"Joris-Karl Huysmans Art Critic. From Degas to Grünewald, in the Eye of Francesco Vezzoli" exhibition at the Musée d'Orsay ©musée d'Orsay/Sophie Crépy

Contemporary Art Program at the Orsay and the Orangerie Museums

The Museums invite contemporary artists to create exhibitions, installations and cultural programming. Inspired by the Museums’ collections, they share their special viewpoints with the public in innovative ways, that emphasize the relevance of Impressionist works to our contemporary world.

At the Musée d’Orsay:

The program highlights the richness of the collections in a new fluid form of presentation and finds inspiration in painting, sculpture, decorative arts, photography, and architecture. The works exposed are eloquent witnesses of a period of dramatic change in the arts, in a rapidly changing world of industrialization, mass migrations into the cities, innovation, and democratization… the beginning of modernity. The contemporary programming employs a variety of formats in the Museum’s gallery spaces and online that range from podcasts and videos to exhibitions, to conferences, and installations. The world’s most important collection of works from the 19th and early 20th century remains relevant to today’s artists and enchanted visitors.

Throughout 2020…


Early 2020, Italian artist and moviemaker Francesco Vezzoli brings his own eye on Huymans’ career and conceives a striking installation for the scenography of the exhibition “Huysmans Art Critic, from Degas to Grünewald”. Spring and Summer projects will be carried out by one of the most prominent living American artists: Paul McCarthy.  Paul McCarthy, who has cited works from the Orsay in many of his drawings and films, gives his own perception of the Museum by conceiving an exclusive drawing project as part of the Orsay’s summer programming dedicated to drawing.
In the Fall, French artist Laurent Grasso creates a film projected on the two towers of the nave in dialogue with the lead exhibition of the season: The Origins of the World. Darwin and the invention of Nature.  Filled with references to the works displayed in the exhibition, this monumental project, three years in the making, immerses visitors into the atmosphere of an ever-changing world and constant transformed nature and highlights the evolution between 19th-century and contemporary concerns.
As part of a special collaboration with the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, leading Paris-based international design duo M/M (Paris) engages in a conversation between the works of visionary artists such as Guimard and their own collaborations in art, fashion, and culture. It results in a newly design drawing project on the Musée d’Orsay.

At the Musée de l’Orangerie:

The Musée de l’Orangerie reserves two spaces  for modern and contemporary works to infuse the collections with today’s energy. One gallery is integrated into the Jean Walter- Paul Guillaume permanent collection in a fascinating exchange between the past and our present via painting, sculpture, graphic arts, audio and film installations. The second space outside of the permanent collection is in dialogue with Monet’s masterpiece:  New contemplative and spiritual creations flow from his fabled “Waterlilies” across all media (painting, photography, sculpture, installations…).

Throughout 2020…

For the reopening of the Museum’s permanent collections in the Spring 2020, American artist Roni Horn, conceives a project focusing on her long-time research subject:  the variability of perception and identity – key themes dear to Monet.
The work of German New York-based artist Janaina Tschäpe unfolds through drawing, painting, photography, and video. She creates ecosystems in which life develops, flourishes, dies and is sometimes reborn. At the Orangerie Museum, she explores the infinite possibilities of the video and meets Monet’s ambitions in transcribing an exuberant nature beyond representation.

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