Paris’s Grand Palais, the longtime home of two of the French capital’s most important art fairs, has initiated a competition seeking to get the best offer for the traditional dates of FIAC (late October) and Paris Photo (mid-November), according to a report by Le Monde.
The Grand Palais also hosts major contemporary art exhibitions and events, and is currently undergoing a major renovation ahead of the 2024 Summer Olympics. According to Le Monde, a mysterious second party expressed interest in the dates when FIAC and Paris Photo are traditionally held, and the Grand Palais has asked for a new proposal from RX Global, which operates both fairs through a French subsidiary.
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Depending on the results of the Grand Palais’s competition, FIAC and Paris Photo might lose access to their traditional venues, sending the two fairs scrambling for new dates and a new site. The competition results could also further mix up the international art calendar, which has already been significantly altered by the pandemic.
The name of the potential bidder for the fairs’ dates has not been revealed, but Le Monde speculated that it could be Art Basel, which operates the world’s three biggest fairs in Hong Kong, Miami Beach, and its home base of Basel, Switzerland.
A source told the paper that the Grand Palais’s president Chris Dercon has sought a commitment from potential bidders of at least €20 million ($22.7 million) over seven years to secure the dates in question. A decision on the fate of the two fairs’ dates is expected to arrive sometime around January 24, when the Grand Palais’s board next meets.
FIAC and Paris Photo canceled their 2020 editions because of the pandemic and hosted their 2021 editions at the Grand Palais Emphémère, a temporary structure in Paris’s Champ-de-Mars facing the Eiffel Tower. Their 2022 dates have been scheduled for October 20–23 and November 10–13, respectively, both at the Grand Palais Emphémère.
Much has been made over Paris’s rise post-Brexit, with some expecting it to potentially supersede London as the nexus for Europe’s art market. If Art Basel does end up launching an event in the French capital, it would only act as further proof that Paris’s clout is growing.