Art Basel Reasserts Its Importance at Home

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The ‘mother of all art fairs’ is a hybrid of sorts, but in Switzerland the emphasis is on individual presentation.

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Since the coronavirus pandemic began, art fairs have changed a lot, from online to fully in-person, with hybrids of many varieties.


For many in the art world, the format and fate Art Basel In Basel, Switzerland, the Friday to Sunday fair is particularly important, as it is, in the words of the London-based dealer, “the mother of all art fairs”. pillar chorus.

“There are too many fairs around the world, and not all will survive,” said Ms. Corius. “But we need Basel.”

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The fair first took place in 1970 and now has editions in Miami Beach and Hong Kong.

The Messe Basel is scheduled to showcase more than 270 galleries inside the exhibition hall – the first such gathering in Basel since 2019 – and, like the Hong Kong Fair in May, it is actually a hybrid, with a concurrent with online viewing room.

But the focus is on the return of a real-world phenomenon.

“The online component is limited to galleries that are physically at the fair,” said Mark Spiegler, Art Basel’s global director. “The rationale is that we want to expand the fair digitally, rather than having two fairs.” (Art Basel will also have a purely digital event in November.)

Given the circumstances, Mr. Spiegler was particularly proud of the strong number of galleries – 33 countries are represented – in particular. journey sector, which occurs around the city of Basel, and in Unlimited, section for large scale projects.

“Both require an extraordinary effort on the part of the galleries,” he said. “The fact that we have 62 projects for Unlimited is particularly impressive.”

For organisers, exhibitors and collectors wishing to attend the fair, the pandemic is concerned precaution. Also the capacity of the hall has been reduced and masks are needed.

The result: “We’re running a safe program,” Mr. Spiegler said.

He said the precautions could encourage more local crowding.

“We believe the fair will have a more European flavor,” Mr. Spiegler said. “I think the audience could be even smaller this year.”

For a phenomenon that once garnered at least part of its appeal from its social scene, the tone may also change.

“We are expecting a very concentrated crowd,” Mr Spiegler said. “The people who come to the art fair under these circumstances are really there for the art.”

He continued, “It’s more about seeing the art than it is about being seen.”

American philanthropist Pamela Joyner, known for her collection of works by black artists and the African diaspora, said she planned to attend the fair “to talk to collectors and galleries I don’t talk to all the time. “

There are some things, she said, that “you can’t be online.”

Ms. Joyner, currently based in Nevada near Lake Tahoe, travels frequently and serves on several corporate and cultural boards, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

“I have a special love for Art Basel,” she said. “I think of it as part of my collection tool kit.”

Among other benefits, it helps him stay ahead of the curve. Several years ago, Ms Joyner said, she had bought a work by painter Jordan Castell “before it came to light”. (Ms. Castell has a Survey at the museum in New York last year.)

“It was figurative painting,” said Ms Joyner, who is a frequent buyer of abstract works. “And I don’t buy a lot of them.”

Ms Correas, who has two gallery locations in London and plans to expand to Shanghai next year, will include, among other works, a sculpture by Philip Parreno”.fruit timesThe series; it looks like a Christmas tree abandoned past its prime.

“It is complex and delicate, and it took her more than two years to create it,” Ms. Corius said, making it a work that needed to be seen in person. Hence their participation in the fair.

“It’s made of stainless steel but it looks real,” she said. “You can’t see it in a picture. You have to stand in front of it.”

Gallery founder Jean Greenberg Rohtin Salon 94 In New York, agreed, saying: “It’s important to put art in front of people. People starve to see the art and spread their eyes. “

Ms. Rohtin will showcase art by Lisa Bryce, Lyle Ashton Harris and Huma Bhabha, among others. His booth will include photos of Kwame Brathwaite, including “Untitled (the model who embraced the natural hairstyle) AJASS Photo ShoeT) “(circa 1970).

Mr Brathwaite helped popularize the phrase “Black is beautiful”.

“He has a very precise eye,” Ms Rohtin said, adding that this would be fresh material for the Basel audience. “Europeans haven’t seen much of this work.”

Ms. Rohtin recently announced that in January she would merge her business with three other top dealers, creating a hybrid gallery and art consultant called LGDR. Salon 94 will close its fair at the West Bund fair in Shanghai in November and Art Basel Miami Beach in December.

A less dramatic and disruptive collaboration is planned for the Basel Fair speron wastewater And David Nolan Gallery, both of New York. They are splitting a booth and making provocative pairings from their respective exhibitions under the title “Dialogue”.

“David Nolan and I were having lunch, and we said, ‘What are we going to do, how can we make this interesting? said Angela Westwater, one of the founders of Spron Westwater. “So we’re playing a game and challenging each other.”

Some pairings are associated with beauty and medium, such as Susan Rothenberg’s “Red” (2008) and Georg Baselitz’s “Sebe” (1993), two oils on canvas that use red.

Others, like the combination of Bruce Nauman videos and collages by Barry Le Vaa, are thematically linked in that both look at the psychological effects of architectural spaces..

“We hope this is as engaging and challenging to others as it is to us,” said Ms Westwater, who has been attending Art Basel since the 1970s.

In addition to stalwarts like Ms. Westwater, this year for the first time Basel has 24 galleries, including floating island Buenos Aires, established in 2011.

It focuses on young and midcareer artists, said one of its two directors, Léopol Mons Cazon.

The gallery is featured at Art Basel Miami Beach. “We now want to deepen our ties with Europe,” Mr Cazon said, a process that began in early 2020 but “was canceled by the pandemic.”

The gallery is showing a mixed media installation by Bolivian artist Andrés Pereira Paz called “Ego falcio colvamanas eves” [I Fortify Your Columns]”(2020).

The work – incorporating the sounds of birds, lights and thin metal sculptures, some in the shape of stars – addressed both environmental degradation and colonization. It was inspired by the appearance in La Paz, Bolivia in 2019 of a guajozo bird that fled a fire that destroyed its Amazon habitat, and has attracted a lot of attention in the media as it is traditionally considered a bad omen.

“The bodies of outer space are in a sad mood seeing this destruction,” said Mr. Cazon. “It’s an apocalyptic scenario. But at the same time, it’s poetic.”

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