PARIS – There’s never a dull moment on the art fair circuit these days, but this weekend is the second half of the perhaps busiest fortnight of the whole year for high-end dealers, collectors and assorted browsers who enjoy the scene.
A view of the FIAC 2012 international contemporary art fair at the Grand Palais in Paris.Photo by Kristy Sparow/Getty Images.
Some 180 galleries are right now gathered in the Beaux Arts embrace of Paris’s Grand Palais for FIAC, the fair that is France’s answer to Frieze…which ended less than a week ago in London. Lots of the world’s top galleries took the Chunnel route between the two European capitals.
“It’s a lot, I’ll admit,” Christine Messineo, the sales director for New York’s Bortolami Gallery, told me about this confluence of two of the year’s biggest fairs. “Some of our collectors have been at both, and made a little weekend of it between the two.”
By all accounts, FIAC, which runs until Sunday, has a slightly more relaxed vibe, despite healthy crowds milling through since the beginning. “Collectors are stopping to talk a little longer,” says Messineo. “And we curated a very different booth with different artists. It’s a smaller booth and we can be a little more subtle here.”
For FIAC, Bortolami is showing works by Michel François, a Belgian-born artist who works in Paris and has a local following for his photography and sculpture. Also on view is Tom Burr’s shiny aluminum, steel and glass sculpture – in the shape of a folding screen – which is priced at $90,000.
Aaron Young, Spoilers (GTO 1969), 2012. Courtesy of Bortolami.
Messineo said she was excited to introduce the work of U.S. artist Aaron Young to French fairgoers. His work Spoilers (GTO 1969), priced at $50,000, is a take on the decorative car accessory. The black painted chrome parts are stacked on top of each other, giving the impression of a stark minimalist sculpture. A very American subject, perhaps, but it certainly dovetails well with the high-octane vroom, vroom excitement the fair circuit is displaying this week.