Art Paris 2019


Grand Palais, Paris, 4 – 7 April 2019.

After an intense week of drawing shows and fairs in Paris – Salon du Dessin (27 March-1 April) at the Palais Brongniart, Drawing Now (28-31 March) at the Carreau du Temple, and DDESSIN (29-31 March) at the Atelier Richelieu – the French capital will host the 21st edition of Art Paris Art Fair at its magnificent Grand Palais. This year Art Paris has decided to highlight female artists on the one hand and the Latin-American scene on the other in a dense and exciting offering with 150 galleries (including, for the first time, galleries from Cameroon, Bulgaria, Argentina and Peru). It will host a record 46 solo shows to focus on a selection of emerging artists, as well as 14 new galleries in the “Promises” section, 25 projects by female artists and a rich exploration of the Latin American art scene.

Focus 1: A gaze at women artists

At a time when the art world in general is making a particular effort to enhance the visibility of women artists it is perhaps not surprising to find Art Paris adopting a primary focus entitled A gaze at women artists in France. This initiative has been organised by Camille Morineau, head of AWARE (Archives of Women Artists, Research and Exhibitions) who explains her ambition to “highlight the existence of a gender bias in the art market, where in fact discrimination is even more prevalent than in the other channels where an artist’s value is recognised”. Camille Morineau recalls that “According to statistics, the percentage of women artists in exhibitions at major institutions is between 15 % and 30 % and, in addition, they still do not have the favour of the market. In other words, not only are women artists under-recognised by museums compared to their male counterparts, they are undervalued on the art market to an even greater extent. However, the gap has been decreasing over the last few months, to the point that women artists are now apparently an investment opportunity according to the New York Times which headlined last September: “Want to Get Rich Buying Art? Invest in Women” (Mary Gabriel, The New York Times, 24 September 2018).

Morineau has decided to present the work of 25 female artists via participating galleries and has divided it into four themes: Abstraction, Feminist avant-garde, Images and Theatricality. Apart from this selection, a number of galleries have spontaneously adopted a more feminine offering, including the Véronique Smagghe gallery with work by Pierrette BLOCH (1928-2017), and SAGE Paris with work by Anne de Gelas.

The Fair also hosts an exhibition of some 30 works by 20 women artists from the collection of Catherine Petitgas. Art historian, patron, head of Fluxus Art Projects, Catherine Petitgas is a keen collector of Latin American artists (about 85% of her collection) since her discovery of Mexican artists like Francis Alys and Orozsco. Titled Amazones, the selection focuses on the feminine identity explored by South American artists including the Brazilians Lygia Clark, Beatriz Milhazes, Rivane Neueunschwander and Mira Schendel, the Colombians Milena Bonilla and Beatriz González and the Peruvians Sandra Gamarra and Ximena Garrido-Lecca. The Fair has also organised two round tables on the place of Latin American women artists on the French and international art scene at the Maison de l’Amérique latine (Friday 5 April) at 217 Blvd St-Germain.

Focus 2: exploration of the Latin American scene

Art Paris’s second focus this year is the Latin American Art Scene with no fewer than 58 artists from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Cuba, Mexico, Peru and Venezuela. Thirty galleries are participating in this initiative under the title Southern Star: an exploration of Latin America Art under the guidance of Valentina Locatelli, Latin American art specialist and independent curator. Locatelli has previously worked in Switzerland organising exhibitions like Mexico Mirrored in its Art: Prints, Independence, and Revolution (2013) and Without restraint: works by Mexican women artists from the Daros Latinamerica collection (2016). Last year, Locatelli was guest curator of Cybèle Varela: Tropicalismo Remixed for the Brasilea Foundation in Basel (2018) and Yuan Yuan: Alternative Realities at the Palazzo Terzi in Bergamo (2018), a project for the Edouard Malingue gallery (Hong Kong / Shanghai).

The focus is supported by a section devoted to video art from Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Argentina from 2000 to the present day. The video programme revolves around four major themes: the city and its pedestrians, the body in crisis, memory and oblivion and resilient nature.

Apart from these two major focuses – female artists and Latin American art – Art Paris will take us on a journey through Modern and Contemporary creation with 20th century abstract painting at Galerie Bert (Jean-Michel Atlan, Olivier Debré, Maurice Esteve, Hans Hartung, André Lanskoy amongst others), a superb selection of works by André MARFAING (1925-1987) at the Berthet-Aittouarès gallery, work by Christian Lhopital at the Michel Descours gallery, works by Tania MOURAUD (1942) at Claire Gastaud and (as mentioned) works by Pierrette Bloch at Véronique Smagghe… in short, a large selection to satisfy the 60,000 visitors expected over the four days.