Home Magazine MeetMe#34 | Art Paris 2020

On Kooness’ recent article about David Zwirner, Elisabetta Rastelli wrote that we are still “wondering how large scale art events will evolve after a pandemic” and that “Today the focus is on big art fairs, the first to suffer from the containment measures and the ones engaged in finding new ways to preserve their collectors. Many fairs have exploited the new possibilities of the online platforms, but what changes are expected for this important gear of the market and what might be the contraindications?”.

After the new that Art Basel was postponed to September, and other art fairs and all private and public cultural institutions are closed, we decided to continue to serve and inform our public through our Magazine and the work of our galleries on Kooness. In these challenging times, we believe that art can keep us live and connected. As on last February we had the chance to interview Guillaume Piens, director of Art Paris, we decided to publish the original interview, and, during these next days, to add his follow up about today’s situation, to have a comparison.

A conversation with Guillaume Piens, director of Art Paris. 


Miguel Branco, (Untitled) Diana. Courtesy Art Paris


In the last 8 years since 2012, you have been working, year by year, on continuously improving the fair. Last year, for instance, you welcomed new galleries – some of which decided to participate in both Art Paris and FIAC, other preferring exclusively Art Paris – representing new exciting countries, like Cameroon or Mexico. What can we expect this year in terms of “new”?

This year, new participants make up 35% of the 2020 selection, which is marked by the arrival of Parisian galleries such as Jeanne Bucher Jaeger, Vincent Sator and Karsten Greve (which has teamed up with Caroline Smulders), in addition to around a dozen galleries from the rest of France including Double V (Marseille) and Provost-Hacker (Lille). From an international standpoint, five new countries will be making an appearance: Bulgaria, Denmark, Greece, the Ivory Coast, and Turkey. Bolstering the contingent from the Iberian Peninsula are 12 galleries from Barcelona, Madrid, Lisbon and Porto. The Asian scene is well represented, notably with six galleries from Korea including 313 Art Project, Simon Gallery, H.A.N. Gallery, Mo J Gallery and Soso Gallery. Works by African artists are on show in the General Sector at Artco (Aachen /Le Cap) and Niki Cryan (Lagos), as well as in Promesses with 31 Project, Véronique Rieffel and Septieme Gallery, all of which are participating for the first time. The Middle Eastern scene will be the subject of a special focus at Galerie Brigitte Schenk, which will be presenting works by Halim al Karim (Iraq), Tarek Al Ghoussein (Kuweit) and Abdulnasser Gharem (Saudi Arabia). 


Michail Michailov, I am everywhere, 2019. Courtesy Art Paris


Ian Davenport, Lilac 2019,  Arylic on aluminium mounted onto alu…um. Courtesy Art Paris


How many countries will participate to this 2020 edition?

20 countries are represented at Art Paris 2020.

Does French art still hold a leading role in the fair?

Yes, it is an essential part of the fair’s identity to support the French art scene and show work that you would not see anywhere else. 

What challenges do you expect?

The 2020 edition of Art Paris will be the last to be held at the Grand Palais before it closes its doors for four years. In April 2021, Art Paris will be the first fair to move into the ephemeral Grand Palais on the Champ de Mars, a magnificent temporary structure fit for the 21st century designed by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte, to host events in Paris until the Grand Palais reopens for the Olympic Games in 2024. As a result, the real challenge is making this change of location a success in 2021 as well as reinventing the fair, notably by taking into account this location change.

Do you believe that Art Paris has become a crucial point for emerging art in France? 

Yes, I believe so – thanks in part to the overview of the French scene entrusted to a different guest curator each year.  

Cover image: Guillaume Piens, Art Paris director portrait.


Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.


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