Paris+ par Art Basel’s second edition, highlighting the city’s cultural vitality and its growing stature in the global art market, has concluded. With 154 premier galleries, including 61 in France, the event showcased the country’s thriving art scene. It featured a diverse public program in collaboration with renowned cultural institutions across six Parisian locations. This edition welcomed 15 new galleries from Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Held at the Grand Palais Éphémère from October 20 to 22, 2023, the fair drew 38,000 attendees. The next edition will take place at Art Basel’s permanent venue—the iconic (renovated) Grand Palais—from October 18 to 20, 2024.
Here are some highlights from this year’s Paris+ par Art Basel:
In Paris, the art scene is abuzz with a retrospective of Mark Rothko’s 115 works at Fondation Louis Vuitton, the first comprehensive exhibit in France since 1999, featuring loans from esteemed institutions worldwide. Simultaneously, Paris+ par Art Basel presented a notable Rothko piece, “Olive over Red” (1956), available for $40 million through Pace Gallery. Another valuable Rothko, “Untitled (Yellow, Orange, Yellow, Light Orange)” from 1955, is now at Christie’s, estimated at $45 million (after not being sold for $60 million at Art Basel in June).
Sarah Sze, born in Boston in 1969 and currently based in New York, is an acclaimed artist. She represented the United States at the 2013 Venice Biennale and received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2003. Her works are showcased in esteemed museums globally, including Tate in the UK, M+ Museum in Hong Kong and The Museum of Modern Art in New York. Sze’s art is also part of permanent collections at renowned institutions such as the Guggenheim Museum and the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. Notably, she has contributed public installations to locations like the High Line, Second Avenue Subway Station and LaGuardia Airport in New York.
Born in Chicago in 1977, Rashid Johnson is a prominent contemporary American artist. His diverse practice spans photography, sculpture, painting, drawing, film and installation. Johnson explores themes such as art history, cultural identities, personal narratives, literature, philosophy, materiality and critical history, using a wide range of materials imbued with symbolism and personal significance. In his Surrender Paintings, Rashid Johnson continues to delve into the Anxious Men motif. These works feature ghostly faces rendered in Titanium White oil paint on raw linen, evoking a sense of acceptance and reconciliation. Johnson deliberately restricts the palette to white on raw linen, creating an aura of redemption and acknowledgment. These new series offer a simplicity and quiet resonance that echo the collective experiences of recent months.
Ed Ruscha’s “Huge Conditions” (2007) is a standout among his works characterized by expansive landscapes overlaid with text. To achieve the photorealistic effect seen here, Ruscha initially applied a thin layer of paint directly to the canvas, refining details with precise acrylic brushwork. The distinctive font used for the text, named “Boy Scout Utility Modern” by the artist, features straight lines without curves. The typeface’s wide spacing and Ruscha’s deliberate lateral composition enhance its square, straight quality, making it a striking example of the iconic style he developed in the 1980s.
Meriem Bennani’s dynamic sculpture, “Windy” (2022), presented by Clearing and co-commissioned by High Line Art and Audemars Piguet Contemporary, was on display in Paris’s Jardin des Tuileries from October 17 to 22. This artwork was part of a featured piece in “La Cinquième Saison” (“The Fifth Season”), a public exhibition organized by Paris+ par Art Basel and the Musée du Louvre. Curated by Annabelle Ténèze, the incoming director of the Louvre Lens Museum, this exhibition was part of Paris+ par Art Basel’s 2023 public program, spanning six locations across the French capital.
A design luminary, Gaetano Pesce drew inspiration from his 1969 lamp design to craft a monumental sculpture in 2022. The recurring motif of the pierced double heart features prominently in his artwork. It encapsulates a core tenet of Pesce’s artistic philosophy, emphasizing contemporary engagement with the exuberance and romance found in objects and people. Placed at the garden entrance, the pierced hearts symbolize deep poetry and hint at life’s uncertainties and potential tragedies.
Pesce’s rich background includes studying architecture, founding the “N” Group in 1959, and pioneering innovative materials and shapes in design since 1962. His work graces over 30 prestigious national and international museum collections, from MoMA to the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Dylan Solomon Kraus, born in 1987, employs mythical symbols and geometric shapes in his artistic practice, offering a fresh perspective on pastoral nightscapes featuring celestial elements. He has held solo exhibitions at various prestigious venues, including Almine Rech in London, Peres Projects in Seoul and Milan, Mamoth in London and Entrance in New York. Additionally, Kraus has contributed to numerous group exhibitions in New York, such as Europa, Jack Hanley and Tramps, and was recently featured in a group exhibition at Hoffmann Maler Wallenberg in Nice.
As an official Paris+ par Art Basel Partner, Maison Guerlain presents from October 18 to November 13, 2023, “Les Fleurs du Mal,” an exhibition paying homage to Charles Baudelaire’s poetry. This tribute aligns with Maison Guerlain’s 170th-anniversary celebration of the “Bee Bottle,” created for Empress Eugénie, a poetry enthusiast. Baudelaire’s “Les Fleurs du Mal” once provoked fascination and outrage, leading to his trial, where the Empress intervened on his behalf.
Beyond history, Maison Guerlain explores the connection between nature and artistic creation, delving into the dualities of flowers. Each exhibit reflects on existence’s fragility, prompting contemplation of life, death and transcendence.
Curated by Hervé Mikaeloff, the 16th annual contemporary art exhibition features 26 artists worldwide. They interpret the theme using various artistic media, with some creating pieces exclusively for the event. For Mikaeloff, it was very important to bring different generations, genders and nationalities of artists together, to create contrast, vibrancy and curiosity. What’s beautiful is that all these artworks harmonize so perfectly despite their differences—or maybe because of their contrasts. What a beautiful purpose.
Maison Guerlain’s tradition as an art patron since 1828 continues, fostering creative dialogues with painters, designers, sculptors and photographers. Through “Bee Art by Guerlain,” they champion art’s role in addressing pressing issues, supporting ecological awareness and artistic engagement. This event offers a platform for emerging and established artists, contributing to the international contemporary art scene.
In addition, Lee Ufan Arles and Maison Guerlain have awarded the Art & Environment Prize to Djabril Boukhenaïssi for its inaugural edition. Chosen from 381 applicants and five finalists by a jury of esteemed cultural figures presided over by Lee Ufan, the winner will enjoy six to eight weeks of residency support followed by a solo exhibition in Lee Ufan Arles’ Espace MA in the summer of 2024. This museum, located in the city center, showcases Lee Ufan’s work while nurturing contemporary art and cultural interactions.
The prize offers visibility and career opportunities and opens doors for collaboration with Maison Guerlain. Boukhenaïssi’s art explores disappearance and fragility, weaving evanescent memories into personal and collective narratives. Following his studies at Beaux-Arts de Paris in Djamel Tatah’s studio, he established his studio for engraving and painting in the Normandy countryside, inspired by the starry night’s boundless muse for his artistic and philosophical musings.
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