Parsons Paris Culture Picks: December

parsonsparis-culturepicks-decThe Art and Design History and Theory department at Parsons Paris presents its top anglo-friendly culture picks in Paris. We’ll be following events, exhibitions, performances, talks, screenings, conferences and more, highlighting the ‘must-sees’ for English speaking students, faculty members, and other members of the Parsons Paris community… and anyone else who might be interested! To complement the Parsons Paris curriculum, we’ve cross referenced each event with related ADHT course offerings or academic programs under the heading “Especially For”. All of Paris is your classroom!


WHAT: Sonia Delaunay: Les couleurs de l’abstraction (exhibition)
WHERE: Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris (11 Avenue du Président Wilson 75116 Paris)
WHEN: 17 October 2014 – 22 February 2015. Closed Mondays.
HOW MUCH: Full price: 11 € ; reduced rate: 8 € (bring your student ID and proof of age)
ESPECIALLY FOR: History of Design; History of Fashion; MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies…

Sonia Delaunay and her husband Robert were pioneers in abstract art and design, developing a color theory called Simulteneity. Sonia applied these experiments in color to a range of works from painting to illustration, to costume, fashion, textile and graphic design, developing a successful business in the interwar years that featured prominently in the 1925 Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs Industrielles Modernes associated with the “Art Deco” style. In this major retrospective at the Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, visitors can enjoy over 400 works spanning Sonia Delaunay’s art and design production, including large scale paintings, a comprehensive collection of textile designs, embroidered jackets and an illustrated artist’s book made in collaboration with the poet Blaise Cendrars. English wall text is provided.


WHAT: La Boheme, by Giacomo Puccini (opera)
WHERE: The Paris Opera, Bastille (Place de la Bastille 75012 Paris)
WHEN: Throughout December
HOW MUCH: Tickets starting from 5€ (standing room – on sale at the ticket desk 1.5 hrs before the performance); then 15€ – 214€ depending on seats. Season passes for under 28s available – see website for details.

For young artists looking for a particularly Parisian night at the opera, Puccini’s La Bohème is just the ticket. Set in Paris in the 1830s, this story of love and loss on the Left Bank centers around a small group of poverty-stricken friends living the bohemian life as struggling artists and intellectuals. But when Rodolfo falls in love with Mimi, even his faithful comrades can’t stop tragedy from striking and taking his lover from him.

Though the libretto is in Italian, that shouldn’t stop English-speakers from enjoying the performance; the Opera de Paris website provides ‘pre-performance reading’ in English and for a more comprehensive synopsis of the plot, check out the Metropolitan Opera in NY’s website.


WHAT: Inside (group exhibition)
WHERE: The Palais de Tokyo (13, avenue du Président Wilson, 75116 Paris)
WHEN: 20 Oct. 2014 – 11 January 2015
HOW MUCH: 8 € for students and teachers; 10 € full price
ESPECIALLY FOR: Art, Media and Technology; MFA Art and Technology…

Ever wanted to crawl through a giant environmental artwork made of scotch tape? Now’s your chance, with the collective Numen/For Use’s installation at the Palais de Tokyo’s group exhibition, ‘Inside.’ The exhibition aims to take us ‘inside’ literally, through a series of spatial experiences, and metaphorically, by provoking a psychological journey through our inner self. A full-immersion contemporary art experience that you don’t need to understand French to appreciate (though you can pick up an English-language explanatory flyer at the ticket desk).


WHAT: Cyrano de Bergerac (play)
WHERE: Théâtre Michel (38, rue des Mathurins 75008 Paris)
WHEN: December 7th, 14, 22nd, 28th, 29th
HOW MUCH: From 29 € for under 26s; from 44€ full price
ESPECIALLY FOR: anyone studying French

Theatre in Paris offers English speakers the opportunity to see a play in Paris and understand what’s happening on stage. They provide surtitles (like subtitles, but projected above, rather than below, the stage) and other services such as English programmes for a selection of plays in Paris. In December, you can see the French classic, Cyrano de Bergerac, just a short walk away from the Parsons Paris campus. What better way to improve your French than by watching Edmond Rostand’s classic love story about a man with a hideous nose, but a seductive way with words… Not only will you appreciate the musical French of Rostand’s alexandrines, but you’ll also understand them!


WHAT: Olafur Eliasson, Contact (exhibition)
WHERE: Fondation Louis Vuitton (8, Avenue du Mahatma Gandhi, Bois de Boulogne, 75116 Paris)
WHEN: 17 December 2014 – 16 February 2015
HOW MUCH: TBA – see website
ESPECIALLY FOR: Art, Media and Technology; MA History of Design and Curatorial Studies; MFA Art and Technology…

Everyone’s talking about Frank Ghery’s ambitious building for the Louis Vuitton Foundation. As if that weren’t reason enough to head to the Bois de Boulogne, this new contemporary art space will be featuring the Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson’s work Contact, which brings the mysteries of the universe into the gallery, questioning what lies beyond the limits of our understanding. Wall texts will be provided in English.

WHAT: Fashion Mix: French Fashion, Foreign Designers
WHERE: Musée de l’histoire de l’immigration, Palais de la Porte Dorée (293 avenue Daumesnil 75012 Paris)
WHEN: 9 December 2014 – 31st May 2015
ESPECIALLY FOR: History of Fashion, Fashion Department 

A joint collaboration by the Museum of Immigration and Paris’s fashion museum, the Musée Galliera, ‘Fashion Mix’ is an exploration of how immigrant designers and creative directors have transformed and broadened the boundaries of French fashion. In addition to garments from the Musée Galliera’s collection, archival documents will help trace the individual immigration stories of some of fashion’s most renowned figures. From English designers like Charles Frederick Worth in the 19th century, to the Italian and Spanish influence of Schiaparelli and Balenciaga, to the revolution brought by Japanese designers like Kenzo and Yohji Yamamoto (to name but a few), this exhibition shows how French fashion derives its richness, and its reputation, from a kaleidoscope of international sources.

WHAT: Mr. Turner (click to see trailer)
WHERE: Cinemas throughout Paris
WHEN: From 3rd December 2014
HOW MUCH: See cinema (student rates apply)
ESPECIALLY FOR: Art history enthusiasts, painters, cinephiles…

Mike Leigh’s period drama follows the life of painter J.M.W Turner, whose wistful seascapes he captures in the film’s breathtaking cinematography. Exploring not only Turner’s personal relationships (with his father, his housekeeper, his estranged family and his widowed lover in Margate), but also his relationship with his peers at the Royal Academy and the places and subjects he painted, this biopic – though not exactly a fast-paced action thrill-fest – offers us a glimpse into the psyche of an isolated, obsessive genius who would leave an indelible mark on art history. Tip: Always check that your local cinema is screening English films in VO (version originale – i.e. in English with French subtitles).


WHAT: TIME in Contemporary Art
WHERE: WICE office (10 rue Tiphaine 75015 Paris)
WHEN: 11 December 2014, 2:30-4:30pm
HOW MUCH: 30 €

WICE is a Paris-based organisation for continuing education, offering lectures and events in English. Led by multi-media artist Maggie Cardelus, this lecture will look at contemporary artworks that incorporate and question the concept of time, especially as we have come to understand it through media like film, photography and painting. This lecture is a perfect complement to Parsons Paris’ first year course, ‘Time’.


Compiled by Rebecca Cavanaugh, part-time faculty in ADHT. Learn more about the BA in Art and Design History and Theory (launching Fall 2015) and the MA History and Design of Curatorial Studies at Parsons Paris.