Following the art feast offered up in London during Frieze week, the action crosses the Channel to the French capital, where the ambitious FIAC art fair opens for its 37th year. Catering to all tastes, Paris offers a wide and rich program of events, from a blockbuster Impressionist exhibition to a contemporary Japanese take on the Château de Versailles.
Here MutualArt's top 10:
1) FIAC 2010: Located in the heart of Paris in some of the city's most prestigious and emblematic sites - the Grand Palais, the Cour Carrée du Louvre, and the Tuilleries Gardens - from October 21st to the 24th - this long-established art fair presents a wide panorama of modern, contemporary and emerging art.
FIAC 2010 brings together the work of a staggering 3,500 artists represented by 195 art galleries from 24 countries. In addition to the veteran European participants such as Germany, Italy and Belgium, this year welcomes art from Japan, Mexico, Korea and Ireland, which will be represented for the first time.
Watch out for the bold solo show of Algerian-born of Adel Abdessemed's at David Zwirner's space: among the highlights are Taxidermia, a cube (1.5 x 1.5 x 1.5 meters) composed of taxidermied animals intertwined using steel and wire, and Silent Warriors, a wall-mounted installation of over a hundred masks, each uniquely colored and patterned to resemble those used in Mexican wrestling, or lucha libre. Also, don't miss exhibits at prestigious international galleries such as Francesca Minini, Galerie Schleicher+Lange, and Sprüth Magers and Gagosian Gallery, which has just opened a new branch in the French capital to coincide with the fair.
For the fifth consecutive year, in collaboration with the Musée du Louvre, visitors will also be able to explore outdoor projects in the Jardin des Tuileries. The fair has brought together over 27 projects, including sculptures, installations and creations, on display throughout the garden's fountains, basins, lawns, alleys and groves.
The winner of the 2010 Marcel Duchamp Prize will also be announced at the fair. The nominees are Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, Cyprien Gaillard, Camille Henrot and Anne-Marie Schneider
The art fair is accompanied by a varied cultural programme, which includes daily short film screenings at the Cinéphèmère in the Tuilleries Gardens as well as a vast menu of theatre and music performances.
2) Claude Monet, Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais: Just next door to FIAC is the largest-ever exhibition dedicated to the French Impressionist master (1840-1926). Richard Thompson, the exhibition co-curator, stresses that with almost 200 works, this is the largest single collection of Monets the world has ever seen. The exhibition spans 60 years of painting, from the realism of the 1860s to the early 20th century impressionism. To see the eight giant paintings from Monet's famed water lily series - completed shortly before the artist's death - simply cross the Place de la Concorde to the Orangie Museum.
3) Show Off: Set in a luminous, elegant tent a few steps away from the Grand Palais and the banks of the Champs Elysees, this curiously named art fair showcases a wide selection of paintings, photographs, drawings, sculptures, videos, and installations. Now in its fifth edition, Show Off also includes an emerging Solo Show section for young galleries.
4) Basquiat, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris: Marking the 50th anniversary of Jean-Michel Basquiat's birth, this is the first exhibition of this scale in France devoted to the work of the rebellious American artist. Comprising of a hundred major pieces - paintings, drawings, objects - from numerous museums and private collections in the United States and Europe, this major retrospective offers a chronological overview of Basquiat's career and the chance to assess his importance to art history since the 1980s.
5) Murakami Versailles, Château de Versailles: in the words of curator Laurent le Bon, the exhibition is "a walk, a trail through the landscape area of Versailles. For his first major retrospective in France, in the 15 rooms of the Château and in the gardens, the artist presents 22 major works, of which 11 have been created exclusively for this exhibition. The allegories and myths of Versailles thus carry on a dialogue with the dreamlike creatures of Takashi Murakami, sometimes inspired by traditional Japanese art."
6) Counterpoint, Contemporary Russian Art -- From the Icon to the Avant-Garde by way of the Museum, Musée du Louvre: conceived as part of the "Year of Russia" celebrations, this exhibition draws a portrait of contemporary Russian art by showcasing the work of around fifteen artists from a variety of generations and movements. The subterranean space of the Louvre Medieval galleries houses works by artists such as Alexeï Kallima, Valery Koshlyakov and Vadim Zakharov, as well as Yuri Albert, who invites visitors to tour his collections blindfolded.
7) Nancy Spero, Centre Pompidou: Nancy Spero (1926-2009) was an actress and activist who stood alongside Louise Bourgeois as a key figure of 20th century American art. For her "the brush was mightier than the pen" in her fierce opposition to America's involvement in the Vietnam war in the 1960s, as well as her staunch defense of the "second sex". Bringing together sixty drawings, this is the first retrospective dedicated to Spero's work in France. Also in homage to the late American artist is 'Nancy Spero: Woman in Motion' at Galerie Lelong.
8) Chic Art Fair: Located in the Cité de la Mode et du Design and intended to coincide with Fiac, Chic Art fair comprises fifty contemporary art galleries, the up-and-coming in addition to more established and historic galleries, as well as a section for innovative contemporary design. Perhaps designed to challenge the increasingly health-conscious 21st century public is "Docks in the Sky", a smoking area installation that offers a spectacular podium for smokers, with a sound performance by Mildred Simantov and Nils Thornander.
9) Cy Twombly: Camino Real, Gagosian Gallery: Five new paintings by the American artist are showcased to inaugurate Gagosian's Paris gallery on October 20th. Each illustrates the exuberant painterly gestures and highly-keyed palette typical of his recent paintings. 'Camino Real' refers to the play by Tennessee Williams, first performed in New York in 1953. The cast of characters, which includes Don Quixote, Lord Byron and Casanova, represents a romantic vision of life, complete with "old knights, dreamers and troublemakers".
10) Moebius-Transforme, Fondation Cartier pour l'art contemporain: Moebius is the pseudonym of Jean Giraud, a brilliant cartoonist and the visionary inventor of extraordinary forms. According to the artist's wishes, his first major Paris exhibition explores the theme of metamorphosis, a leitmotif that runs throughout his comics, drawings, and film projects. In relation to this theme, the exhibition also presents 'La Planète encore', the first 3-D animated film directed by the artist, along with the stories from the original comic boards.
Written by MutualArt.com staff