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Xavier Niel with Education Minister Thierry Mandon at l’École 42 © Enseignement supérieur et Recherche/Flickr
Xavier Niel with Education Minister Thierry Mandon at l’École 42 © Enseignement supérieur et Recherche/Flickr
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Art 42: Paris' First Street Art Museum To Open In October 2016

Picture of Paul McQueen
Updated: 7 December 2016
For the first time in France‘s history, street art is getting recognized by the mainstream art world. Gone are the days when its merits were questioned and its creators disparaged. Acceptance hasn’t come overnight–galleries everywhere have been showcasing more and more urban art in recent years–but admirers have been left wanting for a dedicated and permanent cultural space for the genre. Paris has come up with a solution: Art 42. This brand new, free museum will open its doors to the public during the Nuit Blanche celebrations of October 1st.

This joint venture between telecommunications billionaire and philanthropist Xavier Niel, the founder of Free, and Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, a passionate collector of street art for over a decade, will be housed in the former’s revolutionary computer science college in the 17th arrondissement. Founded by Niel in 2013, L’École 42, a self-described ‘anti-school’, runs around the clock, seven days a week, and gives 3,000 students the tools and the space required to develop as world-leading programmers. Lasserre’s prized collection of 150 works by 50 artists, which will form an accompanying ‘anti-museum’, will cover three floors (and the stairwells in between) of the campus, an area totaling roughly 4,000 square meters.

The murals and installations have been produced by some of the biggest names in the game, as well as emerging talents from France and around the globe. Some of the artists included in the collection are Banksy, Bault, C215, Ernest Pignon-Ernest, Shepard Fairey, Invader, Monkey Bird, and Speedy Graphito.

Lasserre’s creative mission is to build a bridge between the street and the museum as a space for art, and in doing so, demonstrate that art can be, and is, produced not just at the top of society but from the bottom as well.

This is Niel’s second major contribution to the Paris cultural landscape this year. Earlier in the summer, it was announced that Niel would be financing the opening of Station F, the world’s largest start-up campus, in the city in 2017.

📅 Grand opening on October 1st. After this, it will be open on Tuesdays (7pm – 9pm) and Saturdays (11am 3pm). Guided tours will be given.

📍 Art 42, 96 boulevard Bessières, 75017 Paris