FIAC Breaks Ground While Branching Out
There couldn’t be a much prettier place for an art fair: the Grand Palais and the Petit Palais, two Beaux-Arts palace-museums built for the 1900 Universal Exposition, royally nodding to each other across the grandeur of Avenue Winston Churchill (formerly Avenue Nicolas II), at the foot of Pont Alexandre III. FIAC — the Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain — brings a huge array of contemporary and modern art to this corner every fall, yet the event keeps expanding around the city.
The organizers like branching out “as much as possible without making everybody giddy,” said Jennifer Flay, director of the fair. It’s a way to focus on the many great cultural institutions of Paris, Ms. Flay said in a telephone interview.
And that’s not the only branching out that’s going on. FIAC remains quintessentially French and essentially European, so when officials mention that a good 20 percent of the galleries this year are from North America, it could be taken as a boast or a lament. And it’s only the beginning. The 193 galleries participating in the 44th fair (Oct. 19 to 22) come from 29 countries.
Here are some standouts.
If you didn’t happen to get to Oregon or South Carolina to see the total solar eclipse in August, looking directly (without special glasses) at Lita Albuquerque’s “Eclipse” series may be the next best thing. Ms. Albuquerque, a native Southern Californian who also lived in Tunisia and France as a child, has a thing for the cosmos. Maybe it started with her “Stellar Axis” project in Antarctica. Her work, however, is highly accessible to the Earthbound; you don’t even have to know what the Fibonacci Sequence is to appreciate her “Fibonacci Lunar Activation” (2017). Kohn, her Los Angeles gallery, is also showing artists including Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner and Ed Ruscha at FIAC.