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Chalet Society

  • Art
  • 7e arrondissement
  1. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit
  2. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit
  3. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit
  4. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit
  5. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit
  6. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit
  7. © Alex Dudok de Wit
    © Alex Dudok de Wit

Time Out says

The busiest of Parisian boulevards conceal the calmest of courtyards. From Wednesday to Sunday, an imposing green door on the Boulevard Raspail opens onto a dark passageway that leads to a spacious quad. There stands the Chalet Society art gallery, the brainchild of former Palais de Tokyo director Marc-Olivier Wahler – though its spiritual father, according to its website, is Saul Wahl Katzenellenbogen, the visionary 16th-century King of Poland and instigator of the concept of ‘poetic consciousness’. This term serves as the gallery’s watchword: only those who channel this consciousness – collectors and researchers as well as artists – are qualified for an exhibition here (there’s no permanent collection).

The building itself is a revelation: having served as both a school and a jam factory in the past, it’s a cavernous multi-storey edifice. The first and second floors house a maze of rooms, partitioned chambers and stairwells, while the ground floor is home to the resident artists’ workshops (open to the public on weekends) and a crêperie. The alternation between large and intimate rooms allows for sweeping murals to be exhibited alongside smaller displays, an arrangement fully exploited by the collection on show when we visited: artist Jim Shaw’s staggering collection of didactic art, which takes in everything from giant evangelical posters to nursery rhyme anthologies. Check out the venue while you can – the building’s earmarked for demolition in January 2014, though precedent with some of the city’s squats suggests that this deadline could be extended yet.

Written by Alex Dudok de Wit


14 boulevard Raspail
Métro : Rue du Bac ou Sèvres-Babylone
Opening hours:
Wed-Sun noon-8pm
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