15 Minutes with Katell Jaffrès

Design | Sep 2017 | BY Tali Jaffe

Paris-based curator Katell Jaffrès has spent a lot of time in Chicago of late. In the first of a series of satellite exhibitions produced by Palais de Tokyo, the museum has chosen Chicago to inaugurate the U.S. edition of the Hors Les Murs program. We chat with Jaffres, who curated the group exhibition—which includes emerging artists from both the French and Chicago art scenes, focusing on the dialogue between architecture and artistic process—along with guest designer Andrew Schachman at the famed Roundhouse at the DuSable Museum.

Palais de Tokyo’ s first satellite exhibition will take place during Expo Chicago and the opening of the Architecture Biennial. Why was this the ideal time and place for the museum?
A major fair and a very interesting Biennale dedicated to architecture, makes an international art event. This situation, bringing input and interest on a particular scene is a great opportunity to present artists from the French scene in dialogue with the Chicago art scene. This exhibition is part of an original off site programme which Palais de Tokyo is undertaking with the Institut français in 2017-2019 on an international scale.

Do you have a favorite restaurant, bar and/or café you’d like to share with us?
Currency Exchange Café is a nice and cool place, and the signature Lounge at the top of the Hancock tower is great place for a drink, while enjoying the view on the lake, or a sunset.

Which part of the city do you spend the most time, and why?
I have to say that I traveled at different places visiting art institutions, visiting artists and meeting people. Of course, I’ve recently spent a lot of time in the South side, working at the Roundhouse.

What are your impressions of the local galleries?
There is in Chicago a large range of galleries with different artistic directions—and always of great quality. It was a pleasure to make gallery tours.

Can you highlight a few of the exhibition’s inclusions that you are most proud of?
I’m very pleased to bring together and present artists on this very specific occasion. It is a great opportunity to highlight what is part of a local scene together with artists that are revealed at an international scale. I’m also delighted to work and conceive the exhibition in the Roundhouse. The space itself is also a fantastic work of art and will be on view for the public.

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