10 Paris Coolest Modern Art Exhibitions for your Inspiration

When artistic expression is who you are and what you do, there will unavoidably be times when your well of inspiration simply seems to have run dry. Whether the problem is writer’s block, a painter unmotivated to complete their latest piece or a photographer in search of new and moving subjects, sometimes the only cure needed is a healthy dose of third-party inspiration.

Enter Paris, France, one of the most beloved cultural centers in the world. With every type of artistic medium and form of expression represented the sights and sounds featured here are sure to inspire you to greatness!

1. Entrelacs by Al Weiwei

Entrelacs by Al Weiwei - Paris Art
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Well-known artistic photographer and social critic Al Weiwei’s exhibit dubbed “Entrelacs” combines some of his most riveting photos and video installations into a single show. Focusing on the social, cultural and economic conditions in modern China and their counterparts in France and the United States, Weiwei’s work ranges from beautiful Asian landscapes and architectural to raw, troubling pieces meant to stir emotion and create debate.

Considered raw and real enough to land him in a Chinese prison for three months in 2011, Weiwei’s photographs are sure to work those artistically inspiring feelings free within you.

2. Diane Arbus: Retrospective

2. Diane Arbus: Retrospective - Paris Art
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Featuring more than 200 photographs taken in and around New York City between 1960 and 1973, the American photographer Diane Arbus is honored in this restrospective exhibit featuring her fascination for the differences between us.

3. Degas et le nu

3. Degas et le nu - Paris Art
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A colorful figure, called everything from a sexual voyeur to a misogynist, painter and sculptor Edgar Degas represented something of a sordid figure among French people during his life.

Even among accusations of peeping at naked women through peepholes and open windows, Degas managed to make a name for himself for his breathtaking pieces and their audacious subject matter. Fans of graceful angles and delicate sculpture in general and the beauty of the female form in particular will find the “Degas et le nu” exhibit a lesson in both intricate expression and crossing social lines.

4. HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture

4. HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture - Paris Art
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Featuring modern works from more than sixty artists, the HEY! Modern Art & Pop Culture exhibition in Paris offers a look at pieces ranging from street art and comic book design to the beloved surrealist paintings of Clovis Trouille.

5. Animal Beauty: from Durer to Jeff Koons

5. Animal Beauty: from Durer to Jeff Koons - Paris Art
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The animal kingdom to which we belong offers an almost unending array of beauty and this has been noted by artists for tens of thousands of years, beginning with the early cave painters in Neolithic Europe and carrying on through modern times. To be hosted within the Grand Palais in spring of 2012, this huge exhibit features works of art with dates ranging from the Renaissance to today, including paintings, photographs, drawings and sculptures. The animal theme of the show takes viewers from intricate anatomy to sweeping panoramas, outlining both the beauty and the rawness of animals in the wild as seen by humankind.

6. Maarten Baas, les curiosites d’un designer

6. Maarten Baas, les curiosites d'un designer - Paris Art
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Displayed publicly in Paris for the first time is the art to be found in the original furniture designs of renowned wood and leather worker Maarten Baas.

7. Tim Burton: L’Exposition

7. Tim Burton: L'Exposition - Paris Art
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There is no denying that movie director Tim Burton has a unique mind and a keen eye for the deliciously strange and outlandish and people around the world have come to draw artistic inspiration of a thousand varieties from his films. Given Burton’s long and colorful career, the Cinematheque group has arranged to show the Tim Burton: L’Exposition exhibit in Paris after it was originally shown in New York City in 2009. Featuring drawings, sketches, film clips, storyboards and more, the exhibit tells the story of Burton’s work, from his humble beginnings to his reign as the neo-gothic fantasy king of Hollywood.

8. Goudmalion

8. Goudmalion - Paris Art
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This restrospective exhibit, hosted by the Museum of Decorative Arts, celebrates the work of modern artist Jean-Paul Goude, a former illustrator for Esquire magazine and hailed as the inspiration for Kodak’s visual identity.

9. Neon: Who’s afraid of red, yellow and blue?

9. Neon: Who's afraid of red, yellow and blue? - Paris Art
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Fans of modern art are surely aware of the effect that neon lighting has had on not only streetscapes, but art galleries as well, and the Maison Rouge art house in Paris is counting on that to draw visitors to its latest exhibition. Covering neon-based works of art from the 1950s through today, this show will spend a full three months showing off the work of notable artists such as Jean-Michael Alberola and Dan Flavin among other masters of light mischief with artistic license.

10. Mathematics: A Sudden Uprooting

10. Mathematics: A Sudden Uprooting - Paris Art
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Combining the elegance of modern mathematics with the beauty of modern art, this exhibit offers the results of a joint effort between mathematicians and artists in an attempt to reveal the true aesthetic dimension of numbers and equations.

Planning an art trip to Paris? Here are some traveling information for you:

Now, to conclude, there’s nothing more inspiring than a great trip and there’s no more inspiring city than Paris, so if you are planning to go, make the most of your experience!

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