Galerie Ropac’s ’30 Years Paris’ Brings Together Rauschenberg, Baselitz, Elizabeth Peyton

The pandemic has shifted, and will continue to shift the art world towards a new more virtual existence. But Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac debuted all the way back before there was even an internet, something that has become rather hard to even fathom, now that images are digitally zipped back and forth in a matter of seconds.

Indeed, the gallery first hung out its shingle in the gloriously historic Austrian city of Salzburg (“The hills are alive…”) in 1983, with a focus on the intersection of American art and cinema. Seven years later, at a new space in Paris’s still burgeoning at the time Marais district, the Christian Leigh curated exhibition Vertigo opened, which carried on with that very same mission.

“From the first day in October 1990, when I opened my one-floor gallery in the Marais,” founder Thaddaeus Ropac recalls, “I felt embraced and welcomed by a very unique Parisian art world—one that offered us the ideal ecosystem to present works by a very wide range of artists to a curious, enthusiastic and discerning audience.”

Anselm Kiefer, Für Walther von der Vogelweide – under der Linden an der Heide, 2019. Emulsion, oil paint, acrylic, shellac, chalk on canvas, 280 x 380 cm (110,24 x 149,61 in). © Anselm Kiefer / VG Bildkunst, Bonn 2020. Photo: Georges Poncet.

And so the Galerie Ropac is set to celebrate its 30th anniversary this fall, with a head-spinning new show pithily titled 30 Years Paris, at its current space in Paris’ possible next art-hot neighborhood of Pantin. The collected pieces span the generations, crossing from the 20th Century decisively into the 21st. So long-venerated works by Joseph Beuys, Rosemarie Castoro, Donald Judd and Robert Rauschenberg will sit beside more recent paintings by Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer, Elizabeth Peyton and Yan Pei-Ming. Especially intriguing are new works by Ali Banisadr, Adrian Ghenie, Daniel Richter…even Robert Longo, which were created exclusively for this exhibition.

Also featured will be VALIE EXPORT’s Geburtenbett [Birth Bed], originally shown in the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1980…and which has never been shown in Paris.

Ropac concludes, “The last 30 years in Paris have been incredibly inspiring, challenging, rewarding and, most importantly, particularly stimulating for the artists. I feel very privileged to have worked with many great artists, and I am deeply grateful to them for offering us exhibitions that have become legendary. It has been a joy to evolve in a cosmopolitan city that embraces art and culture with an intense international resonance.”

The show 30 Years Paris opens December 6 at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris Pantin, and be on exhibit through June 2021. Please forgive us if we at least hold out hope that the European travel restrictions have been lifted long before then.

VALIE EXPORT, Geburtenbett, 1980. Wedge, rusty construction steel; bed part: bare construction steel profiles with bed springs, bed springs doused with polyester; women’s legs: glass fibre reinforced synthetic resin; upholstery part: chrome nickel steel; fluorescent tubes: red ruby glass; video: Holy Consecration (part of a Roman Catholic mass, represented by a priest in a church), sound, monitor, DVD, looped, 150 x 470 x 165 cm. © VALIE EXPORT / ADAGP Paris, 2020. Photo: Ben Westoby.

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