Each year Art Basel hosts its Conversations and Salon series of discussions and talks on a range of subjects, including the collection and exhibition of art, understanding art from a geographical and historical perspective, and timely topics concerning the contemporary art scene. Artists, gallerists, art historians, curators, museum directors, critics, and collectors participate in panel discussions, book signings, and interviews.
Art Basel’s Conversations series launches with the Premiere Artist Talk, which this year sees the German artist Thomas Schütte in conversation with Massimiliano Gioni, Curator of the 55th Venice Biennial and Associate Director at the New Museum in New York. On Thursday morning András Szántó, author and cultural consultant, leads a discussion focusing on museums in a time of austerity, alongside Agustín Pérez Rubio, Independent Curator and former Director of the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Castilla y León; Suzanne Cotter, Director of the Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto; and Marina Fokidis, Independent Curator, Founding Director Kunsthalle Athena and Editor in Chief of South Magazine, Athens. On Friday, a panel of curators and collectors discuss the challenges of collecting digital art. ‘The Artist and the Galleriest’, a new series, sees the artist Dan Graham in conversation with his gallerist Massimo Minini. Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director, Serpentine Gallery, London, on Sunday moderates the sixth panel of his ‘Artistic Practice’ series, ‘The Artist as Farmer’, offering fresh insights on dynamic models of artistic practice while exploring the concept and idea of the farm.
Highlights of the afternoon Salon program, an open platform for short presentations, include an art market talk focused on the role of mid-level galleries with Josh Baer, Publisher, Baer Faxt, and Art Advisor; Elizabeth Dee, Founder and President, Elizabeth Dee Gallery and Co-Founder and President of The Independent, New York; and Edward Winkleman, Founder and President, Winkleman Gallery, New York and Co-Founder, Moving Image Art Fair, New York and London; Florence Derieux, curator of Art Basel’s Parcours sector and Director of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, in conversation with artists Tom Burr and Valerie Snobeck; Jens Hoffmann, Deputy Director of the Jewish Museum, New York, hosting a discussion titled ‘The Fundamental Questions of Curating’ alongside Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy Curator of Contemporary Art; Colección Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, New York/Caracas; and Jessica Morgan, Director of the 2014 Gwangju Biennale and Curator of Contemporary Art, Tate Modern, London; and Yvette Mutumba, Curator for Africa at the Weltkulturen Museum, Frankfurt am Main, leading a ‘Focus Africa’ discussion with the two leading African artists Meschac Gaba and Otobong Nkanga.