Arts and sports, the essential duo of the Olympic year

« Leatherboys » (2018), de Louka Anargyros, au FRAC Sud. LOUKA ANARGYROS & SEPTIEME GALLERY/DAVID STJERNHOLM

In Paris alone, the number of projects labeled Cultural Olympiad is dizzying: 454, all disciplines combined, or almost half of the total projects financially supported by this artistic and cultural program which runs until September throughout France. As for exhibitions, the capital, epicenter of the excitement, main site of the Olympic Games (JO), concentrates around a hundred, very heterogeneous. Labeled or not (like the Gagosian gallery which took the initiative of offering, in its two Parisian addresses, an exhibition on the iconography of sport), does this plethoric offer meet the expected audience? Or would these exhibitions mixing art and sport be the wrong idea for the summer of 2024, with visitors saturated with Olympic news?

“There is never a bad subject, it’s the way you approach it that is relevant or not. Sport offers here an opportunity to break down the barriers between disciplines, but artists have always accustomed us to open ourselves to different fields, from mathematics to cooking, including skateboarding”, responds Fabien Danesi, director of the FRAC (Regional Contemporary Art Fund) of Corsica, and curator of the thirteen “Art & sport” exhibitions produced by the RMN-Grand Palais, supported by the ministries of culture and sports, through French regions. Skateboarding will be in the spotlight in front of the Center Pompidou, which invited the artist Raphaël Zarka to deploy, from June 22, a new wooden sculpture which is none other than a skatepark.

Overall, it is therefore a matter of looking on a case-by-case basis. Among the most general public exhibitions are “SPOT24”, organized by Paris je t’aime (the name of the Paris tourist office) and the Olympic Museum of Lausanne, which puts the spotlight on the new Olympic disciplines (breaking, climbing, BMX, surfing, etc.), linked to urban cultures. The exhibition, for a fee (10 euros) in a new location near the Eiffel Tower, has already welcomed “ between 25,000 and 30,000 visitors » according to the organizers since its opening at the beginning of April, around 350 people per day, which is not huge, but the peak should logically arrive with the spectators of the Olympic Games.

A hint of opportunism

At the Luxembourg Museum (6e), accustomed to hosting exhibitions devoted to women artists, photography and painting of the 20the century, the big gap is disconcerted with the “Match” exhibition, on design and sport, also part of the Cultural Olympiad. No queue in front of this museum placed under the supervision of the Senate, with 21,000 visitors recorded since March 13, but a “special sportsman” offer, with a free place for a place purchased, upon presentation of a travel card. member of a club or sports association.

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