For the art world, the end of March heralds in one of the great art fair seasons in Paris, with Art Paris at the Grand Palais and Drawing Now Paris: le Salon du dessin contemporain at the Carrousel du Louvre. The two occasions present an opportunity for galleries, collectors and artists alike to meet, discuss and be awed by the direction contemporary art continues to take.
For the sixth edition of Drawing Now Paris, an independent committee selected eighty-two galleries from all over the world who represent over 400 artists to celebrate the progression of contemporary drawing in its many forms. This included for the first time two galleries from New York: the Drawing Center New York and the Stephan Stoyanov Gallery. The works themselves range in medium, size and subject matter allowing them to speak to a large spectrum of viewers. Philippe Piguet, art critic and the Artistic Director for Drawing Now Paris, says, “Drawing is not the exclusive preserve of any kind of particular technique. It is the vehicle for a reflection, which takes on just the right amount of existence to express itself. That is what characterizes it… It is a universal language shared by all peoples, through their history. That is what gives it its identity.”
The exhibition space was divided into several parts each celebrating a different facet of Piguet’s concept of drawing. The main room of the exhibition space was dedicated to the seventy acclaimed international galleries, while a second area featured works from artists under forty. A third space at the heart of the Carrousel du Louvre housed Drawing Now Paris’s second edition of the Imaginary Museum, this time curated by Catherine Millet, art critic and co-founder of Art Press. Her interpretation of drawing’s esscence led to the inclusion of works by Marc Desgrandchamps, Otto Meuhl, Bernar Venet and Kiki Smith among others. Finally, in addition to the previous exhibits, there was a projection room featuring six videos submitted by galleries from Paris, New York, and The Hague.
It’s easy to understand why this fair has been receiving such incredible press; the combination of the pieces, the spaces they are displayed in and the general atmosphere creates an ambiance sure to convince any remaining skeptics that drawing is in its own right an equal art form to painting and sculpture. Walking around the salon I found myself stopping dead in my tracks often awed, shocked, or even amused by the works. There were so many works that I longed to stare at for hours or even buy. From detailed large-scale charcoal drawings, to drawings done in ballpoint pen that looked more like photographs than anything else or even a series of Playmobile heads so realistically portrayed that I could identify which ones I had grown up playing with. Despite the flurry of red stickers symbolizing sold works, the atmosphere stayed casual and welcoming to people of all ages or budgets.
Drawing Now Paris: le Salon du dessin contemporain is on exhibit from March 29th through April 1st from 11-8pm (7pm Sunday) at the Carrousel du Louvre.