Have you done the Louvre, the Musée d’Orsay, L’Orangerie, Musée Marmottan Monet, and nearly all the other famous art galleries and museums in Paris?
So now is time to visit one of the busiest shopping streets in Paris, 59 Rivoli. A unique spark of creativity amidst the usual collection of clothing and shoe stores. This building cannot be ignored!
The front walls of the building are constantly changing, covered in balloons, streamers, and banners, and for a time they featured an enormous face sculpted into the facade. Artists took over this abandoned former bank and made it a hotspot of urban culture and contemporary creation. The place is a silly response to the commercial hustle of the city center.
The 59 Rivoli with 30 artist studios is open to the public 6 days a week. Young people who don't have an art studio settled this unused building in order to work there.
On November 1, 1999, the KGB (Kalex, Gaspard, Bruno), managed to open up the cemented-over door of 59 rue de Rivoli in Paris. The building had been abandoned by the Crédit Lyonnais and the French state for 15 years. A dozen artists showed up to lend a hand in the clean-up which was a mess full of dead pigeons, syringes, rubble, etc. The purpose of this operation was threefold: revive an unused empty place, create a place for artists to create, live and expose, prove the validity of a cultural alternative.
There are 20 permanent artists in the building, as well as ten positions for temporary residents. These residents stay for between three and six months at a time.
This formula has generated popular enthusiasm of tens of thousands of visitors each year, sometimes as many as 4,000 visitors a week coming for expos, concerts, as well as studio visits, and the 59 Rivoli, has become one of the three most visited sites of contemporary art in Paris, one of the ten most visited places in France.
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