Art 40 Basel | The 40th anniversary of the premier international art show
The 40th edition of Art Basel takes place in the culturally rich city of Basel, Switzerland, from June 10 through June 14, 2009. As the world’s premier art show, Art Basel marks the annual reunion of the international artworld. This year, more than 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.
The most spectacular event this year will be the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno as a group exhibition that would occupy time rather than space, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman Time) presents a sequential display of time-based art on the theatre stage. Participating artists will include Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Thomas Demand, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Peter Fischli / David Weiss, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Rirkrit Tiravanija & Arto Lindsay. Furthermore Basel’s museums once again feature fascinating exhibitions, and will host 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. The premier 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 earns its strong reputation based both on the quality and diversity of the exhibited art works.
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.
Over 300 of the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at Art Basel (a list of exhibitors
can be found at www.artbasel.com/galleries). 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 include 75 galleries from the United States; 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.
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 this year features 27 single-artist projects from rising galleries worldwide. The projects on display are new and created specifically for presentation in this highly regarded sector. Since 1999, the Bâloise Insurance Group has awarded its annual Bâloise 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 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 60 ambitious works. Many of the exhibited pieces are created especially for Art 40 Basel. 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. 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 in the public space. Displayed on Messeplatz, the sector places art in the urban context and encourages interaction with the general public. Eight works by internationally renowned artists Valentin Carron, General Idea, Mark Handforth, Jeppe Hein, Gabriel Kuri, Mathieu Mercier, John McCracken and Ken Price will be installed. The sector is again curated by Basel curator Martin Schwander.
Il Tempo del Postino
One of the most spectacular events at this year’s Art Basel will be the presentation of “Il Tempo del Postino” at Theater Basel. The Independent called this unique show “The world’s first visual arts opera” after its first and only presentation at the Manchester International Festival in 2007, where
a group of the world’s leading visual artists created a major experimental presentation.
Curated by Hans Ulrich Obrist and Philippe Parreno as a group exhibition that would occupy time rather than space, “Il Tempo del Postino” (Postman Time) presents a sequential display of time-based art on the theatre stage. Each of the twenty artists has created an act of different length.
In Basel “Il Tempo del Postino” will be directed by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala
and Rirkrit Tiravanija. In addition to the artists who participated in Manchester in 2007 – Doug Aitken, Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler, Tacita Dean, Trisha Donnelly, Olafur Eliasson, Liam Gillick, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Douglas Gordon, Carsten Höller, Pierre Huyghe, Koo Jeong-A, Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, Tino Sehgal and Rirkrit Tiravanija & Arto Lindsay – “Il Tempo del Postino” in Basel will include new contributions by Thomas Demand and Peter Fischli / David Weiss.
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. For the Premiere of the Art Basel Conversations the curator
Sir Norman Rosenthal will engage with the artist Jeff Koons. Further 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 six 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 will present “Picasso & Braque Go to the Movies” (2008) from Arne Glimcher on Thursday evening. The rest of the Art Film program, including many shorter artist films and videos on the themes “New Landscapes”, “Rediscovery”, “Bending Identities” and “Storylines” 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. The museums and institutions in Basel feature a broad range of special events such as guided tours, performances and talks.
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.
Art Basel’s Sponsors
UBS has a valued tradition of supporting the arts and believes that art awakens new ways of seeing the world and sharing insight. The firm has been the main sponsor of Art Basel for the
past 16 years. “We are delighted to look back on long years of partnership with Art Basel and
Art Unlimited”, says Francesco Morra, CEO Switzerland, UBS Wealth Management & Swiss Bank. “Supporting the arts is ingrained in our corporate culture and through these cultural partnerships we are committed to making the arts accessible to a broader community.” At the Associate Sponsor level, Cartier, NetJets and AXA Art continue their significant partnership with Art Basel.
Art Basel is also supported by Baloise Holding, ZURICH Insurance Company and Vitra. The VIP
car service is provided by Volkswagen.
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”. (For a complete list of museum exhibitions, go to www.museenbasel.ch).
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. www.designmiami.com