Book it now: Art Basel 2015
by Zoe Dickens
Now in its 45th year, Art Basel has become an internationally renowned platform for the best of the global modern and contemporary art market. Staging fairs in Miami Beach and Hong Kong, as well as the more recent sister show Design Miami/Basel, this week the show returns home to Switzerland with a host of leading galleries, artists and collectors from Europe and the wider world.
A huge 284 galleries from 33 countries will present works at this year’s fair. Their remit spans the Modern period of the early 20th Century up to today’s hottest emerging talent and, as usual, they will be split into three sections. Galleries is the main part of the fair and houses more established fine art exhibitors, including the Gagosian Gallery, Sadie Coles HQ and David Zwirner, as well as those who have previously shown in other parts of the fair.
The Feature sector is reserved for those galleries presenting more niche curated projects; highlights include a site-specific recreation of Judith Bernstein’s iconic, censored screw drawing Horizontal and a series of drawings by Andrea Bowers examining the trial and political activism sparked by a 2012 Ohio high school rape case.
The Statements sector of the fair, meanwhile, is reserved for solo presentations from emerging artists and young galleries. Renowned as the place to spot art’s next big thing, our hot tips include Beatrice Gibson, who will be debuting a major two-part film with the Laura Bartlett Gallery, and Bunny Rogers, who has created an intriguing series of works around the idea of mourning a fictional character. As always, the Baloise Art Prize will be awarded to two artists exhibiting in Statements who will receive solo shows and see their works donated to two major European museums.
New to Art Basel 2015 is a partnership with Kickstarter connecting current and would-be collectors with gallery owners who can help guide the collecting process, as well as a new award sponsored by BMW to help further the creative journey of promising artists. The fair has also created links with arts educators HKU Space for Degree Programmes and Central Saint Martins as part of an executive body to promote the collecting of contemporary art.
The Art Basel Conversations and Salon series also promises to be an unmissable highlight of the 2015 show. Key talks include a panel led by Serpentine co-curator Hans Ulrich Obrist on the subject of “The Artist as Archaeologist” and a discussion on the power of contemporary art led by curator and art critic Bonaventure Soh Bejeng Ndikung and featuring Tate Modern director Chris Dercon and artist and filmmaker Jean Lamore.
A final must-see of the 2015 fair is Unlimited: a collection of 74 ambitious large-scale works spanning five decades. Curated by the Hirshhorn Museum’s Gianni Jetzer, Unlimited will show works by some of the biggest names at the fair, including Ai Weiwei’s bicycle sculpture Stacked, David Shrigley’s interactive life drawing work Life Model and Martin Creed’s video examination of gait and personality Work No. 1701.
Art Basel takes place from 18-21 June in Basel, Switzerland. Visit artbasel.com for tickets and information.