Photo of the Week


Left to right: Eiffel Tower, Louvre Pyramid, Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel and Ferris Wheel. © Paris Update


Paris Update This Week’s Events

For full details about an event, click on the title to visit the official Web site (in English when available).

Drawing through the ages

"Apples" (1944), by Henri Matisse. Eric Coatalem Gallery.

> Salon du Dessin: 39 galleries showing works on paper, from Old Masters to contemporary. Palais Brogniart, Paris, March 22-27.

Contemporary drawing fair
> Drawing Now: 73 galleries, Carreau du Temple, Paris, March 23-26.

More contemporary drawings
>Ddessin: 20 galleries. Atelier Richelieu, Paris, March 24-26.

Art and design fair
> PAD (Paris Art + Design),
67 galleries, Tuileries Garden, Paris, March 22-26.

African culture festival
> The 100% Afriques festival showcases dance, theater, music, fashion, design, art, food and more from all over the continent. La Villette, Paris, March 23-May 28.

French film with English subtitles
> Lost in Frenchlation shows Audrey Dana's Si j'Étais un Homme, preceded by a themed cocktail party (€4.50). Studio 28, Paris, Feb. 24.

Documentary film festival
> Cinéma du Réel showcases documentaries from around the world. Various venues, Paris, March 24-April 2.

Suburban blues
> The Banlieues Bleues festival brings major French and international jazz acts to the Paris suburbs. Various venues, through March 31.

Before and after ecological disaster
> The Chic Planète festival presents two types of films, those celebrating the bounty of the earth and science-fiction views of what will happen after an ecopalypse. Forum des Images, Paris, through April 13.




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Bureaucracy wins out over anarchy

Squart Goes Legit

Art for sale amid the chain stores on the Rue de Rivoli.

March 30, 2005: Paris doesn’t have a lot of empty buildings, but when certain activists spot one, they quickly find a way to enter it and move right in, often staying for long periods before being evicted by the police. Many of these squats are turned into artists’ studios (becoming “squarts”) or venues for cultural events. One of them, on the Rue de Rivoli, a busy, chain-store-lined artery in the heart of Paris, was taken over in 1999 by a group of artists calling themselves“Chez Robert, Electron Libre,” who have opened up their studios to the public every weekend since then. In 2000, the city began proceedings to evict them, but the ensuing sympathetic media coverage led to a very different outcome: the city (which has an employee whose job consists of dealing with squats) ended up buying the building for 9 million euros, with the intention of turning it into a “collective space for artistic creation” after it was pointed out that the squart was the third most-visited contemporary art space in Paris. Then the city decided that the building’s doors must be shut to outsiders for safety reasons. After protracted negotiations, the now legitimized squatters have finally agreed, as long as they can eventually reopen to the public. On March 26 and 27, the last weekend the building was open, it had more visitors than the nearby Gap store. They tramped up and down the spiral staircase and peeked into rooms filled with paintings and sculptures (some of them surprisingly good) and installations of miscellaneous junk. Plan ahead for your visit – the erstwhile squat won’t be open to the public again until February 2008 (the artists will continue to work there until January 2007), but you can always admire the gaily decorated façade or visit their Web site. We'll have to wait to find out what effect legality will have on these anarchic yet well-organized artists.

Chez Robert, Electron Libre: 59, rue de Rivoli. 75001 Paris.

© 2005 Paris Update

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