Grand Palais next week, from October 20 -23. The fair’s director, Jennifer Flay, has made some additions to the program, expanding the fair into the adjacent Petit Palais with a new sector called On Site, and launching a performance program called Parades, highlighting live arts.

Participating galleries will show large-scale sculptural works at On Site, such as a piano by Bertrand Lavier, presented by Almine Rech; Marcel Duchamp’s La boîte en valise, (1941-1963), by Paris’ Galerie 1900-2000; a new monumental sculpture by Lee Ufan, presented by Kamel Mennour; or a towering installation by Manfred Pernice, Kubo-Kahla 3, (2015), from Berlin’s Galerie Neu.

By sectioning off a stretch of the Avenue Winston-Churchill to create a direct connection between the two buildings, FIAC will in fact restore the original access to both sites, which was last used this way in 1900, when both the Grand and Petit Palais were built to house the Exposition Universelle.

Lee Ufan <i> Relatum, </i>(2016). Courtesy Kamel Mennour.

Lee Ufan,  Relatum, (2016). Courtesy Kamel Mennour.

With 187 participating galleries from 27 countries, the fair is going big and strong despite the earlier scheduling of the London Frieze week this year, which has created a conflict for some dealers coming to Europe from across the Atlantic. Still, there are 34 dealers from the US at the fair this year, second in numbers only to national representation by French galleries, (and followed by Germany, with 26 dealers).

Here’s a sneak peek of what dealers are bringing to the fair this year:

George Condo, <i> Untitled (Head #2), </i> (2016). Copyright George Condo / ARS, New York 2016. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers.

George Condo, Untitled (Head #2), (2016). Copyright George Condo / ARS, New York 2016. Courtesy the artist and Sprüth Magers.

Sprüth Magers (London/Berlin / Los Angeles) is bringing a selection of artists from their stable, including a new painting of an abstract bust by George Condo, photography works by Cindy Sherman and Thomas Ruff, plastic and acrylic wall sculptures by Craig Kauffmann, whose estate the gallery started representing recently, works by Barbara Kruger, Louise Lawler, Karen Kilimnik, and mixed media drawings by Alexandre Singh, who is also participating in the fair’s new Parades program with an hour-long discursive performance on his grand theater piece The Humans. 

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #581, 2016. Copyright Cindy Sherman. Courtesy the artist, Sprüth Magers and Metro Pictures, New York

Cindy Sherman, Untitled #581, 2016. Copyright Cindy Sherman. Courtesy the artist, Sprüth Magers and Metro Pictures, New York.

Michael Werner Gallery is bringing a male-only roster to the fair this year, a trend that can be observed among many other dealers at FIAC. Could this be the telling giveaway that confidence in the market is shaky? With male artists traditionally commanding higher prices, it seems like many exhibitors in the main sector are risk averse this year.

Werner’s booth will display paintings by German heavyweights such as Georg Baselitz, Sigmar Polke, and Markus Lüpertz, historical works by Marcel Broodthaers, Jean (Hans) Arp, Fernand Léger, and Francis Picabia, among other, and works by Don Van Vliet, otherwise known as Captain Beefheart. 

Neo Rauch, Vaters Acker Courtesy Eigen + Art

Neo Rauch, Vaters Acker Courtesy Eigen + Art.

Eigen + Art is showing paintings by Neo Rauch from his recent series that embarks on a personal search for a father/son dialogue, both artistic—looking at his father’s drawings—and projected, as the New Leipzig School painter never knew his parents, who both died in a tragic train accident only weeks after he was born.


Aneta Grzeszykowska, Selfie #8ba (2014). Courtesy Raster, Warsaw.

Warsaw based Raster, the only gallery from Poland showing at the fair, and one of only two from Eastern Europe—in addition to Romanian gallery Plan B—is showing Polish conceptualist Michal Budny, painter and illustrator Marcin Maciejowski, and photographer Aneta Grzeszykowska, fresh on the heels of her critically acclaimed two-venue show in New York, “NO/BODY”, which closes on October 16.

Imi Knoebel, <i>Bild 08.12.2015, </i> (2015). Courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

Imi Knoebel, Bild 08.12.2015, (2015). Courtesy Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder

Galerie Nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder is also showing works by Michal Budny, with a metal sculpture from 2016 priced at €20,000. The gallery is also presenting paintings by Bernard Frize, and Imi Knoebel, with his Bild 08.12.2015, (2015) going for €122,000.

Waddington Custot are presenting key figures of 20th century and post war art, including paintings by Joseph Albers, and Antoni Tapies, and gossamer brass sculptures by Fausto Melotti.

Fausto Melotti Carro di Tespi (chariot of Thespis) (1977). Courtesy Waddington Custot

Fausto Melotti, Carro di Tespi (chariot of Thespis) (1977). Courtesy Waddington Custot.

Thaddaeus Ropac, who has announced it is selling the seminal Duchamp readymade Bottle Rack (1959) at its gallery in Le Marais, will show paintings by James Rosenquist at the fair, to complement the Rosenquist show at the gallery’s Pantin location, as well as works by Robert Rauschenberg, from whose estate the Duchamp piece comes from.

Rather than a “business-as-usual” approach, New York gallery Mitchell-Innes & Nash have opted for a booth that touches on the current political tensions around the world, with collage works by Martha Rosler, and a compressed lint work titled Tahrir Square (2014) by Mary Kelly.

Mary Kelly, Tahrir Square (2014). ©Mary Kelly, Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY

Mary Kelly, Tahrir Square (2014). ©Mary Kelly, Courtesy of the artist and Mitchell-Innes & Nash, NY

Following the sensational reactions to Anne Imhof’s durational opera at Kunsthalle Basel earlier this year, and at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof during the Berlin Art Week in September, Isabella Bortolozzi is bringing sculptural pieces and drawings by the artist, which serve as settings and props in her hypnotizing performances infused with night-life angst, set to self-composed music and featuring animals, drones, and lots of smoking inside museums. (The third act of her Opera will be shown at the upcoming Montreal Biennial).

Other daring selections can be found at the younger Lafayette sector, with a tight selection of 10 participating galleries, including Paris-based Torri, showing a solo booth by Hoël Duret, and LA-based Freedman Fitzpratick, showing paintings by Matthew Lutz-Kinoy, alongside mixed-media sculptures by Mathis Altmann. 

Whether the relatively safe selections will translate into strong sales remains to be determined next week.

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