The New York Times’s travel blog, Globespotting, talks to the founder of Galeries Lafayette’s Galeries des Galeries where a show of Contemporary art is about to close:
GG, as the gallery is known, is the brainchild of Guillaume Houzé, the great-great-grandson of the store’s founder, and a passionate art lover. Currently showing, through Jan. 9, is Antidote 5, the fifth edition of a museum-style exhibition which Mr. Houzé organizes annually, in conjunction with FIAC, the Parisian contemporary art fair. This year he became a formal partner with FIAC, and created a new art prize, the Prix Lafayette, which was awarded in October to the American artist Carol Bove.
“I consider this space a laboratory, where my ambition is to show what is happening today in contemporary art to the general public,’’ Mr. Houzé said. “I want to bring art to the people, and as they come into a shop without fear I can then take the opportunity to introduce them to art — unlike in a gallery which can be intimidating.”
Antidote 5 is a quiet, contemplative experience, worlds apart from the holiday-season hustle and bustle of the store’s sales space. In the show, 10 young artists reflect on the notions of time, memory, absence, the image and the conditions of its manifestation and perception.
An astute businessman — after joining the management team a year ago, he now runs the store’s marketing division — Mr. Houzé says that the art, though not for sale, serves a commercial purpose too. “As a retail dinosaur we have to bring something theatrical to the shopping experience,” he said. “If it’s not interesting, why would people come?”
In Paris, Art Invades Commerce (Globespotting/New York Times)