The action continued in Paris on Saturday evening October 13th with a sumptuous dinner hosted by the esteemed Austrian dealer Thaddaeus Ropac to celebrate his new glorious space in the Pantin district, northeast of Paris with a double exhibition of Anselm Kiefer and Joseph Beuys. The site is 50,000 square feet with 22,000 square feet of exhibition space. There is also a multimedia room for performances. The architects Buttazzoni & Associates built the main gallery building comprising of 4 luminous halls 22 x 40 feet in a formerly early 20th century boiler work factory.
|Dinner at Ropac, Pantin|
A new series of works by Anselm Kiefer entitled “Die Ungeborenen” (The Unborn) includes many monumental canvases and sculptures, “which reference the artist’s interest in the origin and creation of life, referencing well-known myths and iconography. Through the new works, Kiefer explores the hybrid sphere of non-belonging, in which life and unborn life are in an intermediate world dominated by the question of why one is and where one belongs. Through this concept, the artist considers the theological concept of limbo, the region on the border of Hell, the abode of souls awaiting entrance into Heaven.”
Joseph Beuys’s show featured a “white horse stomping in a corner, echoing Beuy’s historic 1969 ‘Iphigenie’ performance in Frankfurt, where the artist appeared in a fur coat alongside a white horse, cymbals crashing together in a commentary of Goethe’s eponymous myth.”
|Horse in Beuys exhibition at Ropac, Pantin|
In his welcome speech to the art world glitterati, including forty artists and thirty museum curators, Thaddeaues said “We found we were limiting the vision of our artists, we couldn’t take four-ton sculptures by Anthony Gormley. If you give them an ambitious space, they will produce their best work, and that is easier to sell.”
Monday October 15th in the evening, we arrived after dinner at the The Palais de Tokyo, which conveniently stays open until midnight every night except Tuesdays. The new exhibition “Imagine the Imaginary”opened in late September in the museum’s newly enlarged space. It is now one of the largest spaces devoted to contemporary art in Europe. The exhibition is spread out over all four floors of the museum and includes “Chloe.Attitudes,” which is the first exhibition dedicated to Chloe celebrating it’s 60 year contribution to fashion culture. It brings together artists from different generations whose works demonstrate and describe the processes involved in their development. The outstanding artist Fabrice Hyber presents the solo exhibition titled “Raw Materials” where he creates “a mental spa composed of two paths one active and one contemplative” and a physical and virtual landscape. Richard Baqui’s “Untitled” 1985 (LE TEMPS DE RIEN) dominates and awes the viewers.
|Richard Baqui, “Untitled” at The Palais de Tokyo|
On Tuesday morning October 16th, I walked over to the Louvre Museum to join the curator of the new spaces of the Department of Islamic Art, which opened three weeks ago. He enthusiastically gave us the background of the project, marking the museum’s greatest development since the iconic glass pyramid constructed 20 years ago. Created by architects Mario Bellini and Rudy Ricciotti, the new wing is encased in glass with an undulating roof spanning over 30,000 square feet. Nearly 3,000 works will be exhibited, representing 1300 years of history and from an area crossing over three continents, from Spain to Southeast Asia. On display are some pieces never seen by the public.
Following this extraordinary experience, the group walked over to the Tuileries Gardens for a tour of the outdoor projects which are created annually in collaboration with the Louvre. Works were installed in the fountains, basins and all over the lawn. Among my favorites, Marc Quinn’s “Origin of the World” in the pond, Aaron Curry’s “BBZ” on the lawn, Jeppe Hein’s “Modified Social Benches” (where children were sitting) and lastly William Kentridge & Gerhard Marx’s “Fire Walker.” The project is magnificent in this exceptionally beautiful site!
At 4 PM, I arrived at the Pompidou Museum for a private visit of the Adel Abdessemed’s exhibition titled “I am Innocent,” where his gigantic bronze statue of two soccer players, titled “Headbutt” stands roughly 16 feet high. This major survey includes 25 works from 1990-2012. Abdessemed uses shock tactics to make an impact on the viewer and to cause visceral reactions. He takes us on a journey through art history, including references to 18th century Goya works and minimalist works of the 1960’s. He uses imagery such as burning helicopters, monstrous skeletons, the carcasses of burned-out cars to show the waves of destruction that shake our contemporary existence as well as the violence of western history.
|Abdessemed, “Headbutt” at Pompidou|
Wednesday morning, October 17th, the art enthusiasts crowded into the early 10am opening of the 39th edition of FIAC at the Grand Palais. Of the 184 galleries, 41 participated for the first time. The fair sizzled with excitement as the viewers were directed to the second floor where the younger artists were being shown. The new sculptures of Hugh Scott-Douglas at the Jessica Silverman Gallery (no relation) caught my eye. On the main floor, which was more spacious, collectors quickly spotted their favorite dealers and sought out their artists. A few of my favorite works include: David Altmejd’s “Mirrored Wall Panel #3” at Xavier Hufken’s, Thomas Bogaert and Wang Du’s “Post-Image 003” at Albert Baronian, Berlinde de Bruckere at Continua, Katharina Fritsch’s umbrellas at Matthew Marks, Theaster Gate’s “Flag”(Tricolore) at White Cube, Pierre Huyghe’s “I DO NOT OWN SNOW WHITE” at Marian Goodman’s, Annette Messager’s “Chaos” at Marian Goodman and the kinetic Takis installation at Xippas.
Early Thursday morning, October 18th, I went to view Michael Werner’s collection of 900 works at the Musee d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris for a private viewing which opened earlier this month. It is a tribute to Michael Werner and his achievement as a gallerist and collector for fifty years. 127 paintings and sculpture were donated by Werner to the Museum. He opened his first gallery in Berlin in 1963, Werner and Katz with the first exhibition of paintings by Georg Baselitz. One of my favorite rooms was the Baselitz installation with beautiful paintings from the 1980’s. This gift is the most significant since the bequest made by Dr. Maurice Girardin in 1953 which led to the creation of the institution.
Next on my agenda was the Louis Vuitton Cultural Space on Rue Bassano to view the current exhibit “Journeys: Wanderings in contemporary Turkey.” Upon arrival, the guests were taken down the Olafur Eliasson elevator and there was total blackness for approximately 30 seconds. Luckily no one fainted! The guide discussed the various artists’ struggles documenting the challenges and issues facing the transition to life in Turkey today.
Walked to the Champs Elysee and over to the Gagosian Gallery on rue de Ponthieu to view the stunning Rudolf Stingel exhibition which opened Tuesday. His practice concerns the passage of time by both celebrating and memorializing it. In this show of eight new works, he uses large sections of graffiti-covered celotex insulation panels that were shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art 5 years ago, where the viewers were free to further transform the works by scratching and writing on the surface, thus becoming part of the work. In the current exhibition he has cast and plated them. They are glistening and absolutely exquisite! “the new panel paintings are a new form of luxurious abstraction borne of humble materials and mundane gestures.”
My final visit involved traveling to Le Bourget airport in the north of Paris to view Gagosian’s new exhibition space designed by French architect Jean Nouvel. This industrial 17,760 square feet on two levels is the 12th gallery for Gagosian and is indeed well located, as it is next to the private jets’ hangar. One stop shopping for his illustrious collectors! For the inaugural show of Anselm Kiefer’s “Morgenthau Plan,” the gallery was filled with a sculpture of a golden wheat field, enclosed with a 16 feet high steel cage. Four domestic size paintings graced another space. Kiefer’s installations in both new spaces outside of Paris are a must see!
Off to the airport!!!!!!!!!!