Arts Off The Beaten Track: Paris Museums and Galleries Worth the Detour

As an arts lover in Paris, you’re spoilt for choice. But once you’ve ticked off all the major art museums and galleries – such as the Louvre and Musée D’Orsay – you might want to explore some of the lesser-known options in the city with the added bonus of avoiding long queues, crowds, and sometimes even entry fees. Here’s our guide to arts off the beaten track:

Palais de Tokyo

Constructed in 1937 for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et TechniquesPalais de Tokyo was designed to house the modern art collections of both the French state and the city of Paris. During World War II, its basement was used to store pillaged Jewish goods and property. Superseded in its original purpose by the opening of Centre Pompidou, the building was eventually gutted and abandoned. The Palais de Tokyo as we now know it was inaugurated in 2002.

Palais de Tokyo, Paris
Palais de Tokyo

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FIAC: Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain

For its 44th edition from 19 to 22 October 2017 in Paris, FIAC will host a carefully balanced selection of leading international galleries in the iconic Grand Palais. FIAC consolidates the presence of major galleries working in the field of modern and contemporary art and confirms its support of the emerging generation, notably via the Lafayette Sector.

This year FIAC is re-introducing a design sector, with the participation of 5 galleries internationally renowned for their expertise in the field of 20th and 21st design. On Site presents sculptures and installations in locations in and around the prestigious Petit Palais.

FIAC reaffirms its strong cultural mission through the Hors Les Murs programme. A program of artworks – unrivalled in scope in the landscape of international art fairs – will be presented in emblematic Parisian sites: the Jardin des Tuileries, the Musée National Eugène Delacroix, and the Place Vendôme. – FIAC.

A photo diary of Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain held at Grand Palais, Paris xx

FIAC, Paris

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Kassel: Documenta 14 curated by Adam Szymczyk

Artistic Director Adam Szymczyk has proposed a twofold structure for the exhibition, as reflected in the working title “Learning from Athens.” In 2017, Kassel and the Greek capital will host the exhibition on an equal footing: Kassel has relinquished its hitherto undisputed position as the central exhibition venue in favor of another role, namely that of a guest in Athens.

For documenta 14, participating artists have been invited to think and produce within the context of the emerging dynamic relationship between these two cities and to develop a work for each of the two locations. documenta 14 seeks to encompass a multitude of voices in, between, and beyond the two cities where it is situated, reaching outside the European context from the vantage point of the Mediterranean metropolis of Athens, where Africa, the Middle East, and Asia stand face to face. – Universes in Universe.

documenta 14 is not owned by anyone in particular. It is shared among its visitors and artists, readers and writers, as well as all those whose work made it happen. – documenta 14.

A photo diary of Documenta in Kassel, Germany xx

The Parliament of Bodies at Documenta 14, Kassel
The Parliament of Bodies: The Strategy of Joy

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Museums and Galleries in Paris to Visit All Year Long

Unless you’re like me, you probably don’t organise your holidays around art exhibitions. Which means, it can be a bit of a gamble what you might see when you finally arrive at an art gallery or museum. I find nothing more frustrating than discovering that an exhibition I would have been interested in seeing finished the day before I arrive, or starts the day after I leave a city. But luckily, no matter what exhibition is on, there are some museums in Paris that are worth visiting all year round. Whether it be stunning architecture or impressive permanent collections, these museums never fail to impress!

For all the architecture nerds out there, Centre Pompidou was designed by Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers and is a prime example of ‘constructivist’ architecture. The skeleton of the building is exposed, revealing all of its inner structure, functions and mechanics. Visitors zig-zag their way up the building via the external escalator.

View from Centre Pompidou, Paris
View from Centre Pompidou

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Florence – Ytalia: Energy Thought Beauty: It’s All Connected

In one of the vaults of Assisi’s Upper Basilica, at the end of 1200, Cimabue, wrote “Ytalia” in the margin of a painting of a city, almost certainly Rome:  a very early affirmation of the existence of Italian civilization.  With this mark, Cimabue sanctioned that national boundaries are artistic before political and that national identity is made up of classic and humanistic culture, pagan beauty and Christian spirituality.

Ytalia offers the national and international public the opportunity to encounter some of the major artists of our times. Over 100 contemporary works of art at Forte di Belvedere and throughout the city: “a veritable museum of contemporary art, in the heart of the city, between interior and exterior, between the Middle Ages and Renaissance, between museums and gardens, funerary chapels and areas of political life, galleries and studios, cloisters and crypts” – Ytalia.

A photo diary of Ytalia: Energy Thought Beauty: It’s All Connected in Florence xx

Florence, Italy

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57th Biennale di Venezia: Viva Arte Viva curated by Christine Macel

The 57th International Art Exhibition, titled Viva Arte Viva, opened to the public from Saturday May 13th to Sunday November 26th, at the Arsenale and Giardini venues, and in several locations in Venice. The show featured 120 invited artists, of which 103 were participating for the first time, 86 National Participations, a Special Project, and 23 Collateral Events.

The Exhibition offered a route that unfolded over the course of nine chapters or families of artists, beginning with two introductory realms in the Central Pavilion in the Giardini, followed by seven more realms to be found in the Arsenale and the Giardino delle Vergini. “Viva Arte Viva is an Exhibition inspired by humanism” declared Christine Macel.

Viva Arte Viva is an exclamation, a passionate outcry for art and the state of the artist. Viva Arte Viva is a Biennale designed with artists, by artists and for artists.” – Christine Macel, La Biennale di Venezia.

A photo diary of the Biennale di Venezia xx

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Summer Art Exhibitions in Paris

It’s August, and while most of the French are going on summer holidays, there’s still plenty to do in Paris. Cafés and shops may close, but many of the city’s art galleries and museums remain open. The mass exodus of Parisians during the summer holidays means there are often less crowds, making it the perfect time to take in some art. Enjoy the empty city – and air conditioning! – while exploring some of the artistic offerings this summer in Paris.

Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier – Fondation Louis Vuitton 26 April-28 August 2017

Europe and North America have long been seen as artistic epicentres. However in recent years, the art world has begun to recognise South America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa as exciting artistic hubs. Fondation Louis Vuitton aims to shine a light on these previously overshadowed art scenes, as demonstrated by their current exhibition Art/Afrique, le nouvel atelier.

Guy Bourdin at Maison Chloe
© The Guy Bourdin Estate 2017 / Courtesy of Louise Alexander Gallery

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