After more than a year of artists delving deeper into their own practice with little or no feedback from fellow artists or gallerists on the progression of their work, it will be exciting for artists, gallerists and the art public to see new artwork. Giddy anticipation on the part of viewers adds to the excitement for Art Basel and other fairs in Basel, Switzerland, coming September 19 through 26. As Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel was quoted in the introductory materials for the Switzerland-based fair, “While the pandemic has been a time of resilience and innovation it has not always been one of discovery – patrons have often not been able to discover the work of new artists.” Artscope, showing in the magazine sector, is happy to be part of the excited crowd seeing new work by artists seen before and discovering new artists and galleries showing for the first time at Art Basel.
Despite the remote possibility of the fair’s cancellation and the hassle of traveling abroad, legions of viewers are expected, all attending with required full vaccination or Covid-19 testing within 48 or 72 hours, depending on which test is taken, or evidence of Covid-19 antibodies from recovery within the last 180 days. In many cases fashion-forward masks will be worn.
Concern with the challenged environment producing the disastrous consequences of the pandemic is apparent throughout Art Basel’s offerings, reiterating the ability of artists to focus on — and bring awareness to — challenges to our mutual existence on earth. Julien Creuzet’s winning BMW Art Journey project shines light on the environment, particularly challenges to island nations. Sponsored by Gallery High Art, Paris, working with art students from Fort de France, Martinique, musicians and filmmakers, Creuzet’s hybrid sculptures of Antillean fauna and plastic and industrialobjects display the span of time and space as underwater scenes paired with aerial drone imagery. The installation returns Creuzet to his ancestral home, while he connects the Caribbean diaspora to Martinique, emphasizing the importance of community and family that we all recognized during the pandemic. But even more, Creuzet focuses on anti- diluvian time, and water-covered earth, chillingly portending the state we all may be in if we do not act globally to reduce climate change.