The winter months in Paris are full of magical shopping, eating and exploring opportunities in the run up to Christmas (and they continue into the new year, when everyone needs a bit of cheering up). But don't let them distract you from the season's glorious cultural offerings – the big rentrée exhibitions run right through, and new seasonal shows are opening up all the time. Keep track of them right here.
The best exhibitions in Paris for winter 2015-16
Where? Musée de l’Orangerie, Jardin Tuilleries, Paris 1st When? April 5-August 21 2017 Founder of the Bridgestone corporation, Shojiro Ishibashi, lends his collection to the Musée de l’Orangerie, featuring everything from impressionism to Western abstract art: Monet, Renoir and Caillebotte to Cezanne, Matisse, Picasso, Pollock and Shiraga.
In the Richelieu wing of the Petite Galerie du Louvre, ‘Corps en mouvement’ – curated by renowned choreographer, Benjamin Millepied – draws us into a whirlwind of marching statues, angels about to take flight and twirling ballerinas (notably the sinewy Loïe Fuller captured on film by Auguste Lumière). Alongside the Egyptian figurines and more contemporary works, are classic paintings capturing, for example, Apollo at full speed or the energy released by seemingly static Tanagra statues. Although most works were created in a time when 3D was impossible to even fathom, their sheer momentum is fascinating. Look long and hard to dissect the rustle of a veil, the pace of a stride, the lifted hair or the arm stretched heavenwards. Scrutinsing details of ‘Mercury flying’ or an Indian kathak dancer, allows you to rediscover these works in all their majesty. And even though some of the body’s contortions or tensions seem exaggerated – like in Géricault’s ‘The Epsom Derby’ – their beauty and sophistication shine through. This is not just a matter of contemplation, illustrative video footage teaches us how artists breathe life into inanimate objects. This thought-provoking, multi-faceted exhibition, if anything, ends too quickly. Fortunately, you can follow it with the Louvre’s Cour Marly, which, with its giant marble statues practically leaping off their pedestals, could almost be an extension of the exhibition. TRANSLATION: MEGAN CARNEGIE
Where? Musée du Louvre, Hall Napoleon When? February 22-May 22 2017 This is the cultural event to mark the start of the year. Focusing on the painter Johannes Vermeer the exhibition - a collaboration between Paris's Louvre, the National Gallery of Ireland and the National Gallery of Art in Washington - is set to shed light on the network and relations between Dutch painters during the period between 1650 and 1675.
Where? Grand Palais, 3 avenue du General Eisenhower, Paris 8th When? March 23-July 31 2017 For the 100th anniversary of the sculptor’s death, the Grand Palais presents a new view of this versatile artist, rounding up and uniting the collectors of his work (and that of his contemporaries) in this dedicated exhibition.
Eight years after landing on earth – on Parisian earth to be more precise – artist Space Invader’s works have a home to call their own. Whatever their colour, these little critters are instantly recognisable; mosaic creatures which look like they’ve jumped straight out of a vintage video game, landing on walls and in the streets in the late nineties. Just a few steps from the Louvre, the Musée en Herbe is celebrating this artist’s ability to instil a love of art in children and adults alike. These simple, colourful works will appeal to visitors from ages three to 103. The first room is nostalgia-themed, visitors play the role of video gamers, rediscovering the joys of Tetris, Pong or Pac-Man in the mini-arcade. The tables are made of screenshots of these timeless games and shoz the artist's sources of inspiration. Think Super-Mario, Asteroids and of course, Space Invader. The playful dimension of the Musée en Herbe is perfect for kids – expect them to remain fully occupied, while you take a big old trip down memory lane. There’s a giant map showing where all 3500 Space Invaders are hidden – look out for the crab in space and the Ninja Turtle on the side of a New York pizzeria. The last room is focused on the artist himself, including his studio and the masks he wears to maintain his anonymity. As usual the Musée en Herbe is far from game over.
Cy Twombly paints big, deconstructed flowers dripping with fiery colours like huge bouquets of blood and sun on white canvas. Be drawn into the reds, yellows and myriad crumpled petals. In some, like ‘Blooming’, the intention is clearly floral. In others, these colourful balls represent time, love, murder and – according to the artist – a contemporary retelling of ancient tales. The US-born Cy Twombly (1928-2011) lived in Rome from 1960 and the Pompidou Centre’s retrospective sets out to delineate a before and after of this date. ‘Before’ the painter’s works are dominated by whites and scattered with black graffiti. Difficult to identify with, these seem almost like the scribbles of a distracted schoolboy. ‘After’ is an explosion of flamboyant colours; following the example of Matisse and Derain, Twombly rediscovered his palette under the Mediterranean sun. He also began painting epic pictorial series, including the violent ‘Nine discourses on Commodus,’ the funereal ‘Coronation of Sesostris’ and ‘Achilles mourning the death of Patrocle.’ Neither the titles, nor the abstraction offers any clues as to what it all means, but we are invited to contemplate, to find sense in it all. The ‘Bassano’ series depicts a furious natural world of deep greens, flowing emeralds and clouds of grey, delivering a hypnotising energy. Their placement in a room with an expansive view over Paris offers a startling contrast between a structured city and this deluge of enraged colours. Rumour has
At the same time as Mois de la Photo du Grand Paris begins (the famed Paris-wide photography fair), don't forget another unmissable art event: fotofever. From April 20 to May 1, make your way through the city to find the 30-odd galleries promoting young talent. Since 2011, fotofever has had a mission not only to support rising stars but young collectors too, who can begin their collection for less than €5,000. And audiences even younger aren't left out from starting their artistic education: there are guided visits for parents to explore with children from 7-12 years' old.
Your child – and by this we are referring to a huge age bracket – as whether they are 4 or well into adolescence, they probably still do somersaults in their bedroom re-enacting Batman and ripping down curtains for Superman capes. In order to calm these rather mad antics, why not take them to "The Art of DC - The dawn of Superheroes" at the Ludique Art museum, where the entire team from DC comics is on show Hardcore fans will be pleased to know that they are nearly all there, with particular focus on some favourites. Starting with Superman, from one of the original cartoon covers, we go in chronological order through to action and detective comics. Accompanied throughout by original soundtracks of the DC films and series, one strolls from room to room and therefore universe-to-universe. After Superman, comes Gotham City’s great protector, Batman. By adopting black as his signature colour, it shows that virtue and courage must be practised in the dark. These socio-political insights make this exhibition more than just a simple display of 250 original and beautiful pieces of artwork. Let's not forget the greatly fantasised ‘Bat-Mobile’ and the gallery of super villains from The Joker to The Penguin, or Catwoman and Mr. Freeze. It's easy to become fixated in front of the television listening to the exciting interviews from DC creators such as cartoonist Jim Lee, and the director of the Batman trilogy, Christopher Nolan. The drawback is that Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn, tw
The glass shell exterior of the Fondation Louis Vuitton – a pretty magnificent work of art in itself – has recently received a full body makeover courtesy of veteran painter-sculptor Daniel Buren. A full rainbow now adorns the exhibition space, coloured panes alternating with the plain glass ‘sails’ of the building to particularly magical effect. The work is at its most stunning when the sun illuminates the structure, projecting muted tints of colour onto the terraces below (fluctuating, constantly, depending on the position of the sun). From a distance, the colours seem to merge together, but on closer inspection, the clear glass that separates them offers a glimpse through to the Bois de Boulogne, ensuring the building still retains some link with the outside world. And yet, despite its initial wow factor, the piece seems to play a purely decorative role – as if created by a skilled architect or designer, rather than the deeply subversive artist that most would recognise Buren to be. Art, some might contend, is supposed to interrogate existing structures, just as Buren’s controversial columns at the Palais-Royal do. But his latest project feels more like a reflection of what’s already there; a simple embellishment. Harsher critics might not even classify this as art at all. But maybe, deep down, that’s Buren’s aim here: simply, to provoke us to ask such questions.TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON
Where? Cinémathèque française, 51 rue de Bercy, Paris 12th When? March 29-July 31 2017 From Hayao Miyazaki to Steven Speilberg, cinema lovers of all ages will have the chance to reminisce on their childhood memories of the big screen through a blend of showings, talks, workshops and interactive tours.