when street art gathers… off the street

Full every Saturday all next week and even until next February! The exhibition “Capital(s), 60 years of urban art in Paris” attracts visitors to the Hôtel de Ville. More than 2,000 people have flocked there every day since it opened in mid-October. Of course, this retrospective is free, which may partly explain the enthusiasm – you just have to book a visit online – but that’s not it! Other exhibitions, such as Jef Aérosol’s exhibition at the Mathgoth gallery in the 13th arrondissement, which ended on November 5, attracted more than 18,000 visitors in six weeks. The stencil artist, whose fresco, the giant self-portrait making the “shhh” gesture in Place Stravinsky, is known to all Parisians and beyond, “claims the popular nature of this event, which attracts thousands of people, many of them far from anyone. I am not familiar with galleries and museums.

The more secret Roadmap street art event (only 6-7 slots per day in groups of 10) in the 6th arrondissement, which runs until December 23, has been full from week to week.

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Jacques Villegle, “Rue de Rennes”, April 1987, torn posters mounted on canvas, 210 x 156 cm 82 5/8 x 61 3/8 in

(Courtesy GP and N Vallois Gallery, Paris)

The opening day of the “Urban de Paname” show, Friday, was also sold out (2,000 seats). The old Saint-Ouen ice rink has been transformed into the works of thirty artists, some famous as Banksy, Kaws, Invader… Great works like Laurent Perbos’ inverted basketball pyramid or giant playmobils. Jean Samuel Halifi will surely surprise visitors to this former sports facility.

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A history of street art in Paris City Hall

In the Saint-Jean room of the Hôtel de Ville, where spectacular works are often presented, including photographs and videos of 28 in situ and 65 artists, all very well known, the public is very heterogeneous. It ranges from ages 7 to 77, older people accompanying their grandchildren, and other retirees who come simply because they are street art enthusiasts.


Set, “Graffiti boy”, 2017, acrylic and aerosol spray on canvas, 195 x 130 cm.


Everyone discovers a very clear chronological route followed by the curators of “Capital(s)”, gallery owner Magda Danysz, Nicolas Laugero Lasserre, street art barge Fluctuart, artist Marko 93 and creator Elise Herszkowicz. Art Azoï Association, which manages the walls dedicated to urban art in the east of Paris. Visitors depart from 1970s stencils such as Ernest Pignon Ernest or Jacques Villegle, a follower of torn posters, then stand in Stalingrad Square or the grounds of Bretonneau Hospital to watch the passage of time (18th). From 1990 to 1997 and ending up with big names known worldwide today, such as Banksy, JR, JonOne, Invader, Shepard Fairey or Vhils.

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We move from stencils, graffiti to other mediums like mosaics or these chalk drawings by Philippe Baudelocque. We admire the pieces created for the exhibition, such as this real red light standing in the center of the room and its shadow cast by Zeus, this contemporary stained glass window depicting a child, naïve, Seth behind, or the all-white one by Romain Froquet, striped with large graphic and dynamic blue lines room. Exhibition with a short ambiguous passage that recalls the arrival of labels in the 1980s. The scene was very well received, in addition, the city hall launched a big plan last March to stop this phenomenon (500 stickers were removed every day).

Throughout the course, visitors are constantly taking photos with their cell phones, and for some with their cameras:. Street art has changed its size thanks to social networks that provide a growing audience and allow it to become more ephemeral.

Explosions in six apartments

We find this reflex of shooting with explosions at the Road Map event held in a building on the very chic rue de Bucy (6th). Since 2021, the association responsible for the “Festival of Colors”, which has been held twice in Paris in vast unused spaces, has invested in six apartments awaiting renovation by real estate company Stan Roc.


André, Untitled “I paint with my own blood” autographed canvas. 1997 Spray can on canvas 215 x 240 cm Collection Gallizia Paris.


Last September, twenty-five street artists were invited to create in kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms; on the walls and ceiling, using a spray or stencil, they painted a giant fox, a flight of migratory birds, or a pine forest rising to the ceiling and being consumed by fire (Selor’s work). The visit is by appointment in groups of ten people walking upstairs (don’t be afraid to climb the stairs). A guide leads the troop and leaves about ten “free” minutes after each presentation so people can take pictures at their leisure.

Visitors, all street art lovers, of all ages, experience the feeling of exploring abandoned places, doing “urbex”, from bedrooms decorated with mottos and puns written by Petite, to kitchens decorated with round mice like String bubbles. Poisson. Also judging the relevance of the work in the rooms of the apartments, for example, these migratory birds flying to the window by Citrus. Because urban art is based on the adequacy of work and site in its natural environment, on the street, which Banksy, for example, plays very well, and which is not always found in an indoor exhibition…


Ash, “Vandal”, graffiti from the steppes of Stalingrad, Paris, 1985.


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