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Art Basel | Basel 2017: Highlights

Art Basel | Basel 2017: Highlights – The 48th edition of Art Basel in Basel closed on Sunday, June 18, 2017, with galleries throughout the show reporting exceptional sales, pointing to Art Basel’s ability to convene leading galleries and collectors from around the world.

Running simultaneously with the Venice Biennale, documenta 14 and Skulptur Projekte Münster, Art Basel drew a particularly strong turnout of both established and new collectors from over 100 countries, with strong attendance from the Americas and Asia. The show attracted an attendance of 95,000 and once again proved itself to be a pivotal meeting point for the international art world.

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The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, brought together 291 premier galleries from 35
countries, presenting extraordinary contemporary and Modern works by over 4,000
artists. Leading private collectors from Europe, the Americas, Asia and Africa attended
this year, as well as representatives from over 300 museums and institutions, including:
the Art Institute of Chicago; Astrup Fearnley Museet, Oslo; The Bass Museum of Art,
Miami Beach; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Bilbao; Hirshhorn
Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art;
M+, Hong Kong; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museo Tamayo Arte
Contemporáneo, Mexico City; National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art
(MMCA), Seoul; The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Mori Art Museum,
Tokyo; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim
Museum, New York; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Tate, London; and The Ullens
Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.

Galleries exhibiting in all sectors of Art Basel expressed their delight at this year’s show:
‘It’s hard to imagine that Art Basel could grow stronger every year, but it does just that.’
Thaddaeus Ropac, Founder & Director, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Salzburg, Paris,

‘Art Basel is the most important fair for the gallery. We placed our artists’ works in
excellent international collections. Again, this year, Unlimited gave us a fantastic
opportunity to exhibit four historical and significant works by Otto Piene, John Baldessari,
Barbara Kruger and Jenny Holzer. Unlimited and its focus on museum-quality pieces is
very unique to this fair. It was great to see the response that these presentations received
throughout the week.’
Philomene Magers, Co-owner, Sprüth Magers (Berlin, London, Los Angeles)

‘This was one of the most upbeat art fairs that I can remember. Unlimited set the tone
with one incredible installation after another. Collectors took their time, but we ended up
selling virtually everything in the booth. It is also worth noting that museums were actively
acquiring for their permanent collections.’
Marc Glimcher, President, Pace (New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Palo Alto)

‘We had our most successful Art Basel ever. The quality of the fair is astonishing and this
year we felt that the caliber of the collectors, museum colleagues and patrons was not
only of the highest order, but even more international than we have seen in past years.’
Dominique Lévy, Founder and Co-owner, Lévy Gorvy (New York, London)



This year, Galleries, the fair’s main sector, presented 226 exhibitors showing the highest
quality painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, video and editioned works
– with many galleries exhibiting work by artists from the summers’ three other major art
events. Overall, the gallery sector of the show was rejuvenated by 12 galleries showing
within the sector for the very first time. On the ground floor, four secondary market
dealers were brought in: Di Donna, Tornabuoni Art, Luxembourg & Dayan and Galerie
Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois. On the first floor, new exhibitors included Susanne
Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Pilar Corrias, dépendance, Freymond-Guth Fine Arts
Ltd., Salon 94, Campoli Presti, Kraupa Tuskany Zeidler and Canada. Additionally,
Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art returned to Basel following a brief hiatus.


Solo presentations in Statements offered visitors and collectors the opportunity to
discover quality work by emerging artists, brought to Art Basel by 18 of the most exciting
young international galleries. The sector welcomed eight galleries exhibiting at the Basel
show for the first time: Galerie Emanuel Layr from Vienna; Chapter NY and Real Fine
Arts from New York, as well as galleries from places traditionally seen as far from the
core art world: Galeria Dawid Radziszewski from Warsaw; Hopkinson Mossman from
Auckland; and Gypsum Gallery from Cairo.
The 19th Baloise Art Prize was awarded to Martha Atienza (b. 1981) at Silverlens from
Manila and Sam Pulitzer (b. 1984) exhibited by Real Fine Arts from New York. The prize
of CHF 30,000 each was presented to the two artists by a jury of international experts,
and works by the award winners were acquired by The Baloise Group and donated to the
MUDAM Luxembourg and the Nationalgalerie Berlin.


32 galleries took part in the Feature sector, showcasing exceptionally high quality
curatorial projects, with seven galleries completely new to the show. Encompassing both
historical and contemporary work, highlights from the sector included: Lea Lublin (1929-
1999) at Deborah Schamoni, Stan VanDerBeek (1927-1984) at The Box, a selection of
Vlassis Caniaris’ (1928-2011) political works at Kalfayan Galleries and Jenkins Johnson
Gallery’s spotlight on Gordon Parks (1912-2006).


Presented across 16,000 square meters of exhibition space, Unlimited offered artists and
galleries an exciting platform to create and present ambitious large-scale works that
transcend the traditional art-fair stand. Unlimited consisted of 76 works and was curated
for the sixth year by Gianni Jetzer, curator-at-large at the Hirshhorn Museum and
Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C. Once again galleries reported particularly strong
sales from the sector. Both historical and contemporary works were featured, celebrating
renowned masters as well as emerging artists, including: Mac Adams (b.1943), Doug
Aitken (b. 1968), John Baldessari (b. 1931), Phyllida Barlow (b. 1944), Andrea
Bowers (b. 1965), Chris Burden (1946-2015), LaToya Ruby Frazier (b. 1982), Carlos
Garaicoa (b. 1967), Subodh Gupta (b. 1964), Donna Huanca (b. 1980), Arthur Jafa (b.
1960), Mike Kelley (1954-2012), Barbara Kruger (b. 1945), Park Chan-kyong (b.
1965), Marwan Rechmaoui (b. 1964), Mickalene Thomas (b. 1971), Stan VanDerBeek
(1927-1984), Sue Williamson (b. 1941) and Anicka Yi (b. 1971).


The medieval center of Basel around Münsterplatz was once again brought to life by
Parcours, with artistic interventions engaging with Basel’s past and present. This year’s
edition was curated for the second year by Samuel Leuenberger, Director and Curator
of SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland, and consisted of 22 elaborate site-specific artworks,
with artists addressing the truths that concern their daily experiences, including: Ai
Weiwei (b. 1957), Katinka Bock (b. 1976), Pedro Cabrita Reis (b. 1956), Miriam Cahn
(b. 1949), Berlinde de Bruyckere (b. 1964), Nathalie Djurberg (b. 1978) and Hans
Berg (b. 1978), Latifa Echakhch (b. 1974), GCC (est. 2013), Amanda Ross-Ho (b.
1975), Cally Spooner (b. 1983), Rirkrit Tiravanija (b. 1961) and Wu Tsang (b. 1982).
Over the seven days, over 12,000 people attended Parcours.
During Parcours Night on Saturday, June 17, all project venues stayed open late with
special live performances. Supported by MGM Resorts Art and Culture, Than Hussein
Clark (b. 1981) transformed Otto Rudolf Salvisberg’s ‘Erste Kirche Christi’ into his own
version of a Broadway theatre with ‘Yes, Yes, All the News that’s Fit To Print’ (2017).
Further performances on Parcours Night included works by: Itziar Okariz (b. 1965),
Marvin Gaye Chetwynd (b. 1973), Shana Moulton (b. 1976), Moved by the Motion
(Wu Tsang, boychild, Patrick Belaga, Bendik Giske and Josh Johnson), Eric Hattan
(b. 1955), Julian Sartorius (b. 1981) and Hans Berg (b. 1978).


Consisting of 34 film and video works, presented by the show’s participating galleries, Art
Basel’s Film program was curated for the third year by Cairo-based film curator Maxa
Zoller. Heavily influenced by today’s political events, highlights from this year’s program
included: ‘Also Known As Jihadi’ (2017), the latest feature-length film by FrenchAmerican
artist Eric Baudelaire (b. 1973), the European premiere of He Xiangyu’s (b.
1986) new film ‘The Swim’ (2017) and a special screening of Stanley Tucci’s (b. 1960)
‘Final Portrait’ (2017), selected by New York-based film curator Marian Masone. As part
of Art Basel’s third year collaboration with the Locarno Festival, Filipa César’s (b. 1975)
new feature length film ‘Spell Reel’ (2017) was also presented. A key feature of the short
film program included ‘Little Films to Smile to: Focus on Breda Beban’, offering visitors a
rare opportunity to see multiple works by the late Yugoslavian-born filmmaker Breda
Beban (1952-2012). Further works by Kader Attia (b. 1970), Edgardo Aragón (b. 1985),
François Bucher (b. 1972), William E. Jones (b. 1962), Maha Maamoun (b. 1972), Ana
Mendieta (1948-1985), Mohau Modisakeng (b. 1986), Carlos Javier Ortiz (b. 1975),
Robin Rhode (b. 1976), La Ribot (b. 1962), Ugo Rondinone (b. 1964), Zineb Sedira (b.
1963), Anton Vidokle (b. 1965), Andy Warhol (1928-1987) and Carrie Mae Weems (b.
1953) were also presented as part of the short film program. The Art Basel Film program
was shown at the Stadtkino Basel and attended by over 700 visitors.

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Conversations, Art Basel’s talks series, brought together leading artists, gallerists,
collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world.
Programmed for the third year by Mari Spirito, Founding Director and Curator of
Protocinema, Istanbul, the program featured 23 talks and served as a platform for
dialogues and discussions on current topics, offering perspectives on producing,
collecting, and exhibiting art. This year’s Premiere Artist Talk was devoted to the artist
Annette Messager (b. 1943) and was moderated by Dr. Maria Balshaw, Director of
Tate, London. The ‘Artists’ Influencers’ talk saw the artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster
(b. 1965) in dialogue with Kasper König, Artistic Director of Skulptur Projekte Münster
2017, moderated by Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London.
The debate focusing on ‘New Rules: Is the Artworld a Mature Industry?’, moderated by
András Szántó, Author and Cultural Consultant, brought together a panel of speakers
including Lindsay Pollock, Former Editor-in-Chief of Art in America, New York; Adam
Sheffer, Partner at Cheim & Read and President, Art Dealers Association of America,
New York; Bob Rennie, Collector and Principal, Rennie Collection, Vancouver; Olav
Velthuis, Professor at the Department of Sociology of the University of Amsterdam and
President of TIAMSA; and Pierre Valentin, Partner Constantine Cannon LLP, London.
The Art Basel talks program was free and open to the public. Over 2,500 people attended
Conversations this year. All panels were streamed live on Art Basel’s YouTube channel
and high-quality videos will be available on the website from next week:



Swiss artist Claudia Comte (b. 1983) transformed Basel’s Messeplatz with ‘NOW I
WON’, a new monumental outdoor installation taking the form of a fully functioning funfair.
Presented for the duration of this year’s Art Basel in Basel and made especially for the
show, ‘NOW I WON’ consisted of two parts: an immersive installation, which actively
engaged the public to compete in a range of games and competitions and a large-scale
sculpture that spelled out the palindrome title of the work: ‘NOW I WON’. Over the six
days, 2,500 people took part in the competition to win original art works by Claudia
Comte. The presentation was curated by Chus Martínez, Head of Art Institute at FHNW
Academy of Art and Design, Basel.

Exhibitions and performances in Basel

Visitors to Basel were offered a range of outstanding exhibitions by the city’s leading
museums. Major exhibitions coinciding with Art Basel included: the first comprehensive
engagement with the medium of photography on Wolfgang Tillmans (b. 1968) at
Fondation Beyeler; ‘Richard Serra: Films and Videotapes’, ‘The Hidden Cézanne: From
Sketchbook to Canvas’, and ‘Cosmic Communism’, devoted to German painter and
sculptor Otto Freundlich (1878-1943), at the Kunstmuseum Basel; an exhibition devoted
to Yan Xing (b. 1986) alongside a group show titled ‘Ungestalt’ at the Kunsthalle Basel;
Wim Delvoye (b. 1965) at Museum Tinguely; ‘David Claerbout: Olympia’ at Schaulager;
and two themed shows: ‘Mudun: Urban Cultures in Transit’ and ‘Together! The New
Architecture of the Collective’ at Vitra Design Museum.
Organized by the Verein Basler Galerien, a group of Basel galleries opened their doors to
the public on the evening of Thursday, June 13, 2017. Participating galleries included:
von Bartha, Carzaniga, Graf & Schelble, Henze & Ketterer & Triebold, Idea Fixa, Laleh
June, Gisèle Linder, Anne Mosseri-Marlio, Stampa, Daniel Blaise Thorens, Tony
Wuethrich and Kunsthalle Palazzo. Other independent art spaces, such as Vitrine and
Balzer Projects, were also included.
On Thursday, June 15, 2017 Theater Basel showed a performance piece by Luxembourg
artist Filip Markiewicz (b. 1980) drawn from his work ‘Paradiso Lussemburgo’ (2015)
and featuring actors from Theater Basel. The piece reflected the work of actors in today’s
Europe, with its interdependencies of politics and pop culture, terrorism and populism.
Design Miami Basel
Design Miami Basel, the global forum for collectible design, once again took place in Hall
1 South on the Messeplatz, from June 13-18, 2017. The 12th edition presented more
than 50 participating galleries exhibiting historic and contemporary design alongside a
robust cultural program. For more details, please visit

Art Basel | Basel 2017: Highlights Art Basel | Basel 2017: Highlights Art Basel | Basel 2017: Highlights Art Basel | Basel 2017: Highlights


Published by JRP|Ringier, Art Basel Year 47 reflects on the year 2016 in the artworld and
includes interviews with leading artists, gallerists, curators and museum directors. The
publication is available to buy at all Art Basel shows, and at selected art bookstores
across Europe, the United States and Asia. The Unlimited catalogue, published by Hatje
Cantz, sold out by the end of the fair.

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