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Ahead of FIAC, French Dealers Launch Paris Avant Première to Highlight City’s Emerging Art Scene

A map of Paris’s emerging art scene.


Travel planning around Frieze London and FIAC in Paris can be difficult because of a two-week gap separating the two fairs, but now a group of dealers and curators in the French capital have teamed to offer an event the weekend before FIAC—and one of its satellites, Paris Internationale, which tends toward young galleries—to help fill the schedule. Paris Avant Première, conceived as a new annual three-day event running this year October 12–14, will combine the efforts of nearly 30 emerging galleries based in Paris. A range of spaces, from Marcelle Alix to Sultana, will maintain late hours and pool their forces to call attention to the young art scene in Paris.

“For collectors in from America for Frieze, it’s easier to come earlier to Paris than it is to return,” Marc Beyney-Sonier, who is overseeing the event, told ARTnews. “That was the idea: to present Paris to all these people who are going to be in town for FIAC.”

Beyney-Sonier was brought on to head up Paris Avant Première at the invitation of the Parisian dealers Daniele Balice (of Balice Hertling gallery), Robbie Fitzpatrick (of Freedman Fitzpatrick, which also has a space in Los Angeles), and Édouard Montassut (of Édouard Montassut gallery). Balice said that the event was meant to highlight local artists and gallerists who often go unseen or misunderstood. “The press doesn’t really cover contemporary art the way it does in London, New York, or Los Angeles,” he said. “Curators and people stopping by don’t know how to find [these emerging spaces].” The event, he hopes, “will give a lot of confidence to younger artists” in Paris.

The galleries participating have pooled funds to create a budget—€5,000, or $5,760—for a jury to buy works from the event to be added to the collection of the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. And as part of a plan to include a focus on different cities each year, seven galleries from Los Angeles have been invited to show in non-traditional spaces like cafés and stores. (Those galleries are Bad Reputation, Bel Ami, Hannah Hoffman, Christopher Schwarz, Karma International, Del Vaz Projects, and Kristina Kite.)

Paris Avant Première will be a way to alleviate some of the challenges facing young galleries in the city, such as rising rents and declining foot traffic, Beyney-Sonier said. “It’s hard for young galleries today. It’s important for them to be represented.”

Because Paris’s gallery districts can be difficult to navigate for new visitors, the event’s planners have created a gallery map that will continue to live online after the event. And for locals, Beyney-Sonier said, the prospect of showcasing under-sung galleries can make for “a breath of fresh air.”

The full list of participants in Paris Avant Première is available here.

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