That Other, Other Art Fair

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Published October 13, 2009

Cutlog is the newest addition to Paris’s art fair circuit and it arrives at a time when FIAC (Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain) is looking stronger than in recent years.  FIAC, which emphasizes established artists, attracts about 60,000 visitors annually, putting it on par with London’s Frieze, previewing tomorrow. But while the Paris art scene and FIAC can look dowdy on the heels of the more contemporary selection in London, the financial crisis (which has taken a much bigger bite out of contemporary art sales than Impressionist and modern art) may have something to do with altering the perspective. Last February’s Christie’s sale of Yves Saint Laurent’s art collection in Paris, which topped expectations by taking in €374 million, also might have something to do with it.
 
Bruno Hadjadj launched Cutlog with more inspiration than connections. A sculptor and set designer who runs Spree, one of the city’s best fashion stores with his wife Roberta, he’s an autodidact. In 2006, when legendary venue CBGBs closed in New York, Hadjadj was on the pavement front and center–nearly 48 sleepless hours–to document the crowd that came to pay its respects. The result was Bye Bye CBGB, a self-published visual account of the event. That same year he also produced and directed Banditos, a handmade road movie, along the Eastern seaboard.  

 

Participating at Cutlog are about 30 galleries from Germany, the U.S., Italy, Spain, the U.K. and France including Paris’s Artfact and Berlin’s Kwadrat, Icoba, a new artistic coalition from New York and Spain’s Raina Lupa from Barcelona. “The common denominator of the galleries participating is that Cutlog is their first spot in a major art fair.  They’re all very closely involved with the artists they represent as well.  It’s almost more familial than commercial,” says Hadjadj who was surprised by the decrease in video. “There is a real return to painting,” he adds, “and photography is now at the same level.”
 
Held at Paris’s old Bourse de Commerce, a circular building in the city’s center with an iron and glass dome that Victor Hugo once likened to a jockey’s cap, Cutlog is close to the Centre Pompidou
 and not far from the Jeu de Paume at Concorde and the Fiac, held at the nearby Grand Palais, the Louvre’s Cour Carée and the Tuileries gardens.  The location gives Cutlog an advantage over Slick (October 23-26), Paris’s other young fair, staged at Centquatre in the 19th, the huge arts center recently opened on the site of  what was once the city’s municipal funeral complex. 


Cutlog runs October 22-25.
Rebecca Voight is the editor of SuperfluParis