Sign In
Paris' Top 10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions in 2015
Save to wishlist

Paris' Top 10 Unmissable Art Exhibitions in 2015

Picture of Stephanie Carwin
Updated: 29 November 2016
2015 is shaping up to be a year full of great art events in Paris. This year’s lineup includes not only a number of big names and blockbuster shows but also demonstrates the city’s ability to stay current with a selection of cutting-edge, thought-provoking contemporary art exhibitions. Here are the top 10 ones not to miss!

At the Edge of Worlds at Palais de Tokyo

February 18 to May 17 2015

“Are there works that are not works of art?” is the question at the center of Au Bord des Mondes (At the Edge of Worlds), Palais de Tokyo’s first exhibition in 2015. Curated by Rebecca Lamarche-Vadel, the exhibition explores the porous borders of art, featuring around thirty ‘creators’ whose work tests the boundaries of such categorization, often falling outside the traditional conception of art. The works highlight the interstitial spaces between art and other fields, as well as a resistance to adhere to the conventional divisions between spheres of knowledge and experience, asserting instead the incursion of art into a variety of human activities.

Palais de Tokyo, 13 Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris, France +33 1 81 97 35 88


Chercher le Garçon at MAC/VAL (Contemporary Art Museum of Val de Marne)

March 7 to August 30 2015

In this expansive thematic exhibition that kicks off MAC/VAL’s 10-year anniversary, curator Frank Lamy asks 100 male artists to take on today’s definition of masculinity, looking to disrupt conventional patriarchal narratives, question traditional values of masculine identity, and offer a reflection on alternative ways of imagining being male in the world today. Bringing feminist theory into the conversation, including a large and diverse collection of artists spanning several generations and a wide variety of artistic practices, Chercher le garçon aims to stimulate a dynamic dialogue on a timely subject.

Musée d’Art Contemporain du Val-de-Marne, Place de la Libération, Vitry-sur-Seine, France +33 1 43 91 64 20


Velásquez at the Grand Palais

March 25 to July 13 2015

Considered one of the greatest painters of all time, Diego Velásquez was the court painter to King Philip IV during the Golden Age of Spain in the 1600s and produced some of the most renowned and influential works in art history. This exhibition, sure to be one of the major shows this year, is the first retrospective of the artist in France and includes his early work, travels in Italy, as well as painters who influenced and who were influenced the Spanish master — from his contemporaries to twentieth century artists.

Grand Palais, 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris, France +33 1 44 13 17 17

The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk – Grand Palais

April 1 to August 3 2015

The widely popular exhibition The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier: From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk finally makes its way to the French designer’s native country after an international tour that has seen more than one million visitors. Paris seems a fitting place to visit this retrospective on the artist’s career, which not only utilizes innovative video projections, but also traces the cultural and socio-political contexts of his work, as well as French influences and broader intellectual sources in his fashion.

Grand Palais, 3 Avenue du Général Eisenhower, Paris, France +33 1 44 13 17 17


The Passion According to Carol Rama – Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris

April 3 to July 12 2015

The first retrospective in France of an important but long overlooked figure in 20th-century art, The Passion According to Carol Rama traces the long and complex oeuvre of the Italian artist both chronologically and thematically, attempting to tackle what curator Anne Dressen calls Rama’s ‘obsessive complexity’. Born in 1918 in Turin, the self-taught artist found in art an outlet and liberation from her tragic family history, explaining, ‘I’ve never needed a model for my painting; the sense of sin is my teacher’. Her controversial works often encountered censorship in Italy, as it utilized a diverse array of materials from rubber to watercolors, and explored taboo subjects like trauma, sexuality, madness, and death.

Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, 11 Avenue du Président Wilson, Paris, France +33 1 53 67 40 00

Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers? 1839/1945 at the Musée d’Orsay

October 14 2015 au January 25 2016

Reflecting a critical reassessment in recent decades on the significant contribution of women photographers to the development of the medium since its beginnings in 1839, the Musée d’Orsay will present the first French exhibition dealing with the history of photography that is entirely devoted to women in the field. Focused primarily on the work produced in Europe – France, Germany and the UK – and in the United States, Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers? is sure to include rarely seen works and present a new historical perspective on the subject. It will be curated by Dr. Ulrich Pohlmann, Director of the Photographic Collection at the Stadtmuseum in Munich, and Thomas Galifot, curator at the Musée d’Orsay.

Musée d’Orsay, 1 Rue de la Légion d’Honneur, Paris, France +33 1 40 49 48 14


Anish Kapoor at the Palace of Versailles

June to October 2015

Indian-British artist Anish Kapoor is this year’s invited artist at the Palace of Versailles’s summer solo exhibition, as part of a contemporary art program that began in 2008 and has occasionally provoked controversy and protest by those who believed the art did not respect or belong on such a heritage site. The work of Kapoor, however, known primarily for his monumental sculptures, promises to be a draw for the Palace, where he will utilize the occasion as an opportunity to reflect on power and its portrayal at the Chateau, both in the gardens and ‘for the first time in a unknown though emblematic location in Versailles’.

Palace of Versailles, Place d’Armes, Versailles, France +33 1 30 83 78 00

Omer Fast at Jeu de Paume

October 20 2015 au January 24 2016

In an age when our lives have become so intertwined with the constant proliferation of images that we encounter or produce on a daily basis, the work of the Israeli-born, Berlin-based artist Omer Fast offers a particularly relevant approach. His video works, often presented as multi-channel installations, highlight the distortions and corruption of so-called objective accounts or even personal memories and narratives through the distancing effects of cultural mediation, with a particular focus on the relationship between personal and collective memory. His works interweave many layers – interviews, re-enactments, raw footage – in such an intricate way that it becomes difficult to distinguish fact and fiction, reflecting our current complex relationship to reality and to each other. The exhibition at Jeu de Paume will present a selection of Fast’s works from 2000 to today.

Jeu de Paume, 1 Place de la Concorde, Paris, France +33 1 47 03 12 50


Brief History of the Future at the Louvre

September – December 2015

In a collaborative project with Jean de Loisy, Director of the Palais de Tokyo, the primary contemporary art institution in Paris, Brief History of the Future is sure to be one of the most anticipated exhibitions at the Louvre in 2015, bringing a number of contemporary artists into a dialogue with the historical collections of the museum. Based on the book by Jacques Attali of the same name (Une brève histoire de l’avenir), the exhibition will explore how artists past and present have dealt with the notion of the future and what our knowledge of extinct societies have to offer us in terms of our own future perils.

Louvre Museum, Paris, France +33 1 40 20 50 50

Anselm Kiefer Retrospective at the Centre Pompidou

December 2015

The recently announced plans for a retrospective of German artist Anselm Kiefer at the Centre Pompidou promises to be a well-attended exhibition, displaying the many mediums utilized by the artist in his 40-year career, such as painting, sculpture, and installation. Considered one of the most important artists of his generation, Kiefer, who was born in 1945, has taken the German post-war concept of Vergangenheitsbewältigung (coping with the past) to unprecedented heights in his unflinching gaze toward the dark corners of his country’s past. Working with a mixture of materials including sand, straw, ash, clay and fabric, he often creates large-scale landscape paintings that reflect the multi-layered nature of historical processes in an attempt to tackle ethical and philosophical issues.

Centre Pompidou, Places Georges Pompidou, Paris, France +33 1 44 78 12 33