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Paris+ by Art Basel returns, celebrating French artistry in Its second edition.
In a surprising turn of events amidst the global challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, 2022 saw the emergence of two new major players in the art fair landscape, the esteemed Frieze Seoul and the unexpected, yet eagerly anticipated, Paris+ by Art Basel. These developments defied expectations, fostering a wave of expansion in the art fair world that even seasoned dealer David Zwirner found astonishing.
Mr. Zwirner, a distinguished art dealer with a global presence, including a Paris location established in 2019, is amongst the 154 dealers exhibiting their offerings at the second edition of Paris+. Held at the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary replacement for the Grand Palais currently undergoing renovations, this gathering is a testament to the art fair’s resilient appeal.
For David Zwirner, an art fair’s success hinges on its ability to accommodate a wide range of price points, a feature he attributes to the Art Basel franchise’s unique strength. In a comparison with France’s longstanding International Contemporary Art Fair, or FIAC, he observed that the latter didn’t sufficiently cater to higher price points. It’s this diversity that makes art fairs so dynamic, as they thrive on the collective energy of artists, collectors, and enthusiasts who converge within their walls.
In his Paris+ presentation this year, Mr. Zwirner has curated an exhibition centered around figurative work and portraits, including the latest creations by celebrated American artists Lisa Yuskavage, Elizabeth Peyton, and Kerry James Marshall. Notably, Kerry James Marshall’s work, “Black and Part Black Birds in America: (Magpies and Baltimore Orioles)” (2023), delves into the exploration of race, drawing inspiration from John James Audubon’s iconic “Birds of America.”
Max Edouard Hetzler, representing Galerie Max Hetzler, recollected the sustained collector interest that permeated last year’s Paris+, emphasizing the event’s unique ability to captivate visitors for an extended duration. This continuity is not common in every art fair, and the extended engagement fosters a more immersive experience for all attendees.
The organizers of Art Basel, cognizant of the need for differentiation, have strived to make each event distinct, with editions taking place in Miami Beach, Hong Kong, and the original Basel, Switzerland. They aim to offer something unique in each location, capitalizing on the inherent character of the city in which the fair unfolds.
Paris+, now in its second edition, boasts slightly over half the number of dealers as the Basel fair, with plans to expand when it relocates to the Grand Palais in 2024. This scalable difference ensures that Paris+ and the flagship Basel fair each play to their individual strengths.
One noteworthy feature at this year’s Paris+ is the prominence of solo booths, a sight not common in most art fairs. Among these, the Blum & Poe gallery stands out, presenting a solo exhibition of sculptures by the self-taught artist Lonnie Holley.
In the Emerging Galleries section, there is a noticeable trend toward large-scale video installations inspired by video games and computer-generated imagery. One example is Bank gallery from Shanghai, showcasing a new video by Chinese artist Lu Yang.
A prominent theme underpinning Paris+ is its dedication to embracing the local culture. This French flair is epitomized by Parisian dealers, Galerie Anne Barrault and Édouard Montassut, who transitioned from Emerging Galleries to the Galleries section. The fair has also expanded its public programming, featuring a nature-themed outdoor exhibition titled “La Cinquième Saison” (“The Fifth Season”) in the Tuileries Garden, offering visitors a unique blend of art and the beauty of Paris’s iconic public spaces.
Art Basel’s Conversations program, hosting public talks, will relocate to the Pompidou Center this year, promising insightful discussions on art acquisition in 2023. The fair’s commitment to local engagement and global artistic discourse remains resolute.
Brexit’s impact on the art scene has not gone unnoticed. Some collectors who once called London home have departed, contributing to the vibrant atmosphere of Paris+. One such dealer, Galerie 1900-2000, established since 1981 on Paris’s Left Bank, attested to the fair’s ability to draw serious collectors. In a nod to Surrealism’s storied history, the gallery presents their works salon-style, echoing the movement’s pioneers.
Among the standout pieces at Galerie 1900-2000’s booth is the rare photomontage book “Aveux non avenus” (“Disavowed Confessions”) (1930) by French artist Claude Cahun, featuring four original drawings. These pieces are preserved intact, honoring the historical value they represent.
Pace Gallery takes inspiration from the concurrent “Mark Rothko” exhibition at Fondation Louis Vuitton, offering a thematic booth featuring works by various artists responding to Rothko’s legacy. The diversity of responses will ensure a continuously evolving exhibition experience throughout the fair.
For sculpture enthusiasts, the booth of Lévy Gorvy Dayan beckons with striking works such as Barbara Chase-Riboud’s “All that Rises Must Converge / Red” (2008) and Aristide Maillol’s “La Rivière 2ème état (sans socle)” (“The River 2nd State [Without Base])” (1938–43). These sculptures underscore the gallery’s commitment to the often-overlooked medium of sculpture.
Paris+ by Art Basel’s second edition is a testament to the enduring allure of the art fair, its adaptability, and its celebration of the distinct French artistic landscape. As the fair unfolds, it continues to be a beacon for collectors, art enthusiasts, and connoisseurs from around the world, drawn to the rich tapestry of art and culture that is uniquely Parisian.