Jorge Pardo Continues to Redefine What It Means to Live With Art

Jorge Pardo | Surface | By Alexxa Gotthardt

The artist's exploration into the intersections among design, painting, sculpture, and everyday objects has resulted in a colorful and enchanting style that stands out for its originality.

In 1990, Jorge Pardo staged his first solo exhibition, in a garage tucked into a West Hollywood alley, filling it with carefully crafted replicas of common tools: wrenches, a ladder, a splicer. But none of them worked. Even then, fresh out of graduate school, Pardo was challenging perceptions of fine art and functional objects. This project, and his subsequent work, exuberantly broke barriers between sculpture and design, form and function, art and life.

Eight years later, MOCA Los Angeles invited Pardo to mount a show. Instead, he built a home, opened it to the public, and then moved in. Most recently, the Cuban-American artist designed a hotel, L’Arlatan in Arles, France, swathed with 500 of his own paintings applied directly to doors and tables rather than walls.

New York’s Petzel Gallery recently showcased Pardo’s early work, spanning the late-1980s and 1990s. His sculptures and wall-mounts emphasize a natural inclination to subvert expectations about art, design, and lived space. And much like the rest of his oeuvre, they celebrate plurality. Assumptions, he seems to say, are ambiguous and constantly changing.

Here, we catch Pardo at his studio in Yucatán, Mexico, where he sheds light on his multidisciplinary, inquisitive practice.

Article Continues

Jorge Pardo: Display for the Musée des Augustins

Jorge Pardo: Display for the Musée des Augustins

Jorge Pardo

Published by Hatje Cantz

Ed. Thierry Leviez, text(s) by Thierry Leviez, Rémi Papillault, Rémi Parcollet, Charlotte Riou, contributions by Stephen Prina, Jorge Pardo

Exhibition: Musée des Augustins, Toulouse, on permanent display

Hardcover, 160 pages, 171 ills.

ISBN 978-3-7757-4462-1

Extraordinary museum displays: Jorge Pardo’s “Gesamtkunstwerk” in Toulouse

At the invitation of the Toulouse art festival “Printemps de Septembre”, the Cuban-American artist Jorge Pardo (*1963) has developed a new display for the collection of Romanesque art at the Musée des Augustins in Toulouse. This collection—the world’s largest collection of Romanesque sculpture—is unique for its coherence with its well-preserved ensembles of capitals. Pardo produced a kind of “Gesamtkunstwerk” that has instantly become an iconic feature in the city and has now been adopted as the permanent display. This book includes an introduction to the collection of Romanesque sculptures at the museum, an illustrated history of its ever-changing presentation since 1830, an extensive survey of Jorge Pardo’s specific works for museums as well as a brief history of remarkable exhibition designs for museum collections throughout the 20th century.

With an interview between Stephen Prina and Jorge Pardo.

Jorge Pardo: Hotel L'Arlatan Opening 12 October 2018

From Antiquity to the present day, L’Arlatan has endured through many centuries. Its rebirth this autumn heralds yet another glorious new chapter in its history.

About L’Arlatan

As early as the Middle Ages L’Arlatan was recognised as being Arles’ most lavish hôtel particulier - a grand townhouse - and now, thanks to the exceptional vision of artist Jorge Pardo, it is making an outstanding début on the modern stage. A gigantic 6000 square metres of mosaic now adorns the hotel with an explosion of colour, light and contemporary design.

Hotel Website

how to spend it, Jorge Pardo: A long weekend in Arles and the Camargue with Maja Hoffmann

Maja Hoffmann at L’Arlatan hotel, which opens in October | Image: Tina Hillier

Maja Hoffmann at L’Arlatan hotel, which opens in October | Image: Tina Hillier

Arles’ old town is home to a world-class pâtisserie and a prominent bookshop

Culture is everywhere in Arles. I’ve almost always had something to do with Les Rencontres de la Photographie, the international photography festival that was founded there in 1970 and has been expanding greatly since it was revamped in 2002. What originally motivated me to renovate the former train depot at Parc des Ateliers – and build [experimental museum complex] Luma there – was partly a lack of quality spaces to show large-scale photography exhibitions or host creative events for Les Rencontres.

In the past few years I’ve really noticed some exciting energy in Arles. Creative people are coming to the city to settle down and make something special – like the owners of Le Collatéral, an incredible B&B in a former church that’s often used for artistic projects and events. Everywhere you look there is something curious, from digital art to a bespoke, snake-shaped table. It’s more of an experience than a hotel. Of course, L’Hôtel Particulier and Hôtel Jules César are very well known five-star properties in Arles. L’Hôtel Particulier was one of the first to add new life to the old city – they took over an 18th-century building and created a little oasis, with a swimming pool and beautiful garden – and the Jules is an institution that was redone beautifully a few years ago by Christian Lacroix. I myself never meant to be a hotelier, but ended up one due to the fact that I am occasionally asked to save old buildings. Ten years ago I opened Hôtel du Cloître, which I asked India Mahdavi to design and still today the interiors feel very modern. The most recent hotel project, L’Arlatan [which opens in October], is just as much of an artistic project as it is a hospitality one. Almost from the beginning, I knew I would ask Jorge Pardo to design the interiors; he did every surface and piece of furniture, and there are more than 30 different coloured and patterned tiles used for the floors and walls. It’s like a Gesamtkunstwerk.

By Gisela Williams

Full Article

Wallpaper*: Maja Hoffmann and Jorge Pardo on creating a remarkable Provençal retreat

In 1888, Vincent van Gogh, ravaged by heavy drinking and disillusioned with life in Paris, found refuge in Arles, intent on creating an artists’ commune. ‘L’Atelier du Sud’ would, he hoped, become a laboratory to experiment with colours and light, repositioning the Provençal city as a centre for artistic production. But the project ended abruptly the same year, after a series of violent quarrels with his friend Paul Gauguin – the only artist who had responded to the invitation – drove the Dutchman to a mental breakdown, during which he famously cut off part of his own ear.

Despite its failure, the ideals behind l’Atelier du Sud left an indelible mark on Arles which, some 130 years later, may get its artist colony after all. Designed by the Cuban-born American artist Jorge Pardo, l’Arlatan – a hotel and artist residence, housed in a 15th-century palace once belonging to the Counts of Arlatan de Beaumont – is set to become a hub for the international intelligentsia brought to the city by the newly established contemporary art centre, Luma Arles.

By BenoÎt Loiseau

Full Article

The New York Times, Jorge Pardo: A Hotel Where Every Room Is a Work of Art

One of Pardo’s painted doors, inspired by a Japanese scroll painting from the Langen Foundation. Credit Céline Clanet

One of Pardo’s painted doors, inspired by a Japanese scroll painting from the Langen Foundation. Credit Céline Clanet

The artist Jorge Pardo designed the interiors of L’Arlatan, which opens next month in Arles, France.

The artist Jorge Pardo makes work that not only lives outside the confines of the traditional white cube but also interrogates notions of space and setting and our place within them. One of his best-known pieces dates to 1998, when, for a show with the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, he designed a single-story house in the city’s Cypress Park neighborhood and filled it with objects of his own making. Once the exhibition closed, Pardo moved in. “I’m essentially appropriating architecture,” says Pardo, who now lives in Mérida, Mexico, in another structure that could be considered both art piece and functional living space — a “birdcage in the jungle” complete with a hand-painted mural and ovoid pendant lights.

Starting next month at L’Arlatan hotel in the Provençal city of Arles, France, for which Pardo designed the interiors, guests can live like the artist. The hotel is owned by Maja Hoffmann, a Swiss entrepreneur and art patron who grew up outside Arles in the Camargue. She is partly responsible for reviving the area, once a source of inspiration for Vincent van Gogh (and recently, the setting for Gucci’s 2019 resort collection), with her forthcoming 20-acre cultural center, Luma Arles, as well as the 19-room Hôtel du Cloître, a former convent reimagined by India Mahdavi. Hoffmann’s new hotel, set in a 15th-century palace, is nearby, mere steps from the Rhône. From the start, Hoffmann knew she wanted Pardo — with whom she’s worked before — to be the one to fill the hotel’s dark and neglected rooms with, as she says, “lightness and joy.”

By Gisela Williams

Full Article

Opening this week in Venice


13 May – 26 November 2017

More information

Philippe Parreno installation view, Central Pavilion, Venice Biennale.

Philippe Parreno installation view, Central Pavilion, Venice Biennale.



Central Pavilion

Giardini, Venice



Applied Arts Pavilion

Arsenale, Venice

Pae White, "Qwalala", work in progress  

Pae White, "Qwalala", work in progress



Island of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice

12 May 2017 - 30 November 2019

More information

Qwalala, a monumental new sculpture by artist Pae White, will open to the public on the Island of San Giorgio Maggiore in Venice, coinciding with the 2017 Venice Art Biennale. Qwalala consists of a curving wall made only of solid glass bricks, which occupies the entire area opposite LE STANZE DEL VETRO. At 75 metres long and 2.4 metres high, the 3,000 glass bricks for Qwalala were hand-cast by Poesia Glass Studio in the Veneto region. Each of these hand-cast bricks is unique, owing much to the chance and variation inherent in the artisanal manufacturing process.


Palazzo Fortuny

San Marco, Venice

13 May – 26 November 2017

More information

To coincide with the 2017 Venice Art Biennale, the Axel & May Vervoordt Foundation and the Fondazione Musei Civici di Venezia will present their sixth and final exhibition: Intuition. The exhibition will explore how different manifestations of intuition have shaped art across geographies, cultures and generations. It will bring together historic, modern and contemporary works related to the concepts of dreams, telepathy, paranormal fantasy, meditation, creative power, hypnosis and inspiration.