Since the mid-19th Century, when the Impressionists reigned supreme and dominated the Salon and the Exposition Universelle of 1889, hosted at Gustave Eiffel’s radical 300-meter-high Tour Eiffel, Paris has been a magnet for artists, poets, writers and musicians. It fell out of favour when other cultural centres, such as New York, Berlin and London, rose to prominence. Still, in recent years, the City of Light has become one of the most important contemporary art centres, particularly with the launch of Paris+ by Art Basel in 2022 and the continued popularity of Paris Photo.
Iconic museums of the Rue de Rivoli and left bank, such as the Louvre, Musée de l’Orangerie, Musée des Arts Décoratifs, and Musée d’Orsay, continue to enjoy timeless popularity. At the same time, younger contenders to the throne include the 10-year-old Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Bois de Bologne, which is currently hosting a vast retrospective of Mark Rothko, and a host of exciting blue-chip and emerging contemporary galleries in the Marais.
Some recommendations for exhibitions to see in Paris this winter include:
The prestigious Louvre Museum is hosting a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition, ‘From Naples to Paris,’ featuring an epic display of more than 70 Italian Renaissance masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum in Naples. This makes it the largest exhibition in the world dedicated to the Italian Renaissance. The exhibit is spread across three locations – the grand gallery, chapel, and clock room. Combined with the hundreds of artworks already present in the Louvre’s collections, it offers visitors a concentrated display of the best Italian paintings from the 15th to the 17th Century.
Until 8th January 2024: https://www.louvre.fr/en/what-s-on/exhibitions/naples-in-paris
‘Iris van Herpen. Sculpting the Senses’ at the Musée des Arts décoratifs pays tribute to one of the most forward-thinking fashion designers. Dutch haute couture designer van Herpen is a pioneer in the use of new technologies, in particular, eco-friendly textile techniques. Ranging from micro to macro, the exhibition questions the place of the body in space, its relationship to clothing and its environment, and its future in a rapidly changing world. The immersive exhibition features haute fashion, contemporary art, sculpture, film, and installations. It is curated by Cloé Pitiot and assistant curator Louise Curtis, with scenography by Studio Nathalie Crinière.
More than 100 of Iris van Herpen’s haute couture pieces are on display, juxtaposed with art from her collection by artists including Philip Beesley, the Collectif Mé, Wim Delvoye, Kate MccGwire, Damien Jalet, Kohei Nawa, Casey Curran, Rogan Brown, Jacques Rougerie and design pieces by Neri Oxman, Ren Ri, Ferruccio Laviani, and Tomáš Libertíny. Also exhibited are items from the spheres of the natural sciences, such as skeletons and fossils, which inspire and inform Van Herpen’s designs.
Until 28th April 2024: https://madparis.fr/Iris-van-Herpen-Sculpting-the-Senses
Anna Weyant: The Guitar Man at Gagosian
‘The Guitar Man’ is New York–based Anna Weyant’s European solo debut and follows her first presentation with the gallery, ‘Baby, It Ain’t Over Till It’s Over’ at Gagosian New York in 2022. Named after a song by Los Angeles soft rock band Bread, ‘The Guitar Man’ features figurative and still-life paintings inspired by American pop culture classics such as ‘The Addams Family’ and ‘Looney Tunes’ and have a haunting undercurrent. Weyant’s paintings at Gagosian Paris build on the motif of the dollhouse that she has been exploring since her earliest work, and she constructed a jewel-box-sized replica of the Bates family house from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 thriller ‘Psycho’ which evokes some of the haunting childhood memories that linger into adulthood.
Until 22nd December, 2023: https://gagosian.com/locations/paris-rue-de-castiglione/
Anthony Gormley’ Critical Mass’ at Musée Rodin
Antony Gormley has explored the relationship of the human body to space through a critical engagement with his own body for more than four decades and, more recently, examined the body’s relationship to the built environment. ‘Critical Mass’, Gormley’s solo exhibition at the Rodin Museum, takes over the temporary exhibition space, gardens, Marble Galerie and Hotel Biron, with important Gormley sculptures entering into a dialogue with Rodin’s sculptures. A highlight of the exhibition is ‘Critical Mass II’ (1995), an installation featuring sixty life-sized sculptures that punctuate the museum’s temporary exhibition space and garden.
Until 3rd January 2024: https://www.musee-rodin.fr/en/musee/expositions/antony-gormley
Acclaimed French artist Sophie Calle has taken over all four floors of the Picasso Museum with her solo exhibition “À toi de faire, ma mignonne” ( (It’s up to you, my darling). The exhibition responds to Picasso’s work as part of the events to mark the 50th anniversary of his death. It also reflects Calle’s life and artistic accomplishments, with mortality and death a prominent theme. A highlight is an installation created by Calle by curating artworks she has collected over the years, including drawings, soft toys, photos and texts. She describes it as ‘my Guernica’, and the 27.0824m2 artwork covers the same surface as Picasso’s original.
Until 7th March, 2024: https://www.museepicassoparis.fr/en/toi-de-faire-ma-mignonne
Lisa Brice’ Lives and Works’ at Thaddaeus Ropac
Thaddaeus Ropac is presenting a new body of work by Lisa Brice that subverts the old-fashioned trope of the female nude depicted through male artists’ male gaze and continues to challenge traditional representations of women in art history. Brice reframes the female nude with a female gaze and reverses the power dynamics inherent in such images.
Brice is inspired by paintings made in Paris from the mid to late 19th to early 20th centuries, including Gustave Courbet’s famed L’origine du monde (1866), which can be found in the collection of the Musée d’Orsay. She reimagines art historical figures and scenes while reclaiming them from a male gaze that effectively disempowers women as passive objects of desire and refracting them through ideas of self-representation and empowerment.
Until 23rd December 2023: https://ropac.net/online-exhibitions/134-lisa-brice-lives-and-works/
Juergen Teller ‘The Myth’ at Suzanne Tarasieve
The exhibition features 92 Juergen Teller diptychs presented as a continuous sequence, which he photographed whilst staying at the Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni on the shores of Lake Como in Italy. Teller injected the images with an irreverent sense of humour by playing on the widespread belief that raising one’s legs in the air increases the chances of getting pregnant, and he reenacted this myth with his partner Dovile Drizyte in each of the hotel’s 92 unique rooms. This lighthearted and tender series has been a good luck charm for the couple, as evidenced by the striking portrait of their daughter, Iggy.
Until 20th January 2024: https://www.suzanne-tarasieve.com/exhibition/juergen-teller-4/?lang=fr
Julie Doucet’ Art Scrap Craft’ at Anne Barraut gallery
Galerie Anne Perrault presents the first solo show of Julie Doucet in Paris, which features a curated selection of drawings and collages, emblematic comic strips and animated films.
The exhibition narrates the story of Barraut’s drawings and texts, which appeared from cutouts and collages and became poetry, first in fanzines and later in the cult publication ‘Dirty Plotte’ in the late 1980s, leading to the Grand Prix of the Angoulême Festival in 2022, awarded twenty years after she had given up the world of comics.
Julie Doucet’s drawings and texts relate to Linda Nochlin’s answers in her article “Why haven’t any great female artists? “. When she started working, artistic circles were so male-dominated that the rare women present did not dare call themselves feminists. They had to find strategies. Talking about sex and Tampax was one of them.
Until 20th January 2024: https://galerieannebarrault.com/en/artiste/julie-doucet/
Carolyn Drake’ MEN UNTITLED’ and Ruth Orkin’ Bike Trip, USA, 1939′ at Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson
Winner of the 2021 HCB Award, Carolyn Drake presents MEN UNTITLED at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, a new series of photographs exploring her relationship to myths of masculinity in American culture. Mixing symbols of virility, self‑portraits, and pictures of men “laid bare,” MEN united functions as both introspection and documentary.
For the first time in France, the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson presents a solo exhibition on American photographer Ruth Orkin (1921-1985), internationally known for her photograph American Girl in Italy (1951), an iconic image of women travelling alone. While still a teenager, Orkin undertook a pioneering journey across the United States from West to East.
In 1939, at 17 and still living with her parents in Los Angeles, Ruth Orkin crossed the United States solo, from the Pacific to the Atlantic. She travelled less by bicycle than with a bicycle, crossing long distances by car, train, and bus, using her bicycle to explore big cities: Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco. Over four months, she took 350 photographs. The exhibition brings together around forty photographs and archival documents, including Ruth Orkin’s manuscript on this adventure.
Both exhibitions are at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson until 14th January 2024
Mick Jagger at La Galerie de l’instant
For lovers of rock ‘n’roll glamour and 70’s glamour, step into the compact and bijou Galerie de l’instant on rue de Poitou, which exhibits some of the most iconic modern and contemporary photographers. An exhibition commemorating the 80th birthday of timeless rocker Mick Jagger features photographs by Norman Parkinson, Terry O’Neill, Gered Mankowitz and Dominique Tarlé that capture the glamour and edginess of the 70s.