Another month, another art fair... but this art fair isn’t just any old fair, because the month of June is that time of the year that art lovers and collectors await eagerly WHY? Because the art fair held this month is Art Basel, the world's premier art fair and event that brings together hundreds of the world's leading galleries showing the works of over thousands of artists.
Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel today stages the world's premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach and Hong Kong. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition.
Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through a number of new initiatives. In 2014, Art Basel launched its Crowdfunding Initiative which catalysed much needed support for outstanding non-commercial art projects worldwide and helped garner pledges in excess of USD 2 million in support of around 70 art projects from around the globe – from Bogotá to Ho Chi Minh City, San José and Kabul.
For Art Basel Cities, launched in 2016, Art Basel is working with selected partner cities to develop vibrant and content-driven programs specific to the individual city. Connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel's expertise and network, Art Basel Cities supports its partners to develop their unique cultural landscape.
For this its 49th annual edition in Switzerland from June 14–17, Art Basel has unveiled its line-up of exhibitors with the total up slightly to 293 galleries (compared to 291 last year), hailing from 35 countries across Europe, North and South America, Asia, and Africa.
The anchor of Art Basel’s show is its Galleries sector. Visitors will discover a breadth of Modern and contemporary works including paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations, prints, photography, video and digital art. This year seventeen galleries are joining the fair for the first time including White Space Beijing, Freedman Fitzpatrick (Los Angeles), Essex Street (New York), Hosfelt Gallery (San Francisco), and Franklin Parrasch Gallery (New York).
This sector showcases projects from established and historical artists are precisely curated by gallerists in the Feature sector. Projects may include solo presentations, juxtapositions, and thematic exhibits from artists representing a wide range of cultures, generations, and artistic approaches. Among the 17 new exhibitors at the fair are New York’s Essex Street, Los Angeles and Paris’s Freedman Fitzpatrick, Dusseldorf’s Galerie Max Mayer, London’s
Statements present exciting new solo projects by emerging artists, who are eligible to receive the prestigious Baloise Art Prize. The Baloise Group acquires artworks by the award-winning artists, which it then donates to important European art institutions.
Leading publishers of editioned works, prints, and multiples exhibit the results of their collaboration with renowned artists, providing visitors the opportunity to see significant, and rare publications.
This year, Art Basel will introduce a new site for its “Unlimited” sector, Art Basel’s pioneering exhibition platform for projects that transcend the classical art-show stand, including massive sculpture and paintings, video projections, large-scale installations, and live performances. This year's edition of will consist of 71 large-scale projects. Curated for the seventh consecutive year by Gianni Jetzer, Curator-at-Large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., the sector will feature a wide range of presentations, from seminal pieces from the past to work created especially for Art Basel. Renowned as well as emerging artists will participate, including: Matthew Barney, Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren, Horia Damian, Camille Henrot, Jenny Holzer, Mark Leckey, Lee Ufan, Inge Mahn, Lygia Pape, Jon Rafman, Michael Rakowitz, Martine Syms and Barthélémy Toguo
Further highlights include Polly Apfelbaum's strips of textile that are combined to form a colourfully woven painting; Rashid Johnson's tropical enclave containing various unexpected elements from sculptures made with shea butter to video portraits; Katherine Bernhardt’s monumental painting with tropical birds, cuddly robots and cigarette stubs, which at once editorializes and summarizes modern culture and the artist herself; an interactive multimedia installation by Nedko Solakov comprising nine sofas in the shapes of the nine Chinese characters constituting the phrase ‘I miss Socialism, maybe’; and Yu Hong's large-scale painting depicting a famous Chinese fable widely cited in both modern Chinese art history and Chinese Communist narratives. The work focuses on how the socialist narrative still perseveres in Chinese society and explores the ways its ideology corresponds to the visual legacy of Soviet Socialist Realist heritage.
For further information, please visit artbasel.com.