The Paris Scene: Couture

From new boutiques to fresh eats, visitors to Paris during couture week have plenty of extracurricular pursuits calling between shows.

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Edward Hopper's 1939 painting "Ground Swell."

Photo By Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC

Yue Minjun's 2000 painting "Memory-2."

Photo By Yue Minjun, Fondation Cartier, Paris 2012


Paris museums are percolating.

The “Michael Werner Collection” is a tribute to the second-largest donor ever to Paris’ Museum of Modern Art. Consisting of some 900 pieces set in atypical juxtapositions, the show reunites the works of 40 artists, ranging from postwar painters such as Sigmar Polke to more conceptual artists like Joseph Beuys.

The museum also showcases “Art At War, France 1938-1947, from Picasso to Dubuffet,” an exhibit that highlights more than 100 artists’ works on loan from around the world. The oeuvres reflect and help define how artistic creation carried on despite the war but how art was forever changed by it. Fast forward to today and its urban codes. Les Arts Décoratifs explores the ways graphic designers and DJs interacted to create record sleeves, flyers and videos in the Nineties in its show called “French Touch. Graphisme/Video/Electro.”

Another reaction to post-Modernism is on display at the Musée de la Poste, which is hosting “Beyond Street Art,” which brings indoors the graffiti and stencil creations of 11 artists from four nations.

Two modern art masters are the subject of Paris shows. An exhibit at the Centre Pompidou focused on Salvador Dalí is organized both chronologically and thematically, featuring pieces in different media. It finishes in a labyrinth-shaped room evocative of the artist’s brain.

The Pinacothèque presents “Van Gogh, Dreaming of Japan,” the first exhibit in decades devoted exclusively to the artist. The paintings on display — mostly landscapes — provide a rare opportunity to examine the Japanese influence on his treatment of works focused on his beloved South of France. An exhibition featuring Hiroshige is being held simultaneously in the museum’s second building. Though long overlooked in France, this master of ukiyo-e, or Japanese woodblock prints, was an obsession of Van Gogh.

The Grand Palais has extended its retrospective on Edward Hopper after it attracted more than a half-a-million visitors already. Here, the American painter’s career is investigated, from his formative years, which included a few trips to Paris, to the establishment of his emblematic realistic style. An entire room focuses on Hopper’s etchings.

Photography’s in focus at the Bourdelle museum, which has put on a show called “Dans l’atelier du photographe.” This charts the medium’s history since its founding in the middle of the 19th century and examines its basic techniques. The exhibit is divided into 14 sections, each devoted to a particular photographic process.

For those feeling blue from gray January days, the Fondation Cartier’s exhibit can bring on a smile. Exclusive to Europe is the retrospective of Chinese artist Yue Minjun, which documents cynic realism through the artist’s paintings of ecstatically laughing figures and ironic parodies of classic masters’ works. Also on display are about 100 of his drawings that have never before been shown publicly.

Something fishy is going on at the Gagosian Gallery. As an ode to his leitmotiv, Frank Gehry created a spectacular collection of lamps, varying in scale, all in fish form. The Canadian-American architect transformed a simple accident into an artistic creation: While working on another project, he shattered a piece of plastic laminate and gleaned inspiration from the shards, which reminded him of scales.

“The Michael Werner Collection,” through March 3. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-53-67-40-00. Open Tues.-Wed., Fri.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

“Art in War, France 1938-1947,” through Feb. 17. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-53-67-40-00. Open Tues.-Wed., Fri.-Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs. 10 a.m.-10 p.m.

“French Touch. Graphisme/Video/Electro,” through March 31. Musée des Arts Décoratifs, 107 Rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-44-55-57-50. Open Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Thurs. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
“Beyond Street Art,” through March 30. Musée de la Poste, 34 Boulevard de Vaugirard, 75015 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-42-79-24-24. Open Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

“Dalí,” through March 25. Centre Pompidou, Place Georges Pompidou, 75004 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-44-78-12-33. Open Wed.-Mon. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sun. 9:30 a.m.-11 p.m.

“Van Gogh, Dreaming of Japan,” through March 17. Pinacothèque de Paris, Pinacothèque 2, 8 Rue Vignon, 75009 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-44-56-88-80. Open Mon.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Wed. and Fri. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

“Hiroshige, the Art of Travel,” through March 17. Pinacothèque de Paris, Pinacothèque 1, 28 Place de la Madeleine, 75009 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-42-68-02-01. Open Mon.-Sun. 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Wed. and Fri. 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

“Edward Hopper,” through Feb. 3. Grand Palais, Galeries Nationales, 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, 75008 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-40-13-48-00. Open Wed.-Fri. 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Sat. and Sun. 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Mon. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. (From Jan. 26-31 open 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Open from Feb. 1 at 9 a.m. to Feb. 3 at 11 p.m.)

“Dans l’atelier du photographe,” through Feb. 10. Musée Bourdelle, 16 Rue Antoine Bourdelle, 75015 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-49-54-73-73. Open Tues. to Sun. 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

“Yue Minjun, the Shadow of Giggles,” through March 17. Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, 261 Boulevard Raspail, 75014 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-42-18-56-50. Open Tues. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Wed.-Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

“Frank Gehry: Fish Lamps,” through March 9. Gagosian Gallery, 4 Rue de Ponthieu, 75008 Paris. Tel.: +33-1-75-00-05-92. Open Tues.-Sat. 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

– A.A.G.


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