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They say every second person in New York is a critic while every second person in Paris is an artist. The current estimate of living artists in Paris is 300,000! Makes one’s head spin. Yet the city seems to be able to absorb all this creative energy by generating outlets for art that are multi-national, multi-disciplinary and multi-dimensional.
Theboxinparis is a good example of the type of hybrid art space popping up in Paris and representative of a global trend. Art can no longer be confined to painting or sculpture, those classical disciplines which once defined the term. Aline Geller’s super-cool space hovers between domestic habitat, cutting edge gallery, performance space, B&B and an exclusive monthly meeting place where one can rub shoulders with the cosmopolitan crowd over a thematic meal. The building itself is situated in an unexpectedly gorgeous little cul de sac just off the main street of Paris’ red-light district, Pigalle. The gallery space oozes chic and its minimalist décor is designed to show off the art to full advantage.
The current exhibition features photography by Olivier Cans, Romain Grimaldi, Philip Provily and Cheyco Leidman. The latter is renowned for his disturbing images of the darker side of humanity and gallerist Aline Geller is a big fan. Theboxinparis is looking for new digs but in the meantime the gallery is open Tuesday through Saturday from 15:00 to 20:00. 6 cité du midi, 75018 Paris.
Saphir Monceau Espace Art-Mode
Francine Szapiro is no newcomer to the gallery business. Years of dealing with an infinite variety of artworks led her to question the exclusionary mindset of fine art galleries. Two years ago, this innovative gallerist took the plunge and transformed one of Saphir Gallery’s four locations into a space where artisans and fine artists are given equal footing. Along with this rather revolutionary concept, the gallery is dedicated to works which celebrate Woman. Refusing to discriminate by exhibiting women artists alone, Szapiro displays works created both by women and for women.
The result is a rather eclectic group of artworks which includes unique contemporary and classical drawings and paintings from the past century, beautiful one-of-a-kind hats which scream “Paris” and a current exhibition of exquisitely carved wooden bags by artist Rocio. In short, there is something for everyone. As Szapiro explains it, many of the gallery’s male clients are keen to buy the women in their lives accessories which emphasize the art in objets d’art. Saphir Monceau Gallery, 69 avenue de Villiers, 75017 Paris. Sunday through Thursday 13:30H to 19:00H or by appointment.
Photo by Larry Langner
Once a year, the city of Paris hosts an all-nighter called Nuit Blanche (White Night) centered around contemporary art. Hundreds of installations, videos, events, performances and light shows are scattered throughout the city into the wee hours of the morning. Selected French and international artists are given free reign to transform Paris’s churches, bridges, walls, sidewalks, monuments and museums for one night. With thousands of people out and about, the atmosphere is electric. The idea of free art accessible to the pedestrian public has caught on in other cities around the world from Tel Aviv to Toronto.
This year’s theme for Nuit Blanche was ‘connection, calm and beauty’. But a word of advice to one and all. Even though this giant art fest goes on all night long, I discovered that many of the major events close by 1 a.m. and entrance is denied by around midnight. I also found out from experience that Nuit Blanche is an unspoken license for underage drinking. The streets and metros were crowded with inebriated youth and by 1:30 am it was time for me to go home.
It is clear that Art can no longer be confined within the walls of established art institutions. I believe we are experiencing a peak of global creativity which refuses to be labeled and contained. Art venues and spaces are struggling to keep up by experimenting with new ways to present this explosion of creative output. Paris is one city taking all this in stride.
- City Segway Tours are great for seeing Paris in a different light. You’ll see more, have more fun, and not feel tired at the end of it. These are highly recommended and truly a great thing to do during your stay.
- Fat Tire Bike Tours are another great way to see the city. You’ll get the company of an expert guide, the use of a super-comfortable bike, great tips and advice about what to do while in town and an exciting, informative and educational experience.