Marseille's Must-Visit Contemporary Art Galleries

Photo of James Moore
24 January 2018

Widely recognised as one of the major cultural hubs in Western Europe, the French city of Marseille is replete with fascinating art galleries and events. Historically, the city’s ocean-side position made it an important nexus of trade; now the azure Mediterranean Sea makes for a dramatic backdrop to the city’s culture and arts.

Marseille | © F. Laffont-Feraud / WikiCommons

La Friche

Housed in the industrial shell of a former tobacco factory, La Friche functions as both a cultural venue and gallery. La Friche was established two decades ago, and since then its 45,000-square meter gallery has played host to all manner of contemporary and experimental art. The space has been the site of inception for various exhibitions and projects, with over 150,000 visitants annually. La Friche is more like a multifaceted creative village instead of a standard gallery.

Friche la Belle de Mai, 41 rue Jobin 13003 Marseille, France, +33 4 95 04 95 95

Galerie Anna-Tschopp
© Galerie Anna-Tschopp

Galerie Anna-Tschopp

Art Gallery
Since it first opened in 2005, Galerie Anna-Tschopphas operated to fulfill two central tenets. Firstly, it strives to bring both nationally and internationally distinguished artists together with exciting burgeoning practitioners with the aim of nurturing and supporting the future of art in Marseille. The second tenet is to focus on displaying quality over quantity—Galerie Anna-Tschopp only displays work its curators consider important and extraordinary. The gallery holds ‘Focus’ exhibitions, which are 10-day displays of a specific artist’s work, the aim of which is to give emerging artists a platform and to introduce them to the Marseille art scene.

Galerie Detaille

Art Gallery
The Detaille family who established the eponymous Galerie Detaille have a history in the field of photography that dates back to 1897, when Nadar Detaille procured a studio in Marseille. A congenital artistic bent has meant that Gallerie Detaille has remained in the family; Helen and Gerard Detaille now run the gallery that is located on rue Marius Jauffret. The gallery exhibits aesthetically arresting photography that explores the world with an emphasis on the marriage between realism and poetry. Gallerie Detaille displays a range of works including both the historic and contemporary and the famous and emerging.

Seize Galerie

Art Gallery, Shop
Marseille’s Seize Galerie (Gallery Sixteen) is situated in the center of Notre-Dame-du-Mont. The gallery emphasizes art that exemplifies the contemporary and the futuristic. A self-proclaimed combination of art gallery and corner shop, the Seize Galerie caters to amateurs and professionals alike. The venue strives to explore and unpack the modern art form of graphic design through many of its diverse exhibitions. The works on display are thematically diverse and are expressed through a variety of mediums including painting, graphics, drawing, graffiti, video and installation.

Musée Cantini

Art Gallery, Museum
One of the biggest modern art gallery’s in Marseille is the Musée Cantini, conveniently situated a short stroll from the metro Estrangin Préfecture. The gallery has its own extensive collection of modern art but also continually hosts temporary exhibitions. The gallery sits within a beautiful mansion built at the end of the 17th century, which was once owned by the Montgrand family and was eventually procured by Jules Cantini who bequeathed its hallowed halls to the city for the displaying of art. The year the gallery will dedicate an entire floor to first decades of the 20th century Post-Impressionism, Fauvism, Cubism and the nascent post-Cubist experiments completed between 1920 and 1940.

Musée d’art contemporain (MAC)

The Musée d’art contemporain (MAC) is home to a permanent collection of contemporary paintings sculpture, video and other installations. Some of the artists whose work can be seen at the MAC include Absalon, Jimmie Durham, Tadashi Kawamata and Jacques Monory. Guests are also invited to soak up the visual feasts offered at the variety of temporary exhibitions the MAC plays host to. Take a stroll in the gallery’s serene garden where a number of other works by the likes of Jean-Michel Alberola and Fabrice Gygi.

Musée d’art contemporain (MAC), 69 avenue de Haïfa, 13008 Marseille, France, +33 4 91 25 01 07

The American Gallery of Contemporary Art

The American Gallery of Contemporary Art acts as a central hub for the English-speaking artistic community of Marseilles and displays a wide range of international contemporary art. The gallery is located near the Marseille’s beautiful Corniche and houses some of the finest contemporary American and Anglo-Saxon artworks in France. The gallery itself is located on private land so any guests interested in perambulating their way over to take a gander should be sure to call the gallery’s owner, Pamela King, in advance.

The American Gallery of Contemporary Art, 10 bis rue des Flots Bleus, 13007 Marseille, France, +33 6 27 28 28 60

The Fondation Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC)

Art Gallery, Architectural Landmark, Building

Established in 2013, the Fondation Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) brings innovative and exciting contemporary artworks to the heart of bustling Marseille. Since 2013 the arresting FRAC building made from glass and steel has been beguiling Marseille residents and tourists alike. The FRAC houses a permanent collection of contemporary artworks by talented aesthetic virtuosos from the Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur region that Marseille is the capital of. There are also perpetually changing temporary exhibitions to display the touring works of rapidly flourishing local artists. Slink over to this majestic feat of architectonics and take a look for yourself.

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