Select Page
By Eugenia Bertelè

The 49th edition of Art Basel is a point to open in its original location in Switzerland with a premier line-up of 290 galleries from Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa presenting modern and contemporary works by around 4.000 international artists in parallel with a very exciting program of museums shows, conversations, film, magazines, public art installations and a new edition of Design Miami Basel, where the world’s leading design galleries present curated exhibitions of furniture, lighting and objects d’art

Tony Cragg, Elliptical Column, 2016; Pair, 2015. Courtesy of Buchmann Galerie Berlin _ Lugano - Art Basel 2018

Tony Cragg, Elliptical Column, 2016; Pair, 2015. Courtesy of Buchmann Galerie Berlin _ Lugano

Founded in 1970 by a group of gallerists from Basel, Art Basel is the most important institution in the world of art fairs, organizing art shows for modern and contemporary art in Basel, Miami and Hong Kong. Beside its leading position in the art market, Art Basel experienced, during the last years, other prominent initiatives such as – since 2014 – a Crowfunding focused on the support of non-commercial art projects around the globe, and – since 2016 – Art Basel Cities, created to develop vibrant and content-driven programs specific to the individual city.
Jana Sterbak, Sisyphus Sport, 1997 2014. Courtesy the artist and Barbara Gross Galerie, Munich - Art Basel 2018

Jana Sterbak, Sisyphus Sport, 1997 2014. Courtesy the artist and Barbara Gross Galerie, Munich

This year the show is welcoming 16 galleries joining the fair for the first time, including White Space Beijing from Asia and three new exhibitors from the United States: Freedman Fitzpatrick, Essex Street and Franklin Parrasch Gallery. From Europe, 12 exhibitors are new to the show: Barbara Gross Galerie, Galerie Max Mayer, Richard Saltoun Gallery, Jan Kaps, Sandy Brown, Antoine Levi, mor charpentier, Madragoa, Croy Nielsen, Carlos/Ishikawa, Galerie Lange + Pult and Galerie Bernard Bouche.
Aude Pariset, Promession #1, 2016, detail. Courtesy of the artist and SANDY BROWN, Berlin - Art Basel 2018

Aude Pariset, Promession #1, 2016, detail. Courtesy of the artist and SANDY BROWN, Berlin

Highlights of Art Basel 2018 include the ambitious projects by historical and emerging artists in Feature and Statements sections. Feature is hosting 31-curated projects from both historical and contemporary artists, including artists as Rachel Whiteread, Alex Katz, Irving Penn, Lubaina Himid, Gilberto Zorio, among others (browse the complete list at artbasel.com/basel/feature). Statements sector instead, is presenting 18 exciting solo projects by emerging artists and including ten first-time galleries. Among them, several projects are addressing socio-political issues (artbasel.com/basel/statements). Thomas Struth, Animals, 2018. Reference image. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman - Art Basel 2018Thomas Struth, Animals, 2018. Reference image. Courtesy of the artist and Marian Goodman The most expected program, Unlimited, this year is featuring 72 large-scale projects in a unique setting. Unlimited provides galleries with the opportunity to showcase installations, monumental sculptures, video projections, wall paintings, photographic series, performance art that transcend the traditional art fair stand. For the 7th consecutive year it is curated by Gianni Jetzer, Curator- at- Large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Both renowned and emerging artists are taking part in the exhibition, to mention some: Matthew Barney, Robert Barry, Daniel Buren, Horia Damian, Camille Henrot, Jenny Holzer, Guillermo Kuitca, Alfredo Jaar, Mark Leckey, Lee Ufan, Inge Mahn, Lygia Pape, Jon Rafman, Michael Rakowitz, Nedko Solakov, Martine Syms, Rirkrit Tiravanija, James Turrel and Ai Weiwei (artbasel.com/basel/unlimited).
Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Triangular Construction), 1982 2011, Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner - Art Basel 2018

Fred Sandback, Untitled (Sculptural Study, Seven-part Triangular Construction), 1982 2011, Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner

In 2007, Daniel Buren transformed the escalators leading to the upper floor of Hall 1 into a kinetic sculpture titled Passage de la Couleur, 26 secondes et 14 centièmes. Messe Schweiz bought the work. Responding to this earlier work, Unlimited will open with Buren‘s Una cosa tira l’altra, an aerial walkway decorated with stripes similar to those used on the escalator in 2007, allowing visitors to view the surrounding works from a unique and unexpected point of view.
Robert Longo, Death Star II, 2016 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Thaddeus Ropac- Metro Picture - Art Basel 2018

Robert Longo, Death Star II, 2016 2017 Courtesy of the artist and Thaddeus Ropac- Metro Picture

Another highlight this year is the Creative Time project at Messeplatz, participatory installation that uses drumming workshops, rubble mounds and a temporary constructed building to question the meaning of public space. Conceived by artists Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and Santiago Cirugeda – led architecture studio Recetas Urbanas, these projects aim at raising awareness of the active role citizens have in connection with urban environment, inviting Basel residents to be part of the performing action during the Art Basel art week.
ABB17, Misc, General Impressions, PR, - Art Basel 2018

ABB17, Misc, General Impressions, PR,

Finally, to enjoy site-specific sculptures, interventions and performances by internationally renowned and emerging artists engaged with the most historical neighborhood, you should go around Münsterplatz. The Parcours program is curated for the third year by Samuel Leuenberger, founder of the non-profit exhibition space SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland. Keep following us on Look Lateral.com, we’ll deliver daily live contents from the Art Basel week. More information at www.artbasel.com