In anticipation of FIAC (October 20-23), we’re sharing insider insights and practical information, for those traveling to Paris and following from afar, on the site all this week and next, from the inaugural issue of Whitewaller London&Paris. For the publication—which you can pick up in Paris—we were thrilled to have writer and curator Judith Benhamou-Huet act as Guest Editor. Below is her letter to our readers, where she shares her thoughts on Paris as a cultural platform, and more.
One of the most surprising facts that my itinerating lifestyle as a reporter and curator has confirmed over the past years is that Paris is a global, sophisticated city in its very own way. Paris is a platform of the world in the cultural sense, as it has been known to be on several occasions throughout history.
Paradoxically, the most vibrant Parisian energy can often come from talented foreigners. For instance, in the world of cuisine, Australian or Japanese chefs settle down in Paris because they have found exceptional products there, as well as a clientele that measures up to their creativity..
It is the same for the art world. It has always been this way. The 18th-century marked the apotheosis of the French Decorative Arts; it was one of these rare historical moments to arise when the emergence of great craftsmen coincided with a flowering creative mood and abundance. People seem to have forgotten that many cabinetmakers at the time were foreigners.
Today in Paris, collectors, auctioneers, curators, and gallerists from other countries come to practice their talent on the French art scene. (I think of galleries such as Balice Hertling or High Art, or the Brazilian collector Sandra Mulliez Hegedus.) Paris isn’t global because it is money-driven like New York or London. Paris is global in the most glamorous but also academic sense. Look at each season’s museum exhibition program! Paris offers a non- superficial glamour—like a woman that is both beautiful and intelligent.
To read more, pick up the latest copy of Whitewaller in Paris next week. And for even more insight into FIAC and Paris Art Week, make sure to check out Whitewaller Paris’ guest editor Judith Benhamou-Huet’s website at judithbenhamouhuet.com.