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This month, David Zwirner’s inaugural exhibition will feature new works by the American artist Raymond Pettibon. The show is the artist’s 11th with the gallery and his first presentation in Paris since 1995, highlighting recurring figures and new subjects. Whitewaller spoke with the gallery’s director, Justine Durrett, about the not-to-miss show and what she’s up to in Paris during FIAC.
WHITEWALLER: The new 8,600-square-foot ground-floor space is immersed in Parisian art history. It is also expanding upon the gallery’s contemporary ethos in Europe for the first time. How do you feel about the juxtaposition of old and new?
JUSTINE DURRETT: It exemplified so much of what excites us about Paris—a city where history meets the present. Paris has for centuries been one of the most vibrant cities in Europe for the visual arts, and has become even more central in recent years. The museums, both historic and contemporary, are extraordinary, and we are thrilled to join the cultural repertoire of the city. There has been significant interest in Paris in the gallery’s artists for decades—most recently, the Franz West retrospective at the Centre Pompidou last year. Many of our artists don’t have representation in France, so we are especially excited by this opportunity to showcase their work to a new and wider audience. We also have a gallery in London—the first international outpost of David Zwirner, opened in Mayfair in 2012—and look forward to having a location in Europe to complement the success of our U.K. outpost.
WW: The gallery was first occupied by the gallerist Yvon Lambert and, more recently, by VNH Gallery. It was the first contemporary art outpost in the neighborhood. What is most exciting to the gallery about continuing this legacy?
JD: There was a certain amount of serendipity in this spectacular building becoming available at this time—a building with a storied history, and unparalleled architecture for showcasing modern and contemporary art. It’s inspiring to be continuing the legacy of 108 rue Vieille du Temple, where so many landmark exhibitions have taken place over the past three decades.
WW: Pettibon’s show for the gallery’s debut is the artist’s first show in Paris since 1995. What can we expect to see?
JD: The works on view will feature both entirely new subjects for the artist as well as characters and themes that Pettibon has returned to often. Recurring figures and themes include baseball, U.S. presidents, animals, totalitarian dictators, and waves, among others. Although Pettibon has not shown in Paris since 1995, his work is widely collected and admired here, so we are thrilled that his 11th exhibition with David Zwirner will be in here in Paris.
WW: What are you looking forward to seeing or doing during FIAC?
JD: FIAC is always a special time for the gallery and we have long-standing relationships with many Paris-based French and European collectors. We look forward to celebrating FIAC and the opening of our new gallery with them and the Paris arts community this October. We have a great lineup at our FIAC booth this year, presenting works by Lucas Arruda, Sherrie Levine, and Wolfgang Tillmans. I’m also very much looking forward to seeing Yayoi Kusama’s installation on Place Vendôme.