ARTisSpectrum Vol.30, November 2013 - page 124-125

ARTisSpectrum | Volume 30 |
ARTisSpectrum | Volume 30 |
Agora Gallery is proud to represent talented artists from all over the world, many of whom are
inspired by their surroundings. Each location is different and possesses a unique atmosphere.
Naturally, the art in each place also varies, imparting a particular feeling to the art scene and
influencing artists in certain ways. In ARTbeat, some of our artists explain what they think is most
characteristic and special about the art scene in the city where they live.
Paris, France
by Wendy Smith
Paris hardly needs an introduction. After all, it’s one of the most visited cities in the world, with approximately 27 million
people enjoying its delights. Paris is well known for its visual pleasures such as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Notre
Dame de Paris, Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, and the Champs-Élysées. You will also find the famous cafes, small narrow cob-
blestone streets, beautiful bridges, night city lights and architecture with significant historical stories, while maintaining its
famous sameness. It is also a city with many hidden jewels including its contemporary art scene.
Upon your visit to Paris you expect to walk through the doors of art history and fame in the Musée du Louvre and Musée
d’Orsay. Both are truly a wondrous delight of architecture and art history visited by millions each year. The Louvre alone
holds 60,600 square metres of gallery space showcasing worldwide historical masterpieces such as Aphrodite, known as
the Venus de Milo, the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, and The Wedding Feast at Cana. The
Musée d’Orsay provides a fine display of works by Renoir, Rembrant, Van Gogh, Manet, and Monet to name but a few.
With such well known historical art on display you would be forgiven for believing contemporary art in Paris is not alive.
But onthe contrary contemporary art is alive and in public view, and on a grand scale such as in the architecturally con-
troversial building “Centre Georges Pompidou” which houses the largest Musée National d’Art Moderne in Europe. In fact,
galleries in Paris showcase a vibrant, diverse array of contemporary art in many areas. You will however, have to walk off
the well-worn tourist tracks to find them. The Marais in the 3rd arrondissement, just a 5 minute walk from Bastille, has a
growing art gallery scene, as does Belleville to the east of Paris with its street art and eclectic modern art galleries. You
will also find many hidden gems, like Saint-Germain-des-Prés in the 6th arrondissement, with its narrow streets lined with
galleries exhibiting modern fine art of all genres.
In addition to galleries, Paris provides public spaces and dates for artistic showcasing free for the community. An important
date is the first Saturday of October. ‘Nuit Blanche,’ a whole night event with the streets of Paris full of people enjoying
the artistic displays of light and colour in many areas of the city. Throughout the year at designated weekends, artists
collaborate to create events, ‘Porte D’Ouvertes,’ primarily in Montreuil, Bastille, Ménilmontant and Belleville to show and
sell their art and provide the public with some knowledge of the artist working space. An eclectic showing of art of all
genres with artists pushing the boundaries of contemporary art is well established at the ‘104 CentQuatre’ in the 19th
arrondissement, ’Frigo’ in the 13th Arrondissement and legal artists’ squat colony, ‘59Rivoli’ in the 1st arrondissement.
The thriving contemporary art scene in Paris, is driven by a culture that loves to delve and explore art from its historical
roots and challenge the status quo with new and innovative styles and techniques.
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