The October dates at the Grand Palais held by FIAC, Paris's top fair, will now be occupied by Art Basel, in a new decision that is a "major shake-up," according to ARTnews.
Art Basel, together with its parent company MCH Group, announced Wednesday that it has been awarded a seven-year contract to stage a new contemporary and modern art fair at the prestigious Grand Palais in Paris, following a public competition initiated by the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais in December last year.
Launching in October 2022, this new fair will initially take place at the Grand Palais’s temporary venue, the Grand Palais Éphémère, located in the historic heart of Paris on the Champ-de-Mars, until the restoration of the Grand Palais is completed in 2024.
"With its incomparable history and contemporary dynamism, Paris is uniquely positioned as a pivotal epicenter of the international cultural scene," says Marc Spiegler, Global Director, Art Basel. "We aim to build on Paris’s unparalleled standing as a global metropolis to help create a vibrant week that even further amplifies the city’s international resonance as a cultural capital."
Similar to its fairs in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong, Art Basel will work closely with Paris’s museums, private institutions, galleries and other cultural spaces, to create an active cultural program from morning to night, all week, and throughout the city.
An Art Basel statement reads: "By combining the history of Art Basel and the cultural heritage of Paris, our ambition is to launch a new event that brings together artists, collectors, curators and gallery owners from all over the world and unites Parisian cultural actors beyond the Grand Palais. To deliver this ambitious new project for Paris, Art Basel will establish a new French entity and employ a dedicated team on the ground, as well as work closely with France’s gallery community and ensure their strong representation in the fair’s Selection Committee. In addition, Art Basel intends to develop an identity and a brand specific to the Parisian fair. Further details regarding the fair, including the composition of the Selection Committee, gallery application dates, and naming of the event will be communicated in the coming weeks."
"This is exciting news not only for MCH Group," says Beat Zwahlen, Group CEO. "Our Art Basel team has done a tremendous job preparing a compelling bid, and I’d like to thank the Réunion des musées nationaux – Grand Palais for their trust in us. This is another step towards our goal to ensure the long-term success of MCH Group, and it’s gratifying to see that our strategy is beginning to bear fruit."
FIAC organizer RX Global called the public competition for the October dates as "hasty and flawed." “It is in this spirit that, after decades of investment and presence at the Grand Palais, we have succeeded in raising the FIAC to the highest ranks of the world’s leading contemporary art fairs and in making Paris one of the world’s most important capitals for cultural and artistic life,” RX France president Michel Filzi said in a statement, continuing, “This is a huge disappointment for our teams and all the clients and partners who support us.”
Filzi added, “We reserve the right to challenge the decision concerning FIAC in court in favor of its competitor.”