It may be a bit belated, but I wanted to share some of my favorite works from La Force de L’Art, a state-sponsored exhibition championed by Jacques Chirac which ran at the Grand Palais in Paris for a little more than a month before closing Jun. 25. I saw the mega exhibition back in June, when it was still being criticized among the local art community for being too “official”. Made up of more than 300 works of art by 200 artists (and rather hastily thrown together in less than a year), the mega exhibition carried the stated aim of bringing back France’s relevance as a center of contemporary art. By dividing the exhibition into 15 sections or “points de vue” (one curated by our very own Philippe Vergne), the exhibition’s organizers attempted to put some method to the madness, though inevitably the pieces within sections could ultimately sustain more of a conversation than the exhibition as a whole. To see all my photos of the exhibition click here.
Unfortunately during my brief stay in Paris I didn’t manage to squeeze in a visit to another important art destination that’s been causing a stir lately. Namely, the Musée du Quai Branly, a newly christened museum of “primitive art” situated on the banks of the Seine. Also a pet project of Chirac, the museum (showing more than 300,000 works from Asia, Africa, Oceania and the Americas) has been accused of utterly failing to distinguish between the 21st-century multiculturalism it claims to aim for and good old fashioned high-minded colonialism. Setting the tone is the museum’s design, planned by Jean Nouvel, which hides the building within a deep forest of exotic flora. To read more see the NYT: Heart of Darkness in the City of Light.