7 Must-See Shows to Visit during Paris Art Week 2022

Cath Pound
Oct 18, 2022 8:12PM

Kehinde Wiley, installation view at Musée d’Orsay, 2022. Photo © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Sophie Crépy. Courtesy of Musée d’Orsay.

Paris has always been a siren call to art lovers, and the draw is especially strong this October. The inaugural Paris+ par Art Basel, which aims to be a staple in the city’s buzzing arts and culture scene, opens at the Grand Palais Éphémère on October 20th. Meanwhile, over on the Left Bank, Asia Now celebrates its eighth edition this year, continuing its exploration of the diverse art scenes from West to Southeast Asia at its new home in Monnaie de Paris.

If that were not enough to tempt you, outside the fairs is a dizzying array of vibrant, thought-provoking, and innovative museum and gallery shows. Here, we share seven exhibitions in Paris that are not to be missed.

Robert Longo, “The New Beyond”

Thaddaeus Ropac

Oct. 17–Dec. 23

Robert Longo
Study of After Manzoni; Achrome, 1958–59, 2022
Thaddaeus Ropac
Robert Longo
Study of After Lassnig; Figur mit blauem Hals, 1961, 2022
Thaddaeus Ropac

Taking its title from a 1952 essay by the French art critic Michel Tapié, Robert Longo’s current exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac features his latest series of monumental charcoal drawings. In “The New Beyond,” Longo explores the work of pioneering post-war artists such as Jean Dubuffet, Karel Appel, Asger Jorn, Willem de Kooning, Yves Klein, Joan Mitchell, and Arshile Gorky. Many of these figures lived and worked in Europe in the years immediately following World War II, and their radical and experimental work sent a shockwave through the art world in a period still reeling from the trauma and devastation of war. Transposing their works into charcoal drawings, Longo asks viewers to engage with them in a contemporary context.

Displayed without a museum’s protective glass and on a scale significantly larger than the original paintings, Longo’s charcoal renditions invite visitors to engage with the process of their creation. Audiences can study both the texture of the drawing, and Longo’s detailed recreation of the individual brushstrokes from the original painting. Presenting his series as a “historical construction,” he highlights the ways that these mid-20th-century works continue to resonate in our increasingly uncertain and ever-changing world.

Carol Bove, “Vase/Face”

David Zwirner

Oct. 17–Dec. 17

Carol Bove
Vase Face III / The Skeleton Juggling a Baby in the Central Tableau of Heaven, 2022
David Zwirner

Carol Bove’s first solo show in Paris since “Prix Lafayette 2009: Carol Bove, La traversée difficile” at the Palais de Tokyo in 2010, “Vase/Face” at David Zwirner features a series of new steel sculptures portraying a range of physical and perceptual dualities, embodying the artist’s ongoing mission to explore the possibilities of abstract sculpture. Highlights include a group of large-scale works made from crumpled stainless steel tubing and a circular glass disk. The matte surface of the sandblasted steel, combined with the disks, echoes the gallery’s glass and wrought-iron skylight, creating a reciprocal relationship between the works and the environment in which they are displayed.

Also on view is a three-dimensional reconstruction of Rubin’s vase, the famous early 19th-century optical illusion created by the Danish psychologist Edgar Rubin, in which an image can be read as either two opposing faces or a single vase. Bove uses this ambiguity in perception to highlight the show’s broader exploration of positive and negative space.

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori

Fondation Cartier

Jul. 3–Nov. 6

Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori, installation view at Fondation Cartier, 2022. Photo by Luc Boegly. Courtesy of Fondation Cartier.

Fondation Cartier is presenting the first major retrospective of Mirdidingkingathi Juwarnda Sally Gabori outside her home country. One of the greatest Australian artists of the 21st century, Sally Gabori didn’t start painting until the age of 80, when her vibrant and colorful works quickly established her as a unique talent unlike any of her contemporaries.

Although abstract in appearance, her work is inseparable from the history of the Kaiadilt people and their ongoing struggles against exile from their land, culture, and traditions. In her paintings, the Aboriginal artist often refers to specific locations on her native island and makes reference to stories that have a deep resonance for her, her family, and her people. With textured surfaces and bold color palettes, her oeuvre portrays places that evoke the political struggle for Kaiadilt land rights.

Prior to her death in 2015, Sally Gabori produced more than 2,000 paintings, ranging from small-scale works to canvases over six meters long. Her exhibition at Fondation Cartier brings together 30 of these monumental pieces and is organized in close collaboration with the artist’s family and the native Kaiadilt community, including noted specialists in Kaiadilt art and culture.

Kehinde Wiley

Musée d’Orsay

Sept. 13, 2022–Jan. 8, 2023

Kehinde Wiley, installation view at Musée d’Orsay, 2022. Photo © Musée d’Orsay, Dist. RMN-Grand Palais / Sophie Crépy. Courtesy of Musée d’Orsay.

An extension of Kehinde Wiley’s exhibition “An Archaeology of Silence” that was on view at the Giorgio Cini Foundation in Venice earlier this year, this small display at the Musée d’Orsay presents a trio of monumental works by one of the most acclaimed figurative painters working today. In these recent works, a painting and two sculptures, Wiley expands upon his “DOWN” series (2008–present), which features Black figures in moments of pain, defeat, and death, but also ecstasy. With compositions drawn from the European art historical canon, Wiley creates a contemporary form of monumental portraiture.

At the Musée d’Orsay, Wiley builds upon these core themes to present a powerful meditation on the deaths of young people of color, addressing, in the artist’s own words, “the specter of police violence and state control over the bodies of young Black and Brown people all over the world.” Borrowing freely from Western art traditions, Wiley’s series of portraits reveal a story of youth, resilience, and survival in the face of brutality.

Boris Mikhailov, “Ukraine Diary”

Maison Européenne de la Photographie

Sept. 7, 2022–Jan. 15, 2023

Boris Mikhailov, installation view of “Ukraine Diary” at Maison Européenne de la Photographie, 2022. Photo © Tadzio. Courtesy of Maison Européenne de la Photographie.

The ongoing conflict in his native Ukraine makes this show by Boris Mikhailov tragically timely and relevant. “Ukraine Diary” at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie is the most comprehensive retrospective of Mikhailov’s work to date and brings together more than 800 images from his 20 most important series, while incorporating his large-scale installations, projected images, artist’s books, and vintage prints.

One of the most influential Eastern European artists of the past 50 years, Mikhailov has focused on the tumultuous changes wrought in Ukraine, especially following the dissolution of the U.S.S.R., since the 1960s. Often blurring the boundaries between documentary and conceptual work, Mikhailov creates a dialogue between individual images and with text through his use of cropping, blurring, hand-coloring, superimpositions, and diptychs to introduce elements of irony, poetry, and nostalgia. Uncompromising, subversive, and often overtly political, Mikhailov’s images reflect the societal contradictions that existed during the Soviet era, but also the root of recent bloody conflicts and the failures of capitalism in Ukraine over the past 30 years.

Lívia Melzi, “Tupi or not Tupi”

Palais de Tokyo

Oct. 19–Nov. 27

Lívia Melzi, detail of scène VI, 2021. Photo by Lívia Melzi. Courtesy of the artist and Ricardo Fernandes Gallery, Saint-Ouen.

In “Tupi or not Tupi” at the Palais de Tokyo, Brazilian artist and researcher Lívia Melzi presents a visual investigation of Western depictions and displays of Tupinambá cloaks—originally used in rituals by the Tupi warrior tribes who inhabited parts of the Brazilian coast in the 16th century before they were decimated following contact with European explorers. Only eight of these ritual cloaks are known to exist today; they were taken to Europe in the 17th century and stored in the reserves of museums, including the Musée du quai Branly in Paris.

Using photography to document the exhibition of these sacred garments in institutions, Melzi addresses their presentations in a secular context—exploring issues of colonial appropriation of objects and the role that the production, conservation, and circulation of these images have on the writing of history. Emerging out of a research project begun in 2018, the exhibition incorporates photographs of Tupinambá cloaks, Melzi’s video work, and a series of tapestries that imbue Western characteristics into 16th-century depictions of Indigenous people as cannibalistic barbarians.

Alice Neel, “An Engaged Eye”

Centre Pompidou

Oct. 5, 2022–Jan. 16, 2023

Alice Neel, installation view of “An Engaged Eye” at Centre Pompidou, 2022. Photo © Centre Pompidou, Hélène MAURI. Courtesy of Centre Pompidou.

Largely overlooked during her lifetime, the American painter Alice Neel is now regarded as a unique and hugely important artist. Her retrospective at the Centre Pompidou, “An Engaged Eye,” highlights her political and social activism, particularly her involvement with the Communist party and the women’s rights movement. On display are some 75 of her paintings and drawings, including many of her portraits of marginalized figures, a number of whom were relegated to the fringes of society due to their skin color, sexual orientation, political beliefs, or simply their overt eccentricity.

An icon of militant feminism, Neel was a single mother who survived on welfare and lived in working-class, multi-ethnic neighborhoods alongside inhabitants she felt particularly close to, and painted with a stark intimacy and striking frontality. Divided into two themed parts—one conceived around notions of class, the other around the struggle for gender equality—the exhibition is organized as a chronological retrospective and is accompanied by film extracts about the artist, a range of unpublished documentary materials, and portraits of Neel by Robert Mapplethorpe and Jenny Holzer.

Cath Pound