Outstanding art from some of the world’s best art galleries leads to buoyant sales to private collections and institutions worldwide. The 47th edition of Art Basel in Basel closed on Sunday, June 19, 2016 amid reports of significant sales across all levels of the market, including many major sales by galleries exhibiting within the Unlimited sector. Attendance from international collectors and institutions was once again very strong, with new collectors from countries across Africa and the former Soviet Union, as well as Iran, Lebanon, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand, coming to the fair for the first time. In a more volatile market and political environment, this edition proved that there continues to be a strong demand for high-quality works when premier international galleries and leading collectors from across the world come together. This year’s edition received widespread praise for its strong booth presentations and for the powerful artistic positions, many poignantly responding to the current socio-political situation within Europe and further afield.
Sited in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong each Art Basel is 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. In addition to ambitious stands featuring leading galleries from around the globe, each show’s singular exhibition sectors spotlight the latest developments in the visual arts, offering visitors new ideas and new inspiration.
Art Basel 2016 attracted an attendance of 95,000 across the six show days. Demonstrating its position as the central meeting point for the international artworld, artists in attendance at this year’s Art Basel show included: Davide Balula, Hans Op de Beeck, AA Bronson, Tracey Emin, Zhang Enli, Zeng Fanzhi, Cao Fei, Alfredo Jaar, Christian Jankowski, Alison Knowles, Joseph Kosuth, Jannis Kounellis, Michael Landy, Jonathan Monk, Oscar Murillo, Pope.L, Robin Rhode, James Turrell, Haegue Yang, Ding Yi and Samson Young.
Leading private collectors from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa attended this year, as well as representatives from over 300 distinguished museums and institutions, including: The Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; The National Museum of Art, Osaka; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The State Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; and The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.
During the show, Art Basel announced that it will be partnering with UBS to commission a comprehensive new annual art market report. The new ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’ will be an objective and independent study authored by Dr. Clare McAndrew and her Dublin-based research and consulting firm Arts Economics. Covering the main macro-economic trends and delivering fundamental data on the art market as a whole, the first ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’ will be published in March 2017 to coincide with Art Basel’s Hong Kong show. The announcement of this new report came alongside Art Basel’s extension of its 22-year partnership with UBS, Art Basel’s global Lead Partner.
Galleries exhibiting within all sectors of Art Basel were delighted to express their enthusiasm about this year’s show:
‘This has been a very successful fair for us, and we were impressed with the number of high quality international collectors who attended this year. We sold work by George Condo, Andreas Gursky, Jenny Holzer, Thomas Ruff, Cindy Sherman, Frank Stella and Rosemarie Trockel, placing works with prominent collections across Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States and Asia.’ Philomene Magers, Co-owner, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London, Los Angeles
‘An extraordinary fair; where desperation was replaced by inspiration. Yes, we had many sales, more than 80% of the work we brought, but more importantly, these were sales we felt proud of…to passionate collectors, both old and new.’ Marc Glimcher, President, Pace, New York, London, Beijing, Hong Kong
‘The level of excellence at Art Basel never fails to be breathtaking. I feel the fair is constantly upgrading and improving, which seems impossible when it is already the world’s premier fair!’ Maureen Paley, Founder Director, Maureen Paley, London
‘Art Basel 2016 has been the highest grossing fair in the history of the gallery with strong sales to museums and private individuals.’ Glenn Scott Wright, Co-Director, Victoria Miro, London
‘Art Basel has defied the markets and brought us huge success once again – nothing beats the indefatigable spirit of Art Basel!’ Iwan Wirth, President and co-Founder, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, New York, Los Angeles, London, Somerset
This year the Galleries sector was particularly strong, with 220 of the world’s leading established galleries presenting the highest quality of painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, video and editioned works. Six galleries exhibited in the sector for the first time having previously shown in Statements or Feature: Applicat-Prazan (Paris), Borzo (Amsterdam), Karma International (Zurich, Beverly Hills), Jack Shainman Gallery (New York, Kinderhook), Stevenson (Cape Town, Johannesburg) and Barbara Wien (Berlin). Pace/MacGill Gallery (New York) exhibited for the first time at the Basel fair. Highlights included: Metro Pictures’ (New York) pairing of Cindy Sherman and Camille Henrot; a solo presentation of Pia Camil by OMR (Mexico City); a pairing of Kansuke Yamamoto and Hanako Murakami at Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo, Paris, New York); Robin Rhode’s one day in-situ memorial wall drawing honoring the 40th anniversary of the Soweto uprising in South Africa, on display at Stevenson (Cape Town, Johannesburg); a comprehensive study of the origins of expressionism at Galerie St. Etienne (New York); Salvatore Scarpitta’s solo presentation by Tornabuoni (Paris, Florence, Milan Forte dei Marmi, Crans-Montana, London); and an elegantly curated stand featuring a large-scale Wolfgang Tillmans work by Maureen Paley (London).
The solo presentations in Statements offered visitors and collectors the opportunity to discover quality work by emerging artists, brought to Art Basel by 18 of the most exciting young international galleries – seven of whom were exhibiting at the fair for their first time. The sector included work by artists from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Cyprus, Georgia, Germany, Peru, Poland, the United States and Venezuela. Highlights included: Sol Calero at Laura Bartlett Gallery (London); Lionel Maunz at Bureau (New York); Helen Johnson at Mary Mary (Glasgow); Jasper Spicero at Johan Berggren Gallery (Malmö); Ajay Kurian at 47 Canal (New York); Timur Si-Qin at Société (Berlin); Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme at Carroll / Fletcher (London); Ketuta AlexiMeskhishvili at Micky Schubert (Berlin); and a presentation of work by Massinissa Selmani at Selma Feriani Gallery (Sidi Bou Said).
Providing galleries with a unique platform to show works that transcend the traditional art fair stand, Unlimited, curated for the fifth consecutive year by Gianni Jetzer, saw a record number of 88 ambitious historical and contemporary works, with galleries reporting excellent sales. An annual highlight of Art Basel, many visitors commented on the strength of this year’s presentation, featuring renowned international artists including Ai Weiwei, El Anatsui, Kader Attia, Hans Op de Beeck, Gretchen Bender, Pablo Bronstein, Elmgreen & Dragset, Tracey Emin, Isa Genzken, Dan Graham, Mike Kelley, William Kentridge, Joseph Kosuth, Louise Lawler, Sol LeWitt, Laura Lima, Paul McCarthy, Pamela Rosenkranz, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Frank Stella and Samson Young.
The Parcours program once again wove artistic interventions into the fabric of Basel. Curated for the first time by Samuel Leuenberger, Director and Curator of SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland, this year’s program presented artistic projects with a ‘human’ or ‘figurative’ stance across the Münsterplatz area of Basel. Parcours featured 19 sitespecific artworks by internationally renowned and emerging artists including: Trisha Baga, Daniel Gustav Cramer, Andrew Dadson, Michael Dean, Jim Dine, Sam Durant, Alberto Garutti, Alfredo Jaar, Hans Josephsohn, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, Eva Koťátková, Allan McCollum, Iván Navarro, Virginia Overton, Tabor Robak, Tracey Rose, Bernar Venet, Michael Wang and Lawrence Weiner. Over the seven days, nearly 8,000 people attended Parcours. On Parcours Night on Saturday, June 18, all project venues stayed open late with special one-off performances by: Eva Kot’átková at Basler Marionetten Theater; Mathilde Rosier, presented in collaboration with Institut Kunst, HGK FHNW at Scala Basel; Nástio Mosquito, presented in collaboration with Raw Material Company, Dakar, at Gymnasium am Münsterplatz; Tracey Rose at Münsterplatz; Anne Imhof, presented in collaboration with Kunsthalle Basel; and Pádraic E. Moore, presented in collaboration with Raw Material Company, Dakar, at Museum der Kulturen Basel. With its inherently collaborative approach, Parcours flourished thanks to the support and engagement of the city of Basel, its institutions and inhabitants. This year saw the start of a new venture, Parcours Bar at Spira Popstore, a space where each night from Monday to Saturday six Basel based institutions – deuxpiece, Schwarzwaldallee, Deli Projects, SALTS, Ausstellungsraum Klingental and Oslo10 – presented their program.