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Paris's Thriving Contemporary Art Scene at La Maison Rouge
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Paris's Thriving Contemporary Art Scene at La Maison Rouge

Picture of Isma A
Updated: 30 October 2016
In spite of the name’s connotations, La Maison Rouge is not a reference to communist heritage, nor is it the translated title of a Jimi Hendrix’s song. Rather, La Maison Rouge is a modern art foundation located near Place de la Bastille, well established within the contemporary art scene as a hub that brings together some of the most enjoyable features of Parisian life: great art and great food.
Nicanor Araoz, Untitled, Black Mummies #2 series, Installation (latex, neon, satin ribbons) 2011-2015 | © La Maison Rouge
Nicanor Araoz, Untitled, Black Mummies #2 series, Installation (latex, neon, satin ribbons) 2011-2015 | © La Maison Rouge

An essential stop for contemporary art

Located near Place de la Bastille, this establishment was founded by Antoine de Galbert in 2000 as a foundation for contemporary art with the status of a public benefit organization. It is also a member of the Tram Network, a network of establishments specializing in contemporary art in Paris and the great Ile-de-France region.

When visitors arrive, the first thing that strikes them is the unorthodoxy of the place: it does not look like a regular art gallery at all. La Maison Rouge is actually an old printing house organized around an open-air patio, including a multimedia room and a sort of concert hall called “La Suite.” In addition, for contemporary art enthusiasts, it includes access to “Bookstorming,” a specialty library that regularly organizes thematic expositions and book presentations. La Maison Rouge is divided between regular exhibits and the ones presented in the vestibule. Regular exhibits are held three to six times a year, whereas the vestibules host different events every four to six weeks, and are curated by La Maison Rouge’s staff.

Why now?

La Maison Rouge is currently holding a series of expositions devoted to showcasing different cities around the world. After hosting events on Winnipeg or Johannesburg, the focus shifts to Buenos Aires. The aim is to experience the city through another set of eyes, the ones of sixty artists that go beyond romanticism and try to capture the atmosphere and dynamism of the city, using painting, sculpture and photography.

The journey feels like a seesaw motion, where the spectator is torn between oppositions developed: from privacy and intimacy (when entering a reconstituted living room or bedroom) to a peek of the public space, from compassion (when realizing the precariousness of human experience) to revolt (when listening to a transgender person’s song about modern slavery), from the normality of a street DVD seller to the strangeness of some of the works exposed.

Gabriel Chaile, Effective Oration, Installation (bed, plants, books, notebooks, drawings, photographs, tools, clothes, letters, chair), 2011 | © La Maison Rouge
Gabriel Chaile, Effective Oration, Installation (bed, plants, books, notebooks, drawings, photographs, tools, clothes, letters, chair), 2011 | © La Maison Rouge

When leaving La Maison Rouge, to recover from the emotions evoked by the art or to discuss the exposition, a stop can be made at the Rose Bakery, a cozy organic British coffee house, where you can find crumbly carrot cake and salty pies, all prepared with fresh ingredients from the local market.

There’s a Red House over yonder. That might not be where Jimi’s baby stays, but you should definitely go take a look!

La Maison Rouge & Rose Bakery, 10 boulevard de la bastille, Paris