New book takes you inside Paris’ contemporary art scene

Matt Wagner is the founder, owner and curator of Hellion Gallery in Portland, Oregon. A veteran art director, gallery owner and curator, his third book surveying the international contemporary art scene is titled “The Tall Trees of Paris.” In it, Wagner reveals how the City of Light, and the artists working there, captivated and inspired him.

Ahead of the release of his latest book with Overcup Press – his previous books include “The Tall Trees of Tokyo “(2012) and “The Tall Trees of Portland” (2014) – Wagner gave LLNYC a special preview of his work and discussed his relationship with the art scene in Paris.

“The artists of Paris are in a constant state of metamorphosis, while the city around them remains a postcard frozen in time,” Wagner writes. “Reinvention is the mother of the contemporary art movement. Nowhere is this more apparent than in Paris, a city so rich with history and so full of centuries-old art that it can be easy to overlook the present.”

“Discovering these contemporary artists was my mission when creating The Tall Trees of Paris, as well as all of the books in the Tall Trees series, which have documented Tokyo, Japan and Portland, Oregon in the same way.

My methods are simple: a studio visit leads to conversation over cocktails, and cocktails lead to dinner, and dinner results in being led through the city by the artists who know Paris as only artists can. I should emphasize that stumbling through the language and the spider web of streets in Paris is mandatory—uncovering awesomeness requires being there to actually experience it.

In “The Tall Trees of Paris” you will meet 42 artists, some renowned and some still waiting to be discovered. Each one shares their art as well as their city through a handwritten questionnaire, where the artwork is a handshake and the questionnaire is an invitation to the secret backroom. The old city still has hidden treasures to unveil, but it takes a guide to find them. Artists are the people in the know and “The Tall Trees of Paris” will pass that knowledge and beauty onto you.”

Matt Wagner’s “The Tall Trees of Paris is available for pre-order at Overcup Press.