If you’re staying in Paris over the next two months, we feel sorry for you. Amongst the hoards of hyper-enthusiastic tourists who wear hiking shoes to negotiate the treacherous streets and perfectly manicured gardens, you will feel discontent and alone in your aesthetically pleasing footwear. But before you throw yourself into the Wine Seine, take solace in this pretty extensive list of the best exhibitions on offer this summer. (For maximum relief, visit during the late night hours on offer)

Print it out and carry it around with you. For the next few weeks, it’s your only friend in Paris.

You’re welcome.

DYNAMO – a century of light and movement in art 1913-2013

This exhibition examines the manipulation of light and colour as the art object, and features 150 renowned modern and contemporary artists including Giacomo Balla, Robert Delaunay, Marcel Duchamp, and Anish Kapoor. The focus as you move through this huge space is in fact the power of perception in forming the works themselves, which at times it feels a little like a theme park though never falls into a gimmicky experience, thanks to the curating and scope of the work presented; it is frightening, hallucinogenic and ceaselessly interesting.

Crowd: Otherwise intelligent people taking incessant amounts of selfies

Where: Grand Palais

Until: July 22nd (closing soon!)

Late night: Wednesdays until 10pm


Mueck’s sculptures are arresting in their insanely meticulous detail, yet unsettling in their subtle disproportion. You will find yourself easily passing an hour in this exhibition that’s actually comprised of only nine works and a film depicting Mueck’s incredibly arduous process of creation. Try tearing yourself away from it, I dare you.

Crowd: Serious art people with their serious art children

Where: Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain

Until: October 27th
Late night: Tuesdays until 10pm


CHAGALL – between war and peace

Chagall holds a unique place in the canon of art history, and this collection of his works is characteristically sound and sure to please many an aficionado and layman, alike. However, we present this exhibition with a small warning: whilst Chagall used vibrant colour, there is often a sombre and haunted tone to his work that completely cuts through this initial sense of vitality. Essentially, his view of the world was often pretty messed up, so this is not an exhibition to see on a bad day. Though if you do want to give it a go, you can at least mend your disenchanted spirit with the overpriced but delectable patisseries at Angelina’s (annex to the museum), followed by a good sunbake in the Luxembourg gardens; all necessary parts of the art experience.

Crowd: Your mum

Where: Musee National de Luxembourg

Until: July 21st (closing soon!)

Late night: Fridays and Mondays until 10pm

KEITH HARING – the political line

Keith Haring’s energetic, patterned, hieroglyphic style that he took to the streets of New York and Paris in the 1970s and 80s is highly recognisable. You’ve probably seen your cool uncle wearing his Keith Haring t-shirt at Christmas time, but without realising that it was depicting a socio-political statement on the oppression of The Man, capitalism, religion, mass media, racism, drugs, or the 1980s AIDS epidemic in America. Super festive. With a huge collection of his paintings, sculptures, as well as documentary films about the artist, this exhibition makes no apologies for focusing on Haring’s political conscience that fuelled much of his work, and rightly so.

Crowd: Art babes; graffiti babes; general babes

Where: Musée d’Art modern de la Ville de Paris

Until: Until August 18th
Late night: Wednesdays until 10pm


Curated by the outrageous-cape-wearing contributing editor at American Vogue, André Leon Talley, this exceptional selection of some fifty dresses from the world’s most revered designers, chronicles the evolution and intangible allure of the LBD over the last two centuries.

Crowd: Disinterested boyfriends mentally forming their ‘recompensation’ list for enduring this hour [max.] of pain.

Where: Mona Bismark American Centre for art and culture

Until: September 22nd



The majority of Lichtenstein’s work represents his satirical criticisms of commercial art, artists and artistic theory. He was unapologetically hypocritical in this disapproval of the art world he co-inhabits, which makes him kind of a prick. However, he was very successful in his time and therefore was clearly a man of great instinct. And this is perhaps why he was able to create some of the most recognisable pieces of contemporary art, and remains to be so famous the world over. Go see for yourself.

Crowd: Fabulous graphic women (who wear only black and white draped clothing with stark red lipstick, accompanied by asymmetrical hair and Swedish eyeglasses); overtired tourists taking up all the seats

Where: Pompidou Centre

Until: November 4th
Late night: Thursdays until 11pm


After leaving the Lichtenstein exhibition, you’ll see the shiny gift shop and the entrance for this retrospective. Now it’s not a matter of choosing between the two; go to the exhibition first and satisfy your needs for useless pop-art paraphernalia in half an hour, you won’t regret it. Hantaï’s fascinating artistic career spanned from surrealism to abstract expressionism, though his most charming works are those that examined the interplay of pure chance and the artist’s hand at work. These pieces involved Hantaï crumpling, folding or knotting his canvasses, painting them in these random forms and then unravelling them to reveal studies of colour and non-colour. Without saying anything else, Hantaï’s work is remarkable, and this exhibition is outstanding.

Crowd: Confused people looking for the Lichtenstein exhibition

Where: Pompidou Centre

Until: September 2nd
Late night: Thursdays until 11pm


The work of the wonderful contemporary artist, Lorna Simpson, draws on themes of memory and reality to firmly question traditional assumptions of identity surrounding class, race and gender. Simpson’s photo series and films are intensely engaging yet so simple, and they manage to pleasantly maintain a sense of aesthetics, whilst avoiding any use of shock-tactics; something relatively exceptional in contemporary art.

Crowd: Stereotypes are an oversimplification of individuals’ identities

Where: Jeu de Paume

Until: September 1st

Late night: Tuesdays until 9pm

Bonus Round of honourable mentions:

-        HEY! Modern art and pop culture – Halle Saint-Pierre until August 23rd
-        EUGÈNE BOUDIN – The Jacquemart-André Museum until July 22nd
-        NOUVELLES VAGUES – Palais de Tokyo until September 9th
-        SAY WATT? The cult of the sound system – Gaite Lyrique until August 25th
-        L’ART NOUVEAU The decorative revolution – Pinacothèque de Paris until September 8th

Text and photos by Sophie Joy Wright

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