In a major shakeup, the October dates typically held by FIAC, Paris’s top art fair, will now belong to Art Basel and its parent company MCH Group. Art Basel revealed plans on Wednesday to launch a new fair for modern and contemporary art in Paris this October, making this the fourth event staged by the enterprise, which also hosts editions in Hong Kong, Miami Beach, and the namesake Swiss city.
The news came after the Grand Palais, which has been the longtime home to FIAC and Paris Photo, said it would be taking bids to secure the traditional fall dates for FIAC and Paris Photo, a photography-focused fair. RX Global, which organizes both French fairs, will retain the November dates for Paris Photo.
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FIAC had previously announced the Grand Palais Ephémère, the temporary structure in Champ-de-Mars facing the Eiffel Tower in operation while the Grand Palais undergoes renovations ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics, as its venue for its 2022 and 2023 editions, with an expected return to the Grand Palais in 2024. The fair’s website lists its 2022 dates as October 20–23. Now, the fair will have to find a new home.
Both MCH Group and RX Global have signed seven-year contracts as part of their bid to secure the October and November dates, respectively. In the press release announcing the news, Art Basel said it “will establish a new French entity and employ a dedicated team on the ground, as well as work closely with France’s gallery community and ensure their strong representation in the fair’s Selection Committee. In addition, Art Basel intends to develop an identity and a brand specific to the Parisian fair.”
In a statement, Art Basel global director Marc Spiegler said, “With its incomparable history and contemporary dynamism, Paris is uniquely positioned as a pivotal epicenter of the international cultural scene. We aim to build on Paris’s unparalleled standing as a global metropolis to help create a vibrant week that even further amplifies the city’s international resonance as a cultural capital.”
The public competition for the dates was launched by Grand Palais’s president Chris Dercon last month, with the decision being made at the organization’s January 24 board meeting. The French newspaper Le Monde had previously reported that the Grand Palais was requesting at least €20 million ($22.7 million) over seven years for the dates. A spokesperson for Art Basel confirmed these figures to ARTnews on Wednesday.
Earlier this week, MCH Group announced that it would reinvest in the ART SG fair in Singapore, taking a 15-percent minority stake. The group had previously invested in it between 2016 and 2017, but had sold its shares by 2018 when the company was in financial straits.
Since Brexit became official on January 1, 2020, the art world has been abuzz about to what the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union might mean for London’s standing as the art market capital of Europe, with many seeing Paris as being in line to take over as the continent’s main city for the art trade.