District 13: Urban Art lovers will meet in Paris from 12 to 14 January
Violaine Pondard • Posted on January 4, 2024
Following the success of its previous edition in September 2022, the international art fair dedicated to Graffiti and Street Art, District 13, launched by the gallery owner Mehdi Ben Cheick, is coming back this year and will take place once again in the famous auction house Drouot. This not-to-be-missed event gathers artists, galleries and key players of the Urban Art world in an exceptional fair. The fifth edition will welcome 32 exhibitors of six different nationalities and will expect more than 10'000 visitors over three days. Exclusive artworks and live performances are on the agenda!
Created by Mehdi Ben Cheikh, founder of the Itinerrance gallery in Paris and Olivier Lange, Managing Director of Drouot Patrimoine, the fair District 13 is currently under the responsibility of Wissem Soussi. “My ambition that I have been pursuing for almost two decades is to support the growth of a movement. To accomplish this mission, I strive to provide Graffiti and Street Art with a set of tools that can contribute to its evolution, while offering artists unprecedented platforms for expression. “District 13 is one of these tools” explains Mehdi Ben Cheikh, who recognizes the porosity between Urban Art and Contemporary Art. “District 13 is a platform that brings together artists, galleries, as well as publishing houses and specialized magazines, with the mission of representing much more than the Urban Art market, but rather the diversity of creation of the movement as a whole.”
A bridge between auctions and Urban Art
The event is being staged in close collaboration with Hôtel Drouot. Indeed, the iconic Maison Drouot will be hosting the fifth edition of this international fair, where visitors will be able to discover the plurality of a movement that embraces, for each country, its own artistic, aesthetic and cultural references. “The famous place for the art market in France, Drouot, has, since its creation in 1852, had the occasion to sell the art of its time. So, it was only natural that there would be a bridge between our institution and Urban Art”, says Philippe Ancelin, auctioneer and chairman of Drouot Estimations. The event has been constantly gaining in importance with each edition, a reminder of the growing popularity of this major artistic phenomenon of the 21st century, which continues to develop all over the world, and of which Paris has become the epicentre over the years.
At the heart of a global and growing passion for urban arts
The Maison Drouot is observing this growing passion for Urban Art. “It is in the process of gaining a place in the world of auctions. In my opinion, this place won’t stop growing in the future because of the important audience for this mode of expression”, adds Philippe Ancelin. Since the creation of District 13, Drouot-Estimations has organized all the auctions of the event. “Each edition ends with prestigious auctions, adding an exclusive dimension to the event”, explains Mehdi Ben Cheikh. Moreover, in his opinion, District 13 positions itself as one of the events propelling urban arts to the rank of must-see art. “The initiatives promoting urban arts are multiplying and diversifying. Over the past twenty years, Urban Art has earned its place and has become a must-see art form, thanks to the growing number of events and the enthusiasm they generate. This diversity is a real driving force for our movement, collectively enriching the cultural landscape”, he admits. Alongside the Itinerrance gallery, many other galleries dedicated to Urban Art will be exhibiting, such as At Down, Chenus/Longhi, Baralo & Coste, H.D Galerie, Le Loft du 34, Pouyet Knafo, Taglialatella, Vangart, and many others. For example, So Fine Art Editions will be showcasing street art from Ireland, Unframed Art Gallery will be presenting mainly graffiti from the Netherlands, Bonobolabo will be highlighting Italian street art, and Le Comœdia will be paying tribute to female street artists.
A place for Urban Art lovers and collectors
Passionate art lovers, collectors or beginners on the lookout for something new: many people come to visit the contemporary urban art fair to find artworks from renowned and emerging artists. “District 13 offers the opportunity to broaden your artistic experience”, says Mehdi Ben Cheikh. Among the featured artists, Philippe Ancelin notes the growing popularity of “Seth and Maye, in particular, but we mustn’t forget the established artists of the first generation such as MissTic, whose beautiful creations we are presenting. Shepard Fairey, D*Face, Inti and Crash have made their work popular on the international scene.” Actually, the auctioneer acknowledges that the art market has evolved since the 2000s and the first auction sales. “The market seems to be maturing in the same way as other art market specialties. Art lovers have become more picky and know how to make choices for their collections”, he says, noting that a new public is seeking to own at home what they have discovered in the street. “The market has also become more diversified, so that everyone, according to their budgets, can find the artwork of their dreams and, in a domestic version, the transcription at home of what has been admired on the walls of our cities”, notes Philippe Ancelin.
Urbaneez, an obvious partner for District 13
Following a first major partnership in April 2023 with Urban Art Fair, Urbaneez is extending its connections with the Parisian art scene by becoming a partner of the 5th edition of the District 13 Art Fair. The online platform selling original artworks created by Graffiti and Street Art artists is thus continuing its representation off the web by joining forces with District 13 for a second major event. The aim of this new collaboration is to increase the fair’s visibility among Urban Art lovers and to highlight its various participants with content throughout the fair. It was an obvious choice for Mehdi Ben Cheikh as “Urbaneez shares our passion for Urban Art!”, he concludes.
You will be able to experience the fair during three days through the eyes of Urbaneez, with daily pictures of artists and exhibitors but also short videos captured during the fair and during live performances, not to mention a contest to win invites to the vernissage on Thursday 11 January! Not to be overlooked as well during the event, Urbaneez will be exhibiting 5 Bearbricks 1000% from its “Street Toys” collection, three of which will be extended by a work on a canvas created especially for the art fair. Indeed, three artists will be creating an artwork during the event with the aim of adapting the creative concept they have developed on their Bearbrick onto a canvas. So, get ready to meet the legendary artist Snake on Friday 12 January, then the unmissable Nerone on Saturday 13 January and finally the artist Cren to top it all off on Sunday 14 January 2024.
The program of the 5th edition
The 5th edition of District 13 offers a rich program of artistic creation. The proximity between artists, exhibitors and the public which is the DNA of the fair and the reason of its success, will once again be at the forefront, with screen-printing sessions, live painting and original artworks specially created during the event. Some of the artists present will also have the opportunity to sign their latest books in advance, while interviews will provide a deeper understanding of their artistic approach. Finally, there will be an introductory stencil workshop for children, offering an interactive and educational experience. Don’t wait any longer and get your tickets through the online ticketing service!
Discover the full program on the website of District 13