1) Henri-Cartier Bresson – Centre Pompidou until june Henri-Cartier Bresson ( 1908-2004), the french photographer who founded renowned Magnum Agency in 1947-with Capa, Rodger and Chim- was nicknamed « The eye of the century » as he witnessed the greatest moments of world history, from Spanish war in 1936 to the biggest changes linked to decolonisation and cold war. He was one of the last man who spoke to Gandhi few hours before his assassination, the first western photographer in 1954 allowed to cross the iron curtain in Russia after the death of Staline.
But before giving credentials to photo-journalism, he was originally trained as a painter in Andhré Lhote workshop notably, and was stronlgly influenced by surrealism and modernism, as we can see in his first images.
This retrospective in Pompidou Center is a real event , the first to be organized since his death 10 years ago, with a selection of 500 photographs, drawings, paintings, documents, films, which offers to the visitor an extraordinary and complete access to his work, revealing its depth and variety, without forgetting iconic images capturing the famous « decisive moment » like Giacometti walking in Maeght Gallery, becoming himself The Man who walks.
© Henri Cartier-Bresson / Magnum Photos, courtesy Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson.
Centre Pompidou-Place Georges-Pompidou 75004 Paris- http://www.centrepompidou.fr
from 11am to 11pm (Closed on Tuesday) – 13 euros full price / 11 euros reduced rate
2) Artaud-Van Gogh – Orsay Museum until july 6th
The choice of Orsay Museum is captivating since it’s more than a Van Gogh exhibition, which is itself an avent ! We have on display 40 paintings, a selection of outstanding drawings, some letters to his brother Theo, but not only : the show is completed by Artaud works and pictures. Actually Orsay exhibition is based on a book written by the french dramatist and writer in 1947, called « The Man suicided by the Society », one of the most beautiful, poignant and moving text about Vincent Van Gogh’s art.
In 1947 , few days before a retrospective of the dutch painter organized at Orangerie Museum, Artaud was asked by a an art dealer, Pierre Loeb, to write a text about Van Gogh, as he thought an author who spent 9 years in a psychiatric asylum was the best placed to understand the work of a painter considered mad by the society…
The result was dark and brilliant at the same time, exactly like Van Gogh’s paintings.
This exhibition is the same level, I loved it !
But don’t be afraid by the serious side of the exhibition, if you think french poets have a twisted mind andfrighten you, just focus on Vincent’s works and the pleasure of vivid colours and dense textures, you won’t be disapointed.
Vincent Van Gogh, Portrait de l’artiste, Paris, automne 1887 (© RMN-Grand Palais (Musée d’Orsay) / Gérard Blot) + Man Ray, Antonin Artaud, 1926 (© Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Jacques Faujour © Man Ray Trust / ADAGP, Paris 2014))
Musée d’Orsay- 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, 75007 Paris- 00 33 1 40 49 48 14- http://www.musee-orsay.fr
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm – from 11 euros full price/ 8,50 euros reduced rate
3) Paris 1900 Petit Palais until august 17th
Who never dreamed about going back through time and live in 1900 Paris, the well-named Belle Epoque ? When Paris was considered to be the Capital of Art, pleasures and entertainments with its many museums, galleries, cabarets, theatres,restaurants and very special houses with closed curtains…? In 1900 Paris was definitly the Capital of capitals and the acclaimed 1900 World Fair attracted this year 51 millions people to France culturel center !
The first metro line crossing Paris from West to East was built, a new impressive bridge with gilded satues sparkling, spanning proudly above river Seine, linking Champs Elysées to Invalides was inaugurated and celebrated the franco-russian friendship (Alexander IIIrd bridge), a new train station for electric trains was achieved (the future Orsay museum), and last but not least, buildings to house temporary exhibitions devoted to the best of french art through age were designed at the corner of Champs Elysées and still exist today : Grand Palais and Petit Palais, the latter used today for this brilliant exhibition called « Paris 1900 : the spectacle city ».
That’s why you’ll be totally immerged in these fabulous times of creativity and happiness thanks to a rich documentation : vintage pictures , posters and movies (Melies- The Lumiere brothers), preparatory sketches for the world fair, dresses and accessories evoking the legendary « parisienne » (parisian woman) and many art works ( paintings, sculptures, decorative art…).
A large part is devoted to Art Nouveau Style of course with the greatest signatures : Guimard, Lalique, Prouvé, Gallé, Grasset, Mucha…The artists of the turn of the century are well represented too: Rodin, Toulouse-Lautrec, the Nabis…You will discover other names, less familiar today, but expert in images of 1900 Paris : Beraud, Gervex…
600 works on total to give a taste of Paris in 1900, when Paris was giving pleasure endlessly !
Petit Palais, Musée des Beaux-Arts de la Ville de Paris-
Avenue Winston Churchill
75008 Paris –
00 33 1 53 43 40 00- www.petitpalais.paris.fr
Open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm. Late opening until 8pm on Thursdays for temporary exhibitions-11 euros full price/ 8 euros reduced rate
4) Bill Viola- Grand Palais until july 21st
Strongly influenced by art history-according to him Giotto’s frescoes in Assisi basilica is the unequalled summit of art installation- Goya, Bosch, Vermeer, haunt his work, lyrical and minimalist in the same time, but always accessible to a large audience.It would be reductive-even if true- to introduce Bill Viola as the greatest representative of video art in the world today, as limiting an artist about his predilection medium would enclosed him in a category. Viola is an artist first, who seeks to express universal ideas and emotions, based on major metaphysical questions (Who am I ? Where am I ? Where am I going ? ), through moving images thanks to a technique , as he likes to say, which appears when he was born in 1951 : video images.
Known all around the world since the 90’s-Viola had already great retrospectives organized in NY, LA, Tokyo, Berlin, it was time Paris devoted him an exhibition worthy of his name.
Done here in Grand Palais exhibition’s rooms where you will be invited to a mesmerizing journey, and will live a real experience.
Bill Viola, Ascension, 2000, installation vidéo sonore, 10 minutes, performeur : Josh Coxx, Bill Viola Studio, Long Beach, Etats-Unis, Photo Kira Perov
Grand Palais- 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris 01 44 13 17 17- http://www.grandpalais.fr
from 13 euros full price/ 9 euros reduced rate
From 10 am to 10pm ( on Sunday and Monday until 8pm)- Closed on tuesday
5) Once upon a time, the Orient Express- IMA (Institut du Monde Arabe- Arabic World Institut) until august 31st
An invitation to travel without leaving Paris, that’s the promise of this splendid and unexpected exhibition !
What a unbelievable challenge : the real legendary Orient Express train, with 7 original cars, conceived in 1883 as a 5 star palace on tracks by Georges Nagelmakers, displayed on the square of Arabic World Institute (in french Institut du Monde arabe. The IMA (initials in french of this cultural center) is an outstanding contemporary building inaugurated in 1987 and designed by Pritzker Prize’s laureate french architect Jean Nouvel , a mix of high tech structure and abstract oriental motifs, facing Notre-Dame, built in 1163.
The exhibition is a pure delight and great fun ! First you start with the visit of the coaches and expect to meet Mata Hari, Agatha Christie, James Bond…all the mythical characters, real or fictional, linked with this exceptional train, symbole of exquisite luxury (finest panelling- glasses in the bar designed by Lalique) and exoticism ( the train went from London to Istambul via Paris and Venice). For each car, an original display with documents, accessories, clothes, evoke the famous and privileged travellers that made us dream.
From time to time, you can hear the sound of the train whistling like ready to leave with the noise of wheels on tracks…
Then, second part, inside the Arabic World Institute building, with more documents, posters, decoratives art, paintings…all linked with the Orient Express and its golden age in the beginning of 20th century, and shown in huge travel trunks transformed into show windows.
What a fantastic journey into time !
And the cherry on the cake : you can book online, during the exhibition, for a dinner inside one of these coaches ! The menu was created by famous french chef Yannick Alleno.
(120 euros without wines/ 160 euros with wines)
1 rue des Fossés Saint Bernard-Place Mohammed V- 75005 Paris • T 00 33 1 40 51 38 38 www.imarabe.org – closed on Monday- check opening time on website
10,50 euros full price/ 8,50 euros reduced rate