For a week each June, Basel, Switzerland becomes the Center of the Art Universe, transformed into one big art gallery. Basel is art intensive year-round, but Art Basel—perhaps the most influential contemporary art show of its kind in the world—takes things up a notch. It is always interesting to see what’s new at the fair.
Art Basel’s satellite fairs & public art
The highlights this year for me (so far) have been the Schaulager Satellite, adjacent to the main entrance to Art Basel; and two satellite fairs, Liste and VOLTA. I also took a ramble through Art Basel’s public art presentation, Art Parcours, held this year in the St. Johann neighborhood along the Rhine.
- Liste 18 is in the old Warteck brewery a couple of blocks from the river. It’s a fun ramble to climb the industrial staircases, and poke into the brewery’s nooks and crannies. Artists at Liste are all under 40 years of age, presented by gallerists in operation less than five years. I especially liked a set of blown-ink drawings by Swiss artist Luca Frei, presented by ELASTIC Gallery of Malmö.
- This year, VOLTA emphasizes single artist presentations and booth concepts that bring the work of two artists into dialogue with one another. Three gallerists who did this very well are balzer ART projects, presenting the “ad absurdum” constructions of Nicole Schmid and Andreas Bauer’s vertical labyrinths; the Jonathan Ferrara Gallery of New Orleans, with the narrative mixed-media work of Gina Phillips; and Galerie Ron Mandos of Amsterdam, showing the obsessively crafted rooms and sculptures of Levl van Veluw. VOLTA 8 occupies space in the evolving art realm of Dreispitz, a re-purposed commercial transport area, with its loading docks, scales and rivets.
- Art Parcours included chairs dressed for a service at Predigerkirche by Los Carpinteros of Brazil; Aleksandra Mir’s half-size Fiat; and a peek at the interiors of Zur Mägd restaurant, and Dieter Roth’s atelier in Ackermanhof.
- A whimsical set-up of “guerilla knitting” by needle workers in Basel’s three-country region wrapped the railings of the Wettsteinbrϋcke over the Rhine.
As an added bonus to the local art scene, museums and galleries around town offer special exhibitions and extended hours during Art Basel. Plenty to keep an art lover happy here!
Related post: Art Parcours through St. Albantal (Art Basel 42)