In my mind Art Basel is the premier international art show in the world. And this year, on its 40th anniversary year, it will do doubt out-do itself in splendor.
As per usual, the 40th edition of Art Basel takes place in the culturally-rich city of Basel, Switzerland. The show will be on June 10 – June 14, 2009. Mark that week, and if you can, go there.
As the world’s most important art show, Art Basel is an annual reunion of the international art world. This year’s 300 exhibiting galleries from all over the globe were selected from a record number of more than 1,100 applications, and will be showing works by over 2,500 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Art Unlimited hall, with its 60 large-scale projects, and the Public Art Projects on the exhibition square offer further highlights.
One of the most spectacular events this year will be the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. Curated and directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno and co-curated by Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija, a group of leading visual artists will create a major experimental time-based presentation each using up to 15 minutes of exhibition time with the stage assuming the role of the gallery space. Participating artists will include Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick,Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
And Basel’s museums once again feature fascinating exhibitions plus a broad range of events.
Founded by a group of local gallerists, the first Art Basel took place in 1970 and has since then become the most prestigious art show worldwide. This 40th anniversary edition of Art Basel begins with a vernissage for invited guests on June 9 and opens to the general public from June 10 through June 14. This annual event regularly attracts some 60,000 artists, collectors, gallerists, curators, and art enthusiasts from across the globe, eager to see the most rigorously chosen overview of the international art market and to meet key movers of the international art scene. Covered by more than 2,300 media representatives, Art Basel enjoys a formidable reputation based both on the quality and diversity of the exhibited art works.
Over 300 of the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at Art Basel. The galleries were chosen by the Art Basel Committee, an international jury of renowned gallerists, in accordance with strict quality criteria.
Selected from a record number of more than 1,100 applicants, the sectors Art Galleries, Art Statements, Art Premiere and Art Edition includes 75 galleries from the U.S.; 56 from Germany; 33 from Switzerland; 28 from Great Britain; 26 from France; 22 from Italy; 9 from Spain; 8 from Belgium; 7 from Austria; 5 from Japan; 4 each from Brazil, China and Poland; 3 from the Netherlands; 2 each from Canada, Denmark, Ireland, Mexico, Norway and South Korea; and one each from Argentina, Finland, India, Israel, Russia, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, and Turkey.
Art 40 Basel will showcase all forms of artistic expression, including paintings, drawings, editions, and sculptures, installations, photography, performances, and internet and video art. Works costing a few thousand Swiss francs, by emerging artists, will be on display alongside museum-quality masterpieces priced in the millions.
Once again more than 99 percent of last year’s exhibitors reapplied in the Art Galleries sector. This year’s strong roster of participants is reinforced by the additions of Johann König (Berlin), Dvir Gallery (Tel Aviv), Vitamin Creative Space (Guangzhou), Nils Staerk Contemporary Art (Copenhagen) and J Crist Gallery (Boise, Idaho, U.S.).
The line-up of galleries showing 20th-century classics is augmented by Knoedler & Company (New York), Galerie Zlotowski (Paris), and Galerie Susanne Zander (Köln). The specialists in Art Edition are joined by Galerie Helga Maria Klosterfelde (Hamburg) and Galerie de Multiples (Paris), and the roster of photographic galleries is enhanced by the return of the Galerie Zur Stockeregg (Zürich).
After a brief hiatus, David Nolan Gallery (New York), Galleria Raucci / Santamaria (Napoli), Greene Naftali (New York), Stuart Shave / Modern Art (London) and Team Gallery (New York) also rejoin Art Basel’s exhibitors.
A frequent site of discovery by those seeking emerging artists, Art Statements features 27 single-artist projects from rising galleries worldwide. The projects on display are new and often created specifically for presentation in this highly regarded sector for young artists. Since 1999, the Baloise Insurance Group has awarded its annual Baloise Art Prize of CHF 25,000 each to two outstanding Art Statements projects. This year the prize has been raised to CHF 30,000 for each artist, to a total amount of CHF 60,000. The company also acquires works by the prize winning artists and donates them
to two important museums in Europe.
The Art Premiere sector, which focuses on the curatorial aspects of the gallerist’s practice, this year presents 19 gallery projects, featuring either an artistic dialogue juxtaposing two artists from all generations, a presentation by a single artist of any age or exceptional art historical material – a new possibility within the sector.
Art Unlimited will spotlight approximately 60 ambitious works. The platform enables artists to exhibit works that do not fit in standard display booths due to spatial, temporal, technical, financial, contextual, or conceptual constraints. With the accent on innovative and large-scale works, everything from outsize sculptures and installations to video projections, wall paintings, and performances will be on show and for sale. Many of the exhibited pieces are created especially for Art Unlimited. The exhibition has once again been devised in collaboration with Geneva curator Simon Lamunière.
Public Art Projects
The exhibition area on the exhibition square in front of the buildings hosting Art Basel will again serve as an arena for art projects in public space. Displayed in the public space, the sector places art in the urban context and encourages interaction with the general public. Many of the projects are being created especially or installed site-specifically for Public Art Projects. The sector is again curated by Basel curator Martin Schwander.
Il Tempo del Postino
One of the most spectacular events this year will be the presentation of Il Tempo del Postino at Theater Basel. Curated and directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno and co-curated by Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija, a group of leading visual artists will create a major experimental time-based presentation each using up to 15 minutes of exhibition time with the stage assuming the role of the gallery space. Participating artists will include Doug Aitken, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala and Rirkrit Tiravanija.
By focusing on time-based work, this group show aims to redefine how visual arts can be experienced. Within up to 15 minutesof exhibition time, each artist creates their own distinctive work. Set in a classic theater architecture, it transforms the established gallery exhibition model into an exhilarating, shared audience experience. Il Tempo del Postino is organized by Art Basel, Theater Basel and Fondation Beyeler and was originally co-commissioned by the Manchester International Festival and Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris for the World Premiere in Manchester in July 2007.
Art Basel Conversations and Art Lobby
Staged every morning (June 10 to June 13), Art Basel Conversations bring together prominent members of the international art scene. Topics include “Artistic Production: Collecting Performance,” “The Future of the Museum: Digital Frontiers” and “Public / Private: Institutions: A Time of Crisis – and Opportunity?”. Additionally, a daily program of artist conversations, book signings, discussion forums, and other presentations will take place in the Art Lobby forum in the afternoons.
The Art Film program once again features an outstanding program of films, screened at the Stadtkino Basel. This Brunner, a collector with profound knowledge of the international film scene, and artist John Armleder will each organize an evening with special guests, while the rest of the Art Film program, including many shorter artist films and videos is curated by Berlin-based film scholar Marc Glöde.
Art Basel Weekend
On the weekend of June 12 to June 14, 2009, Art 40 Basel will celebrate the Art Basel Weekend, highlighting special activities (solo shows, performances, book signings etc.) at the booths of the participating galleries. A variety of panels and presentations geared to art professionals will also be held during the weekend in the context of Art Basel Conversations and Art Lobby.
Art Basel Catalogs
Art 40 Basel is accompanied by a lavish catalog published by Hatje Cantz in May 2009. The richly illustrated publication contains reproductions of approximately 600 works, from Modern classics to the latest in cutting-edge art. The separate catalog, published to accompany the Art Unlimited exhibition, will be available at Art Basel.
Museums in Basel
The museum exhibitions in and around Basel are again exceptional this year.
On show at the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel: “Giacometti”; at the Kunstmuseum Basel: “Vincent van Gogh, Between Earth and Heaven: The Landscapes”; at the Schaulager: “Holbein to Tillmans”; at the Museum Jean Tinguely: “Armor and gala dresses”; at the Kunstmuseum Basel – Museum für Gegenwartskunst: “Little Theatre of Gestures”; at Kunsthalle Basel solo exhibitions with Danh Vo and Lucy Skaer titled “A Boat Used as a Vessel”.
Design Miami/Basel, the global forum for collecting, exhibiting, discussing, and creating design runs June 9 – 13 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is this year located in hall 5 of the Basel fairgrounds.
Art Basel Miami Beach, Art Basel’s sister event in the USA, takes place December 3–6, 2009, in Miami Beach, Florida.
More Information re Art 40 Basel
For the latest information on Art 40 Basel, stay tuned, as we’ll provide more details closer to the event, as well as offer videos of the event.