Paris calling. The art world responds. Is “la Ville Lumière” the new European capital of contemporary art?

There’s no doubt it has all the prerequisites.

It is sufficient to leaf through recent art magazines to figure out why Paris is becoming the new crucial center for the European system of contemporary art.


David Zwirner Gallery, Paris – Courtesy of David Zwirner


In spite of the uncertainty of pandemic era, It didn’t take long for many London‐based galleries to open very quickly another location across the Channel. For example, in early 2021 galleries such as White Cube, Galleria Tornabuoni and David Zwirner had already reacted to the post‐Brexit chaos investing in one of the most strategic cities in terms of art trade and international exposure. In addition to this prestigious list, we can find also Galleria Continua (a few steps from Centre Pompidou) which in the same period opened a 800 m2 building devoted to experimentation with an eye to the city of Paris. Provided with a coffee‐house, a shopping corner and a room for talks and public events, the aim is not to have an aseptic exhibition space available, but a hub capable of attracting concretely the participation of citizens and visitors who can “live” and spend time in this meeting place – welcoming and inclusive.


GÉOMÉTRIES INSTABLES, exhibition view – Credits Allison Borgo – Courtesy of Galleria Continua


What’s more, in the middle of 2021 the triumphal opening of Bourse de Commerce with a colossal restoration work by archistar Tadao Ando on behalf of François Pinault who chose this monument of Parisian history to connect part of his own art collection to some site‐specific interventions and brand‐new productions.


François Pinault, Bourse de Commerce, Paris – Courtesy Pinault Collection


What could be more convincing? Maybe, the decision of Art Basel, the queen of modern and contemporary art fairs, to launch a new fair in Paris in October 2022…This public announcement doesn’t openly mention another Parisian branch connected to the Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong events, but it highlights the intention to build a peculiar identity in view of a future fair in “la ville lumière”.

One more score for Paris, ça va sans dire.