Galleries throughout Art Basel 48 have reported exceptional sales across the board, pointing to Art Basel’s ability to convene leading galleries and collectors from around the world. Running simultaneously with the Venice Biennale, documenta 14 and Skulptur Projekte Münster, Art Basel drew a particularly strong turnout of both established and new collectors from over 100 countries, with strong attendance from the Americas and Asia. The show attracted an attendance of 95,000 and once again proved itself to be a pivotal meeting point for the international art world.
‘It’s hard to imagine that Art Basel could grow stronger every year, but it does just that.’ – Thaddaeus Ropac
‘We had our most successful Art Basel ever. The quality of the fair is astonishing and this year we felt that the caliber of the collectors, museum colleagues and patrons was not only of the highest order but even more international than we have seen in past years.’
Dominique Lévy, Founder, and Co-owner, Lévy Gorvy (New York, London) The show brought together 291 premier galleries from 35 countries, presenting extraordinary contemporary and Modern works by over 4,000 artists. Leading private collectors from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa attended this year, as well as representatives from over 300 museums and institutions, including: the Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; The Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; M+, Hong Kong; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Tamayo Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; and The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.
Philomene Magers, Co-owner, Sprüth Magers (Berlin, London, Los Angeles) said, ‘Art Basel is the most important fair for the gallery. We placed our artists’ works in excellent international collections. Again, this year, Unlimited gave us a fantastic opportunity to exhibit four historical and significant works by Otto Piene, John Baldessari, Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer. Unlimited and its focus on museum-quality pieces is very unique to this fair. It was great to see the response that these presentations received throughout the week.’
‘This was one of the most upbeat art fairs that I can remember. Unlimited set the tone with one incredible installation after another. Collectors took their time, but we ended up selling virtually everything in the booth. It is also worth noting that museums were actively acquiring for their permanent collections.’
Marc Glimcher, President, Pace (New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Palo Alto)
‘This has been our most successful Art Basel ever! The high energy of the fair combined with an incredibly diverse collector base meant we placed work in collections from Europe to the United States to institutions in China, and were active across the spectrum of our program – from multimillion dollar Modern masters to more modestly priced new work.’
Marc Payot, Partner & Vice President, Hauser & Wirth (Zurich, London, Somerset, Los Angeles, New York)
‘Art Basel marks the most important moment in the art world calendar, providing the best platform to make new connections and strengthen our existing relations with the most serious collectors and museum directors in the world. Park Chan-kyong’s work presented in the Unlimited sector is deeply rooted in Korean culture, we were extremely astonished at how well the visitors received it.’
Hyun-Sook Lee, Founder, and Chairwoman, Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery (Seoul, New York)
‘It is a beautiful experience to be part of Art Basel. Choosing to feature historical projects in such a fair allowed us to deepen our relationships, not only with private collectors but also with foundations and public institutions. It is the premier fair, and a moment to showcase our historical gems, our research, and discoveries.’
Michele Casamonti, Owner, Tornabuoni Art (Paris, Crans Montana, Florence, Forte dei Marmi, London, Milan)
‘The quality of interest and energy present at Art Basel has been exceptional this year. Once again, Art Basel has proven itself to be a cut above all fairs.’
Maureen Paley, Founder Director, Maureen Paley (London)
‘Sales were incredibly robust, highlighting a growing interest in our global program, including artists of the diaspora and the African continent. This is always one of the most important moments of the year for us as a gallery, and we are thrilled with the mix of collectors, curators, and scholars with whom we had the opportunity to connect with this year in Basel.’
Liza Essers, Owner and Director, Goodman Gallery (Johannesburg, Cape Town)
‘Art Basel 2017 has been extraordinary. Art Basel is the best fair in the world and this year was stronger than ever. We made major sales every day, many to new collectors, and I feel we could build much of our business for the year ahead on the contacts and discussions established at this fair alone.’
Alison Jacques, Owner, Alison Jacques Gallery (London)
‘We have been very privileged to be a new entry this year. It has been a great experience and we are delighted to have received a great reception to our artist Wang Shang’s new work and to enjoy a successful debut in this premier international art fair.’
Qu Kejie, Founder, Magician Space (Beijing)
‘The show this year was the best we’ve had in many years, by all measures. I feel quite invigorated.’
Howard Greenberg, Owner, Howard Greenberg Gallery (New York)
‘Art Basel continues to set the standard for international excellence. Our first year at the fair was an unequivocal success, with robust sales and a tremendous response to our curated booth. Not only were sales strong, they were diverse. The caliber of collectors, in addition to the quality of our fellow dealers, is unparalleled on the international stage.’
Emmanuel Di Donna, Founder, Di Donna (New York)
‘We are very pleased and delighted with our first year at Art Basel in Switzerland. We were able to place fantastic works – among them was one of Domenico Gnoli’s most powerful paintings, ‘Braid’ from 1969, and a milestone work by Pino Pascali – with major public and private collections. The overall quality of the fair was outstanding, and collectors felt the buzz of activity.’
Daniella Luxembourg, Partner, Luxembourg & Dayan (New York, London)
‘Being selected to participate in Art Basel’s Statements sector is a turning point in the career of our gallery, and we are honored to be here. Maha Maamoun’s piece generated intense responses and it’s very rewarding to see her work get this much validation from collectors and curators alike.’
Aleya Hamza, Director, Gypsum Gallery (Cairo)
‘We are incredibly happy with our first-ever participation in the Galleries sector. We brought works by several artists that I believe have never-before been shown at Art Basel, Switzerland, including paintings by Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri and Ibrahim El-Salahi. We placed both artists with European collectors with whom we have formed new relationships. It has been really gratifying to meet so many new collectors who are unfamiliar with our artists and program, as well as see our core clients here at the show.’
Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn, Founder, Salon 94 (New York)
This year, Galleries, the fair’s main sector, presented 226 exhibitors showing the highest quality painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, video and editioned works – with many galleries exhibiting work by artists from the summers’ three other major art events. Overall, the gallery sector of the show was rejuvenated by 12 galleries showing within the sector for the very first time. On the ground floor, four secondary market dealers were brought in: Di Donna, Tornabuoni Art, Luxembourg & Dayan and Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois. On the first floor, new exhibitors included Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Pilar Corrias, dépendance, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts Ltd., Salon 94, Campoli Presti, Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler and Canada. Additionally, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art returned to Basel following a brief hiatus.
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. The sector welcomed eight galleries exhibiting at the Basel show for the first time: Galerie Emanuel Layr from Vienna; Chapter NY and Real Fine Arts from New York, as well as galleries from places traditionally seen as far from the core art world: Galeria Dawid Radziszewski from Warsaw; Hopkinson Mossman from Auckland; and Gypsum Gallery from Cairo.
The 19th Baloise Art Prize was awarded to Martha Atienza (b. 1981) at Silverlens from Manila and Sam Pulitzer (b. 1984) exhibited by Real Fine Arts from New York. The prize of CHF 30,000 each was presented to the two artists by a jury of international experts and works by the award winners was acquired by The Baloise Group and donated to the MUDAM Luxembourg and the Nationalgalerie Berlin.
32 galleries took part in the Feature sector, showcasing exceptionally high-quality curatorial projects, with seven galleries completely new to the show. Encompassing both historical and contemporary work, highlights from the sector included: Lea Lublin (1929-1999) at Deborah Schamoni, Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984) at The Box, a selection of Vlassis Caniaris’ (1928-2011) political works at Kalfayan Galleries and Jenkins Johnson Gallery’s spotlight on Gordon Parks (1912-2006).
Presented across 16,000 square meters of exhibition space, Unlimited offered artists and galleries an exciting platform to create and present ambitious large-scale works that transcend the traditional art-fair stand. Unlimited consisted of 76 works and was curated for the sixth year by Gianni Jetzer, curator-at-large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Once again galleries reported particularly strong sales from the sector. Both historical and contemporary works were featured, celebrating renowned masters as well as emerging artists, including: Mac Adams (b.1943), Doug Aitken (b. 1968), John Baldessari (b. 1931), Phyllida Barlow (b. 1944), Andrea Bowers (b. 1965), Chris Burden (1946-2015), LaToya Ruby Frazier (b. 1982), Carlos Garaicoa (b. 1967), Subodh Gupta(b. 1964), Donna Huanca (b. 1980), Arthur Jafa (b. 1960), Mike Kelley (1954-2012),Barbara Kruger (b. 1945), Park Chan-kyong (b. 1965), Marwan Rechmaoui (b. 1964),Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971), Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984), Sue Williamson (b. 1941) and Anicka Yi (b. 1971).
The medieval center of Basel around Münsterplatz was once again brought to life by Parcours, with artistic interventions engaging with Basel’s past and present. This year’s edition was curated for the second year by Samuel Leuenberger, Director and Curator of SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland, and consisted of 22 elaborate site-specific artworks, with artists addressing the truths that concern their daily experiences, including: Ai Weiwei (b. 1957), Katinka Bock (b. 1976), Pedro Cabrita Reis (b. 1956), Miriam Cahn (b. 1949),Berlinde de Bruyckere (b. 1964), Nathalie Djurberg (b. 1978) and Hans Berg (b. 1978), Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974), GCC (est. 2013), Amanda Ross-Ho (b. 1975), Cally Spooner(b. 1983), Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) and Wu Tsang (b. 1982). Over the seven days, over 12,000 people attended Parcours.
During Parcours Night on Saturday, June 17, all project venues stayed open late with special live performances. Supported by MGM Resorts Art and Culture, Than Hussein Clark(b. 1981) transformed Otto Rudolf Salvisberg’s ‘Erste Kirche Christi’ into his own version of a Broadway theatre with ‘Yes, Yes, All the News that’s Fit To Print’ (2017). Further performances on Parcours Night included works by: Itziar Okariz (b. 1965), Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (b. 1973), Shana Moulton (b. 1976), Moved by the Motion (Wu Tsang, boychild, Patrick Belaga, Bendik Giske and Josh Johnson), Eric Hattan (b. 1955),Julian Sartorius (b. 1981) and Hans Berg (b. 1978).
Consisting of 34 film and video works, presented by the show’s participating galleries, Art Basel’s Film program was curated for the third year by Cairo-based film curator Maxa Zoller.Heavily influenced by today’s political events, highlights from this year’s program included: ‘Also Known As Jihadi’ (2017), the latest feature-length film by French-American artist Eric Baudelaire (b. 1973), the European premiere of He Xiangyu’s (b. 1986) new film ‘The Swim’ (2017) and a special screening of Stanley Tucci’s (b. 1960) ‘Final Portrait’ (2017), selected by New York-based film curator Marian Masone. As part of Art Basel’s third-year collaboration with the Locarno Festival, Filipa César’s (b. 1975) new feature length film ‘Spell Reel’ (2017) was also presented. A key feature of the short film program included ‘Little Films to Smile to Focus on Breda Beban’, offering visitors a rare opportunity to see multiple works by the late Yugoslavian-born filmmaker Breda Beban (1952-2012). Further works by Kader Attia (b. 1970), Edgardo Aragón (b. 1985), François Bucher (b. 1972), William E. Jones (b. 1962), Maha Maamoun (b. 1972), Ana Mendieta (1948-1985), Mohau Modisakeng (b. 1986), Carlos Javier Ortiz (b. 1975), Robin Rhode (b. 1976), La Ribot (b. 1962), Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964), Zineb Sedira (b. 1963), Anton Vidokle (b. 1965), Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Carrie Mae Weems (b. 1953) were also presented as part of the short film program. The Art Basel Film program was shown at the Stadtkino Basel and attended by over 700 visitors.
Conversations, Art Basel’s talks series, brought together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world. Programmed for the third year by Mari Spirito, Founding Director and Curator of Protocinema, Istanbul, the program featured 23 talks and served as a platform for dialogues and discussions on current topics, offering perspectives on producing, collecting, and exhibiting art. This year’s Premiere Artist Talk was devoted to the artist Annette Messager (b. 1943) and was moderated by Dr. Maria Balshaw, Director of Tate, London. The ‘Artists’ Influencers’ talk saw the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster (b. 1965) in dialogue with Kasper König, Artistic Director of Skulptur Projekte Münster 2017, moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London. The debate focusing on ‘New Rules: Is the Artworld a Mature Industry?’, moderated by András Szántó, Author and Cultural Consultant, brought together a panel of speakers including Lindsay Pollock, Former Editor-in-Chief of Art in America, New York; Adam Sheffer, Partner at Cheim & Read and President, Art Dealers Association of America, New York; Bob Rennie, Collector and Principal, Rennie Collection, Vancouver; Olav Velthuis, Professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Amsterdam and President of TIAMSA; and Pierre Valentin, Partner Constantine Cannon LLP, London. The Art Basel talks program was free and open to the public. Over 2,500 people attended Conversations this year. All panels were streamed live on Art Basel’s YouTube channel and high-quality videos will be available on the website from next week: artbasel.com/basel/conversations.
Swiss artist Claudia Comte (b. 1983) transformed Basel’s Messeplatz with ‘NOW I WON’, a new monumental outdoor installation taking the form of a fully functioning funfair. Presented for the duration of this year’s Art Basel in Basel and made especially for the show, ‘NOW I WON’ consisted of two parts: an immersive installation, which actively engaged the public to compete in a range of games and competitions and a large-scale sculpture that spelled out the palindrome title of the work: ‘NOW I WON’. Over the six days, 2,500 people took part in the competition to win original artworks by Claudia Comte. The presentation was curated by Chus Martínez, Head of Art Institute at FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel.
Visitors to Basel were offered a range of outstanding exhibitions by the city’s leading museums. Major exhibitions coinciding with Art Basel included: the first comprehensive engagement with the medium of photography on Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) at Fondation Beyeler; ‘Richard Serra: Films and Videotapes’, ‘The Hidden Cézanne: From Sketchbook to Canvas’, and ‘Cosmic Communism’, devoted to German painter and sculptor Otto Freundlich (1878-1943), at the Kunstmuseum Basel; an exhibition devoted to Yan Xing (b. 1986) alongside a group show titled ‘Ungestalt’ at the Kunsthalle Basel; Wim Delvoye (b. 1965) at Museum Tinguely; ‘David Claerbout: Olympia’ at Schaulager; and two themed shows: ‘Mudun: Urban Cultures in Transit’ and ‘Together! The New Architecture of the Collective’ at Vitra Design Museum.
Organized by the Verein Basler Galerien, a group of Basel galleries opened their doors to the public on the evening of Thursday, June 13, 2017. Participating galleries included: von Bartha, Carzaniga, Graf & Schelble, Henze & Ketterer & Triebold, Idea Fixa, Laleh June, Gisèle Linder, Anne Mosseri-Marlio, Stampa, Daniel Blaise Thorens, Tony Wuethrich and Kunsthalle Palazzo. Other independent art spaces, such as Vitrine and Balzer Projects, were also included.
On Thursday, June 15, 2017, Theater Basel showed a performance piece by Luxembourg artist Filip Markiewicz (b. 1980) drawn from his work ‘Paradiso Lussemburgo’ (2015) and featuring actors from Theater Basel. The piece reflected the work of actors in today’s Europe, with its interdependencies of politics and pop culture, terrorism and populism.
Photos: Via Twitter