The Major Contemporary Art Venues in Paris

Historically, one can trace back Paris’ artistic hegemony to the beginning of the XVIII century. An art market began to appear with the Académie and the Salon and Paris naturally became a centre for the arts. It was so until WWII broke out and many artists moved to the bustling city of New York. The city of love lost its popularity among artists and was not looked at as much as New York. But as a result of globalization, the contemporary art world is now international and Paris took advantage of the internationalization of the art world to restore its image.

Contemporary Art Fair
FIAC, Ⓒ The Art Newspaper

Now rich in major artistic events such as the FIAC (founded in 1974), Paris also has a large number of well-known artistic venues. Of course, there are the Louvre, the Orsay Museum, the Orangerie and so on. Museums of that importance are now anchored in the Parisian life. Contemporary Art Museums are also present, with, among others, the Palais de Tokyo or the Louis Vuitton Foundation. But there is also an important number of contemporary art galleries across the French Capital.

Contemporary Art Galleries

Of course, some of the most famous names of the art world have galleries in Paris. Urbansider published their Top 10 Contemporary Art Galleries in Paris and the names may ring a bell: Perrotin, David Zwirner (who set up his gallery in July 2019), Thaddaeus Ropac, Gagosian (great documentary about him by Arte right HERE)… Galleries that I personally love, and that show that Paris has not been left out as an art scene. But facing markets like that of London, New York, or emerging ones such as LA or Hong Kong, Paris faces an impressive competition. What is the future of Paris’ Contemporary Art Scene? That is what we are here to discuss. And to enlight us, members of Club 707 are here to talk us through what they think of Paris and its relationship to the Contemporary Art world.

Club 707 – a contemporary art association

Originally in the fields of sociology and philosophy, but also in politics, Arthur, 23 years old, has the desire to see contemporary creation blossom, by spreading it around him as well as possible. Clémentine and Loli, 22 years old, have both studied Art History. They focus today on management and social sciences related to culture.

Club 707, a non-profit association, was born from their collaboration and their common desire to create a concrete artistic dialogue beyond the world of Parisian galleries.

To do this, Club 707 offers to gather groups of 5 artists at a time. From all levels and all techniques, they will be given carte-blanche to discuss their creations. The mission of this project is to gather them around a theme and to work together around a common piece as well as to exhibit them for free.

From September onwards, and in the hope that it will then be possible to organize these ephemeral exhibitions, they will attempt to explore unusual places in and around Paris. These moments of sharing will, they hope, be great opportunities for encounters but also for sales if the exhibited artists so wish. In the meantime, they will virtually introduce a group of 5 artists through interviews and works shared via social media. June will see five artists reunited around the idea of escape. Stay tuned! But in the meantime, let’s talk about Paris, where Club 707 is settling.

Paris and the Contemporary Art World, by Club 707

Contemporary Art
Club 707

Art, Artists and Emerging Artists

Art: a vast word that comprises many aspects, eras and stories. Contemporary art is at the same time an asset, an escape route, a factor of social cohesion and, above all, of dialogue. It raises questions. It makes us look at what surrounds us, at the scale of what our eyes see, but also in search of what they make us feel.

The artist has many roles. He gives birth to an idea, makes it tangible by giving it a perceptible physical form. His work reflects his imagination, his personal interpretation, his inner world and the world in which he evolves.

The emerging artist is still creating his audience, creating his reputation within an artistic scene. However, the notion of emergence assumes space and time. It confines the emerging artist to the beginning of his career. If he is in the process of emerging, he still has to prove himself. He has to persevere before he can hope to gain recognition as an accomplished artist. For an artist in the making, encounters, exchanges but also critiques, and all the moments for emulation and sharing are precious. They are opportunities to gain from others, to learn to exist in a sometimes hostile world.

The Parisian Art Scene

Paris, France. One of the globe’s most well-known art scenes. Parisian museums, exhibitions, galleries and other numerous events inspire art lovers. But the less initiated can feel left out.

In Paris, artistic venues are not evenly distributed throughout the districts. The centre of the city includes most of the blue-chip artistic venues (e.g Louvre, Orsay Museum and the galleries of the Marais), grouped on either side of the Seine. There is a growing urge to explore and conquer new spaces and audiences. Cultural actors and artists wish to increase dialogue. Dialogue between artists, between observers, all in all, between the actors of the art world. The bond that unites them has to be developed, regardless of their specific roles.

Today, we feel that there is a need to reinforce the plurality of these connections by working on their development and maintenance. This need for dialogue and exchanges finds a particular echo in the materiality of the works. Sharing artistic works on the two-dimensional platforms that are social media is not enough. Artistic creations – whether paintings, sculptures, installations or performances – are meant to be seen, to be experienced in real-life. Often scanned with a finger on a screen, it is their materiality that needs to be approached. Artists whose works live only virtually in the eyes of spectators have fewer opportunities to physically stage their creativity.

Club 707 within this ecosystem

To implement this relationship between the actors of the art-world, a theoretical answer is not enough. Club 707 wishes to offer a solution to this issue. We will do so by increasing the amount of suitable space for exhibitions and shows. And we will engage with contemporary artists working with as many different media as possible and putting in the spotlight this notion of exchange. An exchange that needs to include the artists, their spectators, but also gallerists, patrons and other actors of the art scene.

Our organization aims at questioning our ways of consuming art. We want to emphasize the importance of lingering, of taking time to appreciate a piece, of being aware.

All in all, Club 707 is a place for openness and dialogue and thus, thanks to the artists and amateurs on which it fully relies.

What future for Paris’ Art Scene?

One of the recent years’s major positive change for Paris is Brexit. Indeed, the UK’s outing of the EU has led some of the biggest London galleries (David Zwirner for example) to establish another home in Paris, by fear of the economic future of the UK. Brexit could (but I am no soothsayer) restore the blazon of Paris within the art world. Could Paris (re) become Europe’s next art world capital?

However, as much as I dislike to face this truth, the Covid crisis will have an impact on the art world. Paris will be no exception. The northern 19th and 20th districts of Paris were slowly starting to become artistic centres for emerging art. Looking at Time Out’s top 50 of contemporary art galleries in Paris, one sees that the two districts hold quite an important number of galleries. The question is the same for all the small galleries of the world: how will they face the crisis? and will they resist? These are questions I do not have an answer to. But I certainly hope they will!

It is in this scene and these conditions that Club 707 will slowly step in as of September. And I urge you to follow their adventures on their Instagram Page!

If you liked this article, check out last week’s on Tamara de Lempicka!