Most art aficionados refer to Art Basel as the Olympics of the art world. This global art construct gives thousands of artists from nearly every corner of the world the chance to showcase their works in more than 280 galleries in 33 countries, while at the same time giving collectors, and gallerists the opportunity to add to their collections. The Swiss venue, Messe Basel, is the largest exhibition center in the country, and one of the most important in Europe, according to professionals in the art scene.
New and returning participants
Returning to the fair – running this year from Sept. 20-26 – are major hitters like Gagosian, Thaddaeus Ropac, and David Zwirner. Those attending the Switzerland leg of the fair this year, will be enthused to know that 24 galleries will be making their debuts. Among them are: Ben Brown Fine Arts, London, Hong Kong and Palm Beach; LambdaLambdaLambda, Pristina; Berlin's Lars Friedrich; Cardi Gallery, London and Milan; Edouard Malingue, Hong Kong and Isla Flotante and Walden Gallery, Buenos Aires.
The fair will be offering both in-person and online experiences. Included in this fledgling format is a newly-launched podcast, Intersections: The Art Basel Podcast, hosted by Art Basel’s Global Director Marc Spiegler, who rejects the idea that technology could possibly change the minds of those in the art world to fly to Switzerland. Spiegler believes when people have some idea of what will be happening at an event, it increases their desire to come.
There are four different segments to Art Basel: Unlimited, Parcours, Messeplatz, which features a video installation and performance at the fountain of the Messeplatz; Film, which this year features “Beyond the Visible – Hilma af Klint,” directed by Halina Dryschka, and “Bill Traylor: Chaising Ghosts,” directed by Jeffrey Wolf and Conversations, a program offering audiences information about the international art world. This year’s speakers feature Hans Ulrich Obrist and Catherine Nichols.
Unlimited is the fair’s platform for large-scale works allowing galleries to highlight huge installations, massive sculptures, vast wall paintings, large photographic series, and videos which eclipse anything found at traditional art fairs. Some of this year’s highlights include:
- Carl Andre's sculpture, “Mastaba” (1978) presented by Konrad Fischer Galerie;
- Robert Rauschenberg's large-format painting, “Rollings (Salvage)” (1984) presented by Thaddaeus Ropac;
- Urs Fischer's installation, “Untitled (Bread House)” (2004-2006) presented by Jeffrey Deitch;
- Lebanese artist Etel Adnan's work, “Le Soleil Toujours” (2020) presented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery;
- Carrie Mae Weems' “Repeating the Obvious” (2019) presented by Jack Shainman Gallery and Galerie Barbara Thumm;
- David Hockney's photographic drawing, “Pictures at an Exhibition” (2018-2021) presented by Gray and exhibited at Unlimited for the first time.
Parcours will return to Basel, featuring 20 site-specific installations and performances in the city center. Some of the many highlights include:
- 12 large-scale paintings and performances by Claudia Comte presented by Gladstone Gallery and König Galerie at the Stadtcasino, Basel;
- Jason Dodge’s open-floor-based composition at the Kunstmuseum Basel presented by Galleria Franco Noero;
- A public walk by Hamish Fulton, “Walking in Every Direction” on Basel's Marktplatz presented by Galerie Tschudi;
- “Neopets,” a large-scale sculpture by Bunny Rogers presented by Société.
Luxury travelers can personalize their Art Basel experience with VIP packages including concierge services featuring personally customized art-themed Swiss experiences throughout their stays.