The Fiac (foire internationale de l’art contemporain) opened on Thursday for four packed days of visual exploration, ego inflation, and explosive excess under the enormous vaulted glass roof of the Grand Palais. From its start in 2003 this annual Paris art fair has gained steadily in size, quality, and respect, and spawned concurrent events all around the capital. Civilian art lovers better have solid walking shoes. Wealthy collectors, flaboyantly dressed in enough money to buy a Damien Hirst, roll in somber black limos from gallery to party to gallery, comically blocking each other in the narrow streets. Hah!
For those of you unable this year to stroll the ephemeral corridors created in the Grand Palais by white-walled booths of galleries from around the world, here is the Fiac at a gallop and a glance.
The Avant-Garde. There were some curiously recurrent themes (what is it with female Siamese twins?) lots of geometry (Legos, anyone?) and more porn (I know it when I see it; thank you, Supreme Court Judge Stewart) than homage to the body. The porn, which, so sorry, I didn’t bother to photograph, reminded me there are only so many things you can do with a penis or vagina or anus. Oh, the dreariness of repetition…
Fortunately, satire and humor, or attempted humor, are also a Fiac tradition:
The Modern Classics. The more elegantly decorated back row of the exhibition is reserved to galleries displaying canonized artists. To stumble on these works, up close and real, alone justifies the price of admission, especially since, once purchased for hundreds of millions, they are likely to end up in guarded off-shore containers, evading taxes and awaiting the next price boom. Here a small sample:
Among today’s artists, PdV’s most admired and works desired:
Confession of a Philistine: much of the newest of the new leaves me cold, and/or wondering what the hell I’m missing.
After such a turbo-education in current trends PdV is itching to see ‘The Square’. This year’s winner of the Cannes Palme d’Or is said to open fire on the crass and credulous emperor’s-clothes realm of contemporary art, both its makers and its buyers. See you at the movies.