Perhaps I’m still stuck in the early 20th c, but for my money, that was a far more exciting time than any current trends in art shown at the 40th year of the recent international art fair at the Grand Palais, and dotting the Tuileries Garden.
Where are the iconoclasts today? Almost everything at the recent fair looked trite or derivative or ugly or simply boring. With a few exceptions—one piece in the Tuilleries below—installation art leaves me cold. And big brown blobs of slapped on paint look well, you know. Gross would be the word most fitting.
With180 galleries from 25 countries, showing modern art, contemporary art and emerging trends, one would think a star would emerge during. Well, perhaps one did—Anish Kapur. But the galleries with the few pieces of Modern artists like Picasso, Matisse, Picabia, Debuffet, Albers, Robert Indiana and the like, were overshadowed by contemporary artists working on grand scale, showing gimmicky tech pieces, and proffering trendy messages. Though some pieces were amusing, most had the “so what” effect on me. Themes of big and bigger, reflection, texture, and repetition were clearly at play as my friend Adrian kept repeating as we walked through the aisles.
Frankly, the best part is really that the Fair was held in the Grand Palais, which is truly a grand and brilliant Beaux Arts design—originally built for the Universal Exhibition of 1900—and timeless, something very little of the “art” at the Fair can claim. The Palais’ glass vaulted dome is worth the price of admission. T13,500 m2 of floor space in the Nave, and the largest glass roof in Europe. The Grand Palais website claims the roof has 6000 tons of steel, more than the Eiffel Tower—a structure criticized when built as “truly awful.” So who’s to say what art is and isn’t?
I’ve culled the best of the best or at least some amusing pieces and spared you the awful. Well, okay, I’ve also thrown in a couple of quirky and weird. Still, it’s a wonder to see and contemplate.