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Contemporary Art in Lyon: 10 Things to Do
Artstyle 21 May 2015

Contemporary Art in Lyon: 10 Things to Do

For many years, Lyon had an austere image. Yet it is a city brimming with creativity. With the birth ofLyon Contemporary Art Space (ELA) in 1976 (replaced by the MAC) and the Institute of Contemporary Art (IAC) in 1978, the city has returned to the center stage of contemporary art. Today, with the internationally renowned Biennale, an exhibition dedicated to contemporary art, dynamic galleries and a plethora of creative spaces, the importance of contemporary art in Lyon is well established.

10 Famous places for contemporary art in Lyon chosen by Artsper.

1. Museum of Contemporary Art in Lyon

The MAC Lyon is a global exception; it is the only museum to have no permanent exhibition. Every 3 months, the museum has a new look and is radically transformed as it welcomes a new temporary exhibition. With its fully modular space, it is designed to be completely available to the artists.

Be careful, since it is only temporary exhibitions, the museum is regularly closed between two events.

2. Institute of Contemporary Art – Villeurbanne / Rhône-Alpes

Located in Villeurbanne, 15 minutes from downtown Lyon, ICA is the meeting place of the New Museum and the FRAC Rhône-Alpes. It holds works from renowned artists (Alighiero Boetti, Daniel Buren, Yona Friedman and more) and other more emerging artists.

3. Biennial of Contemporary Art in Lyon

Venice Biennale does not claim to have shows like Frieze and FIAC, but it has more than once revealed very promising artists. Through its director Thierry Raspail (also director of MAC), it has now acquired its credentials on the European art scene.

For its 13th edition, to be held from September 10 to January 3, 2016, the Lyon Biennale will be commissioned by Ralph Rugoff (director of the Hayward Gallery in London) and will host sixty artists from 27 countries worldwide. An event not to be missed!

4. The remains of chaos

Abode of Chaos, DDC, the Organ Museum and Post-Apocalyptic Decor. These names refer to the same place: a former post of the seventeenth century where the walls were gutted, charred, assistant of architectural elements and painted in dark colors. This is Thierry Ehrmann, Artprice’s founder, who designed this space where we find remains of meteorites, a helicopter that crashed to the ground, charred skeletons of cars, giant inscriptions painted on the walls, threatening sculptures of rusty weapons, fire relics, beams and concrete structures of blockhouses, monumental skulls in the trees and more.

5. École nationale des beaux-arts de Lyon

In partnership with the School of Advanced Social Science Studies in Paris, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Lyon hosts a program called “Contemporary Art and the History of Time.” Lectures, discussions and exhibitions on contemporary art are planned. And that’s not counting the constantly renewed exhibitions by students of the school. Find the program here.

6. Confluence Museum

The Museum of Confluence, at the junction of the Saone and the Rhone, is a building with a futuristic look which reopened in 2014. The Natural History Museum likes to transgress its first mission which is to welcome art in all its forms; concerts, contemporary art exhibitions, etc.

Find the program here.

7. Art in the City

Like any self-respecting creative city, Lyon has a thriving heritage of street-art scattered throughout the city. To find a selection of the finest works of Lyon urban art, visit here

8. The banks of the Saône

The Saône is a river that joins the Rhone in Lyon. All along its banks, a contemporary art program emerged: “Over the water, River Movie”. This is a time-passing metaphor of life that flows with its meetings and its hazards; the river becomes the place of a legend where anything can happen.

Invited to make proposals, thirteen contemporary artists of international stature have imagined a specific plan, each in different points of the route.Echoing an environment to a singular context for different uses and history, large or small, each area allows a unique artistic experience.

9. 360 m3: Contemporary Art Gallery

A place dedicated to contemporary art, the temple of creative freedom and a creative emulation space, 360 m3 is enough to make your head spin. With a 360m3 volume, the gallery hosts 8 exhibitions a year with 2 to 3 artists who appropriate the place complete in total autonomy. It is dedicated to emerging contemporary art, often choosing its artists directly from the Fine Arts schools.

Find the program here

10. Lyon Parc Auto

Lyon has a tradition to go in search of new audiences for art. Here we must welcome the remarkable initiative of Lyon Parc Auto that decided to install contemporary art in all the car parks in the city. They have become a well-known in Europe for the clean car parks that are safe, broadcast classical music and the works of art. An artistic experience that is continuous in this city that is full of surprises.

11. The Artsper Gallery partners

The Françoise Besson Gallery, the Elisabeth Couturier Gallery, the Lights and Shades Gallery, the Twenty two Gallery and the SBK Gallery are the Artsper gallery partners. Do not miss their shows; you can watch the news directly on the Artsper page.