The art world’s focus returns to Basel. Art Basel will be open to the public from June 15th to 18th. As global travel gradually returns to normal, Art Basel has undergone management changes and announced plans to further expand its global footprint. This year, it brings together 284 top galleries from around the world. At the same time, there are also two art fairs, Liste and Volta, in Basel, and art institutions and galleries are presenting works by many internationally renowned artists in their last exhibitions before the summer break.
Meanwhile, local art museums and institutions in Basel are hosting a series of heavyweight exhibitions. The Fondation Beyeler will showcase eight large-scale paintings created by Jean-Michel Basquiat during the Modena period. The Schaulager is launching the group exhibition “Out of the Box” to commemorate its 20th anniversary. The Kunsthalle Basel is hosting the largest solo exhibition to date by British artist Patrick Staff, and the Museum Tinguely is focusing on the artist duo Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller.
As Art Basel opens, we have compiled this exhibition map of Basel’s summer exhibitions, categorized by art fairs, museums, art institutions, and galleries.
The 2023 Basel Art Fair will bring together 284 galleries from around the world, including a strong lineup of European galleries and many returning galleries from around the world. This year’s fair will also welcome 21 galleries exhibiting for the first time. In addition to presenting exciting exhibitions in the “Galleries,” “Feature,” “Statements,” and “Edition” sections, the 2023 Basel Art Fair will feature 76 large installations and performance projects in the “Unlimited” section. The “Kabinett” section, making its debut at the Basel Art Fair, will focus on the galleries’ special curated projects presented in their main booths. The “Parcours” section, which focuses on public art projects, will bring 26 site-specific public art projects, while Latifa Echakhch’s work injects vitality into Messeplatz in the city. The “Conversations” section, which is free and open to the public, will focus on topics such as care, community, and connection, while the “Film” section will feature a series of biographies, documentaries, and special projects centered around science fiction and magical realism themes.
Outside the fairgrounds, the Basel Art Fair will showcase a site-specific installation created by Moroccan sculptor and installation artist Latifa Echakhch, who is based in Switzerland. The project is curated by Samuel Leuenberger, the curator of the “Parcours” section, which specializes in site-specific works. Echakhch represented Switzerland at the 59th Venice Biennale in 2022, and her long-standing creative practice focuses on deconstructing the stage – the symbol of wreckage and ruins – to reveal the hope and possibilities within. The grand upper building located at Messeplatz will serve as the backdrop for a series of live concerts and performances in collaboration with Luc Meier, the artistic director of La Becque artist residency program. In an interview with Art News, Latifa Echakhch expressed her hope that the installation will be a surprise. Her new work in Basel is an empty, deconstructed stage called “Der Allplatz,” which is simply translated as “the space for all” and will serve as a venue for experimental music performances. When visitors and colleagues from the art world meet on the square or when the public waits for the Basel tram, musicians including guitarist Rhys Chatham, electronic musician Jessica Ekomane, and cellist Leila Bordreuil will begin to play.
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Liste Art Fair Basel
In addition to Art Basel, Liste Art Fair Basel (also known as Basel Liste Young Art Fair) is the only art fair in the Basel art ecosystem that focuses on experimental and innovative artists and galleries. After being cancelled for several years due to the pandemic, it has now returned to the audience’s attention at the same time as Art Basel, and is equally worth looking forward to. This year’s Liste Art Fair Basel has 88 galleries from 35 countries exhibiting works by over 100 artists, with 20 galleries participating for the first time. Since its inception, Liste has been considered one of the most important places to discover young international art. In order to provide the best conditions for galleries and their artists, in addition to the physical exhibition held in Basel, Liste has also developed two digital formats: Liste Showtime is the digital version of the exhibition, which is being held for the fourth time this year and will run until June 25th; Liste Expedition is a digital research forum and artist index, which has been permanently displayed on the website since December 2021 and continues to grow every year.
Volta Basel 2023
The contemporary art fair Volta Basel’s art fair made its debut in Basel in 2005. It is an art fair derived from dealers for dealers and their working partners, and is another international art platform during the art capital Basel fair. This year’s art fair presents works from 30 galleries from around the world. The new location of VOLTA, Klybeck 610, was designed by architects Suter + Suter in 1967 and is located in the Klybeck district, placing the fair at the center of the city’s international art market – a 20-minute walk or 5-minute shuttle ride from Art Basel.
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Moderna Paintings
Exhibition until August 27, 2023
In the summer of 1982, Jean-Michel Basquiat traveled to Modena, Italy. Gallery owner Emilio Mazzoli invited the then 21-year-old New York artist to create works on-site for his solo exhibition. In just a few days, Basquiat completed eight large paintings, some of which are now his most famous and valuable works. However, the final exhibition did not take place as planned. Over 40 years later, all of Basquiat’s paintings completed in Modena are on display for the first time in this exhibition at the Fondation Beyeler. These works mark the beginning of Basquiat’s career and fully showcase the artist’s iconic rich colors and expressive painting style.
Sam Keller, director of the Fondation Beyeler, told Art News: “With each generation, the importance of Basquiat’s work continues to increase. He combined images and words from high and popular culture, history, science, and social and economic injustice, truly ahead of his time. Revisiting them today is more meaningful than ever.”
Patrick Staff: In Ecstasy
Exhibition at the Basel Art Museum
Image by Philipp Hanger/Basel Art Museum
Patrick Staff’s exhibition “In Ecstasy” is currently on display at the Basel Art Museum.
P.Staff: In Ecstasy
On display until August 27, 2023.
British artist Patrick Staff, also known as P. Staff, presents his largest solo exhibition to date at Kunsthalle Basel, featuring entirely new works including film, sculpture, and installations. These works blend anti-aesthetics, mysticism, and necropolitics, creating an atmospheric and poignant exhibition. Through a complex arrangement of wires and pipes, visitors are invited to navigate a maze-like structure and enter a universe. The artist urgently reflects on fundamental questions we face: how can we confirm that we are living in a burning world, and what does true living really mean?
Shirley Jaffe: Form as Experiment
On display until July 30, 2023.
Born in 1923 in New Jersey as Shirley Sternstein, the artist now known as Shirley Jaffe moved to Paris in 1949. After a brief marriage to journalist Irving Jaffe, the painter decided to stay in France. Drawing inspiration from abstract expressionism and European abstraction, Jaffe placed her completed works on the left side of her Paris apartment and unfinished works on the right, with a five-meter space between them. This was where the artist lived and worked. From 1969 until her death in 2016, she resided in a studio apartment on Rue Saint-Victor in Paris. The aforementioned five-meter space can also be seen as a metaphor for opposing spaces – America and Europe, abstraction and geometry, mysterious yet approachable art.
Kunstmuseum Basel recently acquired an important collection of the artist’s works. Rediscovering Jaffe’s evocative paintings, the museum decided to hold this special and wide-ranging exhibition. The exhibition was realized in close collaboration with the Centre Pompidou in Paris and the Musée Matisse in Nice. At the same time, the artist’s solo exhibition “An American Woman in Paris” is on display at the Centre Pompidou.
Andrea Büttner: The Heart of Relations
Exhibition until October 1, 2023
German artist Andrea Büttner (born 1972 in Stuttgart) began creating images on complex themes such as employment, poverty, shame, and coexistence in the early 21st century, as well as deeper social impacts from belief systems (whether religious or secular). To make these themes concrete, the artist drew on a wide range of art forms. Büttner has become known for her large wooden sculptures and has since expanded into a wide range of media. In addition to woodcuts and etchings, these works also include books, glassware, video installations, and textiles.
Andrea Büttner’s exhibition is a vast and spatially rich “narrative,” in which visitors experience a gradually unfolding process. “The Heart of Relations” brings together different narrative threads, such as care in monastic cohabitation and forced labor in biodynamic agriculture during the National Socialist era.
In recent years, Büttner’s works have been exhibited in multiple international institutions, including the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, the Tate Modern in London, and the MMK Museum of Modern Art in Frankfurt.
The Dingli Museum
Janet Cardiff & George Bures Miller: Dream Machine
Exhibition until September 24, 2023
Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller are a Canadian artist duo whose collaboration began by chance. In the mid-1990s, Cardiff was invited to do an exhibition in Vancouver, and they completed “The Dark Pool” (1995) together in their studio. Since then, their 30 years of collaboration have been collected in a new exhibition at the Museum Tinguely, which includes 14 multimedia works that rely on audience participation. Whether it’s a table filled with speakers activated by the movements of visitors (“Experiment in F# Minor,” 2013) or the complex details that may be missed in the perspective window of “Escape Room” (2021), the presence of talented participants or talented viewers can truly make the works sing, as Cardiff said. The exhibition at the Museum Tinguely in Basel came after the artists received the Wilhelm Lehmbruck Prize in 2020, which seems like a somewhat strange choice because although there are sculptural elements in Cardiff and Miller’s works, their practice is broader and includes elements of drama, video, and sound design. But Cardiff has a different view: “I’ve always thought of sound as sculpture.” “We are hybrid artists. We’ve always liked pushing the boundaries of contemporary theater, and we like any medium that pushes boundaries,” she said. “My earliest influence was Chris Marker’s ‘La Jetée’ (1962), which was mainly made up of stills and broke the boundaries of film production.” “We just follow interesting things.”
Exhibition until October 29, 2023
Roger Ballen, born in 1950 in New York and currently based in Johannesburg, is one of the most influential and important photographers of the 21st century. His strange and extreme works confront viewers and challenge them to embark on a journey into their own psyche, as he explores his own deeper layers. By the 1990s, he had developed a photographic style he called “Ballenesque.” Over the past decade, Ballen has created powerful works of art, blurring the boundaries between fantasy and reality. He uses techniques such as sketching, painting, collage, and sculpture to create meticulously designed scenes that perfectly match the “Danse macabre” depicted in Ding Yi’s work, as the exhibition will be displayed near it.
Breaking Out of the Box: Shanghai Museum’s 20th Anniversary Group Exhibition.
OUT OF THE BOX
Exhibition runs until November 19, 2023.
To celebrate its 20th anniversary, Schaulager Museum is hosting a large group exhibition called “OUT OF THE BOX,” featuring works by about 25 outstanding artists, including Polish installation artist Monika Sosnowska, Belgian artist David Claerbout, and Klara Lidén. Some of the works are being exhibited in the museum for the first time.
The physical space that displays videos, films, or other time-based media is also an important part of the art experience. The curator of this exhibition, Isabel Friedli, said, “When each artist begins to create a work based on film or video, there is always a concept of space in their mind. The existence of the work cannot be separated from the room it is displayed in, and in most cases, these spaces are carefully controlled by the artist.”
The ongoing exhibition at Schaulager Museum showcases these “boxes” and displays the works of more than 20 artists in its spacious area. This includes Anri Sala’s audio-visual installation “Ravel Ravel,” which was exhibited at the Venice Biennale in 2013. For this exhibition, the artist created a new version of the installation for the exhibition space. Some sculptures and installations are also included in this theme, such as Monika Sosnowska’s crumpled metal box, which is “like being squeezed by a giant” in the corner of a building, and Jean-Frédéric Schnyder’s architectural sculpture made from banana boxes.
The exhibition title has a deeper meaning for Schaulager Museum: it opened 20 years ago as an early example of the popular open storage institution, showcasing art in storage. It includes the 90-year-old Emanuel Hoffmann Collection, which has always incorporated time-based art. However, the difficulty of continuously displaying these works means that many of them have been kept in “boxes.”
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