Contemporary Art Week in Paris: A Recap

by Genevieve Sandifer
An alphabet of ParisDonald Urquhart’s An Alphabet of Paris (Arletty to Zizi) — Courtesy of

Last weekend marked the end of one of Paris’ most feverish cultural weeks during which 4 contemporary art fairs competed for the attention of collectors, journalists, galleries and museums who had come from near and far to take the contemporary art world’s pulse.

mariano-vargas-helen-786x1024Mariano Vargas, Helen — courtesy of

First comes the ubiquitous Fiac (Foire International d’Art Contemporain), held, appropriately, in the Louvre. With more than 200 galleries and 4000 works on show, the 80,750 visitors who trickled in over the course of the 5-day-long expo had more than enough to admire. There was initially some debate as to the relatively obscene entry rate (€28/person) – decided with apparent disregard for the general state of the economy and of the dire art market in particular. But with 23% more visitors this year, the appeal of one of the largest and most notable congregations of contemporary art and art-world professionals seems to have outweighed the elitist price tag.

SSHHDanielFirmanArtFactParisDaniel Firman, SSHH (Something Strange Happened Here)
— Courtesy of

There to add a little spice alongside the monolithic FIAC were 2-3 “off” fairs – most notably Slick (at CENTQUATRE in the 19e) and Cutlog, the newcomer at the Bourse du Commerce. Presented as younger, edgier, more provocative alternatives, they attracted collectors who have lost their lust for exotic and/or trend-based investments over the past year.

Allison Watt (at Sleek) - courtesy of Lunettes RougesAllison Watt (at Slick) – courtesy of Lunettes Rouges

Slick, held on the opposite side of Paris, attracted more critical acclaim this year than ever before. Dubbed favorite of the ‘offs’ by Le Monde’s contemporary art critic, Marc Lenot, the fair had the advantage of a 4000 sq. meter space, attention-grabbing concepts like the Slick Dessert conference (centered around the literal debate of ‘taste’ in contemporary art) and truly arresting works presented by over 62 galleries (that’s 4 more than last year!).

Tsuyoshi Hirano, BLOOMTsuyoshi Hirano, BLOOM – courtesy of

This year also saw the unlikely start up of Cutlog, the new fair initially strongly discouraged by many institutional forces. For Bruno Hadjadj, director of Cutlog, the project stemmed from a desire to present a credible alternative to a model that he considered structurally unfriendly to new and emerging artists and galleries. As a result, all of the galleries selected for Cutlog were required to either be new or emerging themselves, or to present work by new and emerging artists. The resulting atmosphere, in contrast to the froid glacial of the Fiac, was energizing and almost warm (unheard of in the French art world). With highly praised works by Adel Abidin, Mariano Vargas and Daniel Firman, among others, the fair built enough buzz among industry titans to guarantee (at least!) a second installment next year. Stay tuned!

twoTwo, Ward Yoshimoto — courtesy of

Written by Geneviève Sandifer for the HiP Paris Blog. Looking for a fabulous vacation rental in Paris, Provence, or Tuscany? Check out Haven in Paris.

Written By

Genevieve Sandifer

Genevieve was born in New York City and raised between London and Paris. Genevieve is part of the Haven in Paris team and is the editor of the Hip Paris blog. Unable to stay away from Paris for too long, she now splits her time between New York, Honolulu and Paris, where she keeps tabs on the Haven in Paris properties and service providers and scours the city for great bistros, cocktail bars and vintage stores. View Genevieve Sandifer's Website

2 comments on “Contemporary Art Week in Paris: A Recap

Geneviève - Hipparis

Hi Kasia,

Glad you liked! I didn’t have a chance to stop by the Fiac this year, but cutlog was great!

Thanks for the detailed list of art fairs! I’ve been to FIAC in the past but am very interested to attend the edgier Slick and Cutlog. Next year!!

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