“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” —Twyla Tharp
“Art should not be reserved for a privileged few.” —Andy Warhol
One of the things I love about living in Paris is the exhibitions. There’s always a must-see show somewhere in the city. The only downside to seeing so much fantastic art in Paris is that you wind up wanting to take some home, and those who try don’t get very far. You can check out the intimidating galleries that prosper in the fashionable quartiers of the city, but I’ve never dared go in. I know the chic staff would take one look at me and decide I wasn’t worth courting. I’m not one of the happy few. I’m a normal person with a normal budget for Paris shopping.
Paris guidebooks rarely include tips on buying art, but there are places in Paris where you can find affordable work. A small number of galleries in Paris aim to make art affordable and to help contemporary artists make a living from their vocation, and these self-service exhibition spaces allow you to browse at your leisure.
A visit to the Art Up Déco space, along the Viaduc des Arts, in the 12th Arrondissement, is a must-do in Paris and certainly off the tripist track.
More than 100 artists exhibit at the Art Up Déco space, guaranteeing a diverse range of styles, such as figurative work, pop art and abstract and graffiti paintings, with prices between 60 euros and 2,800 euros.
When I walked into the showroom, there was no one in sight, but a few seconds later a discreet and very Parisian-looking young woman arrived and busied herself at the cash desk.
The breadth of choice is stunning, and I had a hard time deciding what might look good in my home. The Basquiat-like painting, the nude, the cityscape in the background? I just couldn’t decide, so I left empty handed this time, but the best way to defeat temptation is to give in to it, so I’ll definitely be returning soon.
Other art places for Paris shopping:
The Carré d’artistes®, with four galleries in the city, has a simple concept: four sizes of paintings for four fixed prices, from 65 euros for a painting that is 10 by 10 centimeters, and up to 316 eruros for a work that is 30 by 30 centimeters.
The 59 Rivoli building started out as an artists’ squat but is now a legitimate community, with a gallery on the ground floor, and 20 studios for resident artists and 10 for artists, who stay for 3–6 months. The studios are open to the general public six days a week.
Also, groups of neighborhood artists have open days, and you can see what’s on at the Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau website.
Art Up Déco
Le Viaduc des Arts
Paris Convention and Visitors Bureau
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