• Oscar Niemeyer, Sede do PCF, Paris (Office for the French Comunist Party), 1965-80.

    Oscar Niemeyer, Sede do PCF, Paris (Office for the French Comunist Party), 1965-80.

    Oscar Niemeyer

    Jeu de Paume
    1 place de la Concorde
    December 10, 2001–February 3, 2002

    No season of architectural blockbusters would be complete without a loving look back at the modernist who most presaged today’s bout of hedonistic formalism. Et voilà, a Niemeyer retrospective at the Jeu de Paume. The show, curated by Daniel Abadie with Cecilia Scharlach and Michel Ricard, promises two full rooms of Brasiliana—revel yet again in the synthetic splendors of a Jet Age city in the bush!—and several spaces in which we will discover, through letters and photographs, Niemeyer’s “implications.” For this we need a trip to a gallery? It would be easier to go to a newsstand, where a few flipped pages of a magazine reveal that the Niemeyer formula—pictorial curves, sensuous prisms, light politics, cool heroism—is, like the man, alive and well.

  • Jean Nouvel

    Centre Pompidou
    Place Georges-Pompidou
    November 14, 2001–January 4, 2002

    There may be no greater disappointment in Paris than Jean Nouvel’s Institut du Monde Arabe, a small but well-hyped building on the Seine. Images of the institute, splashed far and wide after it opened in 1988, showcased its defining feature: a glass wall sandwiching self-adjusting apertures that form a pattern like a high-tech moucharaby. Get it? The Arab world modernized, in one beau architectural geste! Unfortunately, a visit reveals the devices to be sorry contraptions of loose springs and stamped tin. Better to stick with the pictures. At the Jean Nouvel retrospective curated by Chantal Béret there are no models, no drawings—just images, perfect images, on the walls.

  • Jean Dubuffet, La Gigue Irlandaise (The Irish jig), 1961.

    Jean Dubuffet, La Gigue Irlandaise (The Irish jig), 1961.

    Jean Dubuffet

    Centre Pompidou
    Place Georges-Pompidou
    September 12–December 31, 2001

    The French are at their best when honoring their own. The grand centenary retrospective for Dubuffet is definitive, including more than 280 paintings and 100 drawings chosen by Daniel Abadie of the Jeu de Paume and Sophie Duplaix of the Pompidou. Though the earliest piece in the show dates from 1927, the exhibition takes off in coruscating style with his art brut work, only realized once the artist was already in his forties (a wine merchant’s career finally abandoned). All the great series are represented, from the fecund, unglamorous Corps de Dames cycle through the labyrinthine L’Hourloupe paintings to the airy Non-lieux of the year before his death in 1985. As a bonus, we also get to see reconstructed sets from the artist’s infrequently seen stage work Coucou Bazar.

  • William Eggleston, Untitled, 1966–71.

    William Eggleston, Untitled, 1966–71.

    William Eggleston

    Fondation Cartier Pour l'Art Contemporain
    261 boulevard Raspail
    November 20, 2001–February 24, 2002

    Easily the most influential color photographer in the US, Eggleston was also one of the first to make something out of nothing. Though Walker Evans staked a major claim in the territory of vernacular Americana, Eggleston digs deeper into the inconsequential and the commonplace. His photos, which look as casual as snapshots but pack an unexpected punch (emotional as well as formal), turn a trash-strewn yard, flaming barbecue grill, and countless isolated Southerners into emblems of the way we live now. That may be why his pictures have been touchstones for everyone from Nan Goldin to Andreas Gursky. Eggleston’s first Parisian retrospective gathers nearly 150 images, including a new body of work shot in Japan and commissioned for the show.

  • Gilles Saussier, Bengladesh, dos d'un paysan sans terre, 1999.

    Gilles Saussier, Bengladesh, dos d'un paysan sans terre, 1999.

    Des Territoires

    École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts
    14 rue Bonaparte
    October 9, 2001–December 30, 2002

    Over the past few years, Jean-François Chevrier’s seminars at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts dissecting the social and political implications of the visual arts have brought together students, historians, sociologists, and a handful of interested artists. Now the resulting research forms the basis of “Des Territoires.” The exhibition includes such figures as Jeff Wall and Giuseppe Penone as well as a number of lesser-known participants. In place of an exhibition catalogue, the fifth and final issue of Chevrier’s periodical Des territoires en revue is available. All five issues were published during the exhibition’s preparation and serve to document its conception and elaboration.

  • Hans-Peter Feldmann, untitled, n.d.

    Hans-Peter Feldmann, untitled, n.d.

    Hans-Peter Feldmann

    Fundació Antoni Tàpies
    Aragó 255
    November 22, 2001–January 27, 2002

    Museum Ludwig
    May 29–August 11, 2002

    Centre National de la Photographie
    Hôtel Salomon de Rothschild 11 rue Berryer
    February 20–May 13, 2002

    Hans-Peter Feldmann’s artistic bio commences with his decision to abandon painting in 1968; photographs, he stated, were “entirely sufficient” to convey the idea of his art. Out of a conceptual preoccupation with reproducible images came a trove of mass-media artifacts, amateur photos, and the artist’s own shots, all of which he categorizes and processes in booklets, posters, journals, and photographic series. This survey is intended as an overview of the transition from Feldmann’s approach in the ’70s—he is frequently touted as a forerunner of appropriation art—to the “social and political reality of the nineties.”