Richard Serra in Paris : a walk in Grand Palais and Tuileries gardens

Monumenta is a special artistic event in Paris, confronting art and architecture : it shows a work specially created by a contemporary artist to match wit the huge and beautiful Grand Palais glass roof . This glass and steel cathedral was built by architect Henri Deglane for the 1900 universal exhibition. It has been recently renovated, and the first Monumenta occurred last year with an installation by Anselm Kiefer.

For Monumenta 2008, Richard Serra created Promenade

Though it was raining cats and dogs yesterday afternoon in Paris, it did not prevent tourists to take pictures sheltered under their umbrella. So, as you can see, I did the same.

And what better place to take a walk than the Grand Palais nave ?

The artist’s idea was to work on uprightness, so he has erected five huge steel rectangles aiming to the glass roof, disposed along a median line, though they are not exactly perpendicular to the ground. And visitors walking around look tiny.

If you get closer, perspective changes, and you discover that the surface is not plain nor even, but veined with different shades.

As Richard Serra says : “My work mostly deals with wandering and looking, but I can’t tell anyone how to walk or how to look.” Some like to touch it too.

Monumenta 2008 closes on June 15, but should you miss it, you still have the whole summer and fall to experiment another walk with Richard Serra‘s work. You just have to go down the Champs-Elysées avenue, cross place de la Concorde and enter Tuileries gardens.

You go through Clara-Clara, which was designed in 1983 for this particular location, but had been removed since. 25 five years later, visitors seem much more receptive to this experience. And this is good news.

Its curbed lines enhance the straight perspective from Arc de Triomphe to Louvre. Just as Promenade, it is both a sculpture and an installation, and the movement, scale and changing point of view of the visitor is part of the work.

Monumenta 2008, up to June 15, Nef du Grand Palais, Main entrance, Avenue Winston Churchill, 75008 Paris metro Champs-Elysées-Clémenceau. 10 to 19 Mondays and Wednesdays, 10 to 23 Thursday to Sunday. Closed on Tuesday. Entrance 4 euros. Special events on Saturday nights : Saturday June 7 at 19.30, concert : Etudes and other works for Solo Piano by Philip Glass. Saturday June 14 at 19.30, sound surrounding by Motus. More information on :

Clara-Clara will be part of the outdoor modern sculpture exhibition in the Tuileries gardens, up to November 3, entrance place de la Concorde, metro Concorde (way out towards Jeu de Paume and Orangerie museums). Free entrance, open daily up to sunset.


2 responses to “Richard Serra in Paris : a walk in Grand Palais and Tuileries gardens

  1. Let me know if you are getting these messages. I’ve sent three. I love the way the French have embraced really contemporary architecture, and made it work.

  2. I got this one, thank you,
    and I hope that we will keep progressing.

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