Welcome to Hangar 56, the underground artist’s collective that is continually morphing and feeding off of the creative energies of artists, musicians, photographers, dancers, bondage girls and paper airplane crafters alike.
The gallery opens up to the public every first and third Sunday of the month in organized events called the “Portes Ouvertes.” These open door events include hair sculpting in which an expert hair artist shaves a design into your head, a secondhand shop where you’re not required to pay for anything, and a gallery with artwork from up-and-coming artists for sale all accompanied by free live music.
Most of the art on display exudes an urban and grungy mood with dashes of sex and violence. With the exception of the low-priced drinks at the bar and the artwork, everything is free—it’s up to you to leave a donation if you support the expansion of free art appreciation at Hangar 56.
A year ago, the warehouse near the Marais was abandoned and empty. In February, a few artists breathed life into the dusty old place and turned it into this living creature of art, known as Hangar 56 because of its address on 56 Avenue Parmentier. This “squat” serves as a gallery, studios for independent artists, and a home to several squatters, otherwise known as those living in abandoned buildings.
Walk up the stairs from the first floor and you’ve entered the private bedrooms of some of Paris’ artistic talent. All of the amenities in the kitchen, living room, washroom, and bedrooms were donated or found off the streets of Paris.
Pioupiou, one of the artists who both organizes events and squats at the warehouse, said that what sets Hangar 56 apart from other artistic galleries is that it is in a freely-occupied space. The squatters who organize the gallery showings ask for no percentage of sold artwork. Artists, like the public, can choose to give a donation back to Hangar 56 in support of the free artistic movement and gallery space.
The warehouse is not limited to the “Portes Ouvertes” gallery showings. A filmmaker organizes monthly amateur film competitions that are screened within the cinema room in the warehouse, and during Game of Thrones season, you can attend public screenings of the series. Photographers can use the studio for projects and writers are welcomed to write in the always lively and creative setting. Slam poetry competitions are also organized regularly.
Pioupiou said that Hangar 56 is continually accepting new artists to showcase in its gallery. “We are flexible people,” said Pioupiou, “[Hangar 56] is always moving–like life, actually.”
To keep up with the events regularly scheduled at this underground artist’s collective, follow Hangar 56 on Facebook.