It was pretty much a tie for me as to which fair was better, Art Basel or Volta Basel. Whereas Art Basel did little to startle, presumably deeming more serious (and environmental) artwork more appealing to buyers, including my favorites: Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Chromogenic print, “Optiks, 224,” 2018, at Marian Goodman Gallery, with blues and greens added to his formerly mainly black, white and gray palette; Njideka Akunyili’s Crosby’s “Garden Party,” 2019, acrylic, colored pencil, collage and transfers on paper, at Victoria Miro, and best of all for me, Alex De Corte’s “The End,” 2022, velvet, EPS, thread, at Sadie Coles HQ, London. I want that flowered wreath permanently in my house. Volta Basel similarly provided beautiful landscapes and glorious depictions of people and the environment for younger and less wealthy buyers to take home with them. Charlie Smith (London) won my heart at … [Read more...] about Roundup: Art Basel, Volta, and Kunstmuseum Basel: Who Wins?
Art Basel Switzerland
Arriving Tuesday morning, unfortunately missing the initial press and VIP preview days at Art Basel 2022 in Basel, Switzerland, I became part of the larger crowd vying for the attention of artists and gallery owners at the revived fair following Covid interruptions and re-schedulings. Art was selling at multiple booths, but, and this is the caveat: the best pieces were selling quickly while those of lesser quality and often merely picking up on jokes of the past languished. The animal covered with bananas recalling an old joke was ignored. I found multiple pieces, however, that made me smile, incorporating bright colors and ingenious forms. Resulting undoubtedly from the Covid prohibitions on traveling, much of the work reflected the artist’s own community and place. From Leonardo Drew’s gathering of stuff from around his home, collaged into a massive work at Galerie Lelong’s booth to … [Read more...] about EXIGENCY ON FULL VIEW: PEOPLE OVER TECHNOLOGY PREVAILS AS ART BASEL 2022 OPENS
Parcours, in French, means Journey, and the Journey around and in the city of Basel at various sites designated for 12 art installations, was, even online, for me, meaningful and a constant reminder of the still-Pandemic world. Answering the question posed by Parcours’ title, “Can We Find Happiness Together Again?” Samuel Leuenberger, Director of Parcours, led the audience, in person and online, in a resounding Yes, Ja, Si, Oui! Beginning on Monday, September 20, the first day of Art Basel, British artist, Hamish Fulton, who famously climbed Mt. Everest, organized an hour-long participatory walk on the Marktplatz (marketplace). It was a voyage of discovery for Fulton as it was for those who followed him, but also an ethnography of artworks at the Parcours sector of Art Basel. Seeing work displayed on the trail the trekkers pursued was not unlike the voyage we all took this past year, … [Read more...] about Finding Happiness Together Again At Parcours
Although the first VIP day at Art Basel was crowded, Anna Gav, on the ground, noted that the crowd was younger, the lack of older (and richer) collectors largely due, as they said in conversation with Anna, to fear of contracting Covid 19, and to the intentional limiting of admissions to maintain social distancing. At VOLTA, the crowd was noticeably slimmer, also due to the location away from Art Basel and the limited shuttles for rides offered accounting for intentional emphasis on limited spending by the fairs. Prices of work sold so far at both VOLTA and Art Basel are considerably down, reflecting the absence of major, older collectors and the lower pricing by galleries eager to sell work that they could not at galleries closed due to pandemic restrictions. Due to the wonders of technology, particularly the internet, online, I’ve been able to view the exhibits at the art fairs in … [Read more...] about ART MEETS TECHNOLOGY AT ART BASEL 2021
The art world has changed, but it is difficult to determine how or how much. The mainstays are still pursuing age-old projects but new forms are appearing in all the fairs currently in Zurich and Basel. The prelude, (with credit to Kaveh Mojtabai for the musical reference) to the fairs at Basel were an hour away by train or car, in Zurich, affording a much smaller venue for galleries often exhibiting at Zurich Art Weekend and Art Basel. Hauser and Wirth’s exhibit at the just ended Zurich Art Fair was exemplary. Glenn Ligon’s “First Contact” large scale diptych from his Stranger Series begun in 1997, printing out excerpts from James Baldwin’s 1953 essay, “A Stranger in the Village,” is relevant not only to the experience of a Black man encountered by villagers who have never seen a Black man before, but also to the present world, where we encounter those different from us. Taking up an … [Read more...] about THE ART — IS IT CHANGING? LIGON’S STRANGER A PREVIEW OF BASEL 2021’S PROMISE
Day four in Basel, Switzerland, took me to the Volta and Liste art fairs. Volta, Basel’s art fair that declares itself the show of “new international positions”, made good on the name. Paying close attention to the precarious predicament of the world’s inhabitants due to climate change and political upheaval, Volta subtly informed and involved those who viewed the work at the fair. Geraldine Swayne’s, oil and acrylic canvas painting, “Queer Altarpiece,” 2019, at CHARLIE SMITH LONDON’s booth was perhaps the most beautiful figurative work on view. Depicting a seated woman, looking off to the side, the figure’s haircut, clothes and mood recalled artists’ work of 1930s Germany, explaining the title. A quiet, thoughtful work, it allowed painting, done in a contemporary way, to elicit empathy for the subject. Valerie Hegarty’s “Five Tulips with Frame Elegy,” 2019, made of wood, wire and … [Read more...] about BASEL 2019 DAY FOUR: VOLTA AND LISTE