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Art 39 Basel: El Dorado of the International Art World Set to Open in Switzerland
Thomas Hirschhorn, Hotel Democracy, 2003 (Courtesy Stephen Friedman Gallery, London).

BASEL.- The 39th edition of Art Basel takes place in the museumrich city of Basel (Switzerland) from June 4 through June 8, 2008. As the world’s premier art show, Art Basel is the annual meeting place of the international art world. This year’s 300 exhibiting galleries from all over the world were selected out of a record number of over 1,000 applications and will be showing works by over 2,000 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries. The Art Unlimited hall, with its 60 largescale projects, and Art Basel Conversations, featuring internationally respected panelists, represent further highlights. The Art on Stage platform (presented in association with the Theater Basel) will provide the framework for the performance Drama Queens by artists Michael Elmgreen (Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (Norway). The local museums also have fascinating exhibitions (including Chaim Soutine, Andrea Zittel, Monika Sosnowska, and Fernand Léger) and a broad range of events in store.

The 39th edition of Art Basel kicks off with a vernissage for invited guests on June 3 and is open to the general public from June 4 through June 8. This annual reunion of the international art world regularly attracts some 60,000 artists, collectors, gallerists, curators, and art enthusiasts from across the globe, who come to see the largest, most rigorously juried overview of what the international art market has to offer and to meet the stars and insiders of the international art scene. Covered by more than 2,300 media representatives, Art Basel enjoys a formidable reputation based both on the peerless quality and incomparable diversity of the exhibited art works and on the show’s international audience.

Art Galleries
Over 300 of the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at Art Basel (for a list of exhibitors, go to Selected in accordance with rigorous quality criteria from a record number of more than 1,000 applicants, they include: 72 galleries from the USA; 49 from Germany; 35 from Switzerland; 29 from Great Britain; 22 from France; 20 from Italy; 10 from Austria; 9 each from Spain and Belgium; 6 from Japan; 4 each from Brazil, China, and Denmark; 3 each from Canada, the Netherlands, and Sweden; 2 each from Ireland, Israel, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, and South Korea; and one each from Argentina, Australia, Finland, India, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, South Africa, and Turkey. The galleries were chosen by the Art Basel Committee, an international jury of experienced gallerists, who arrived at their decisions on the basis of comprehensive preliminary information and several days of intense meetings. An independent appeals commission reviewed unsuccessful applications on request. (For a list of jury members and experts, go to

Once again, the world’s leading galleries will be exhibiting at the show, for which 99% of last year’s exhibitors reapplied. This year’s unrivaled roster of participants will be enhanced by a number of distinguished dealers of classical modern art and photography, and diverse young galleries. The galleries presenting contemporary art are joined this year by Beijing Art Now Gallery (Beijing, Shanghai), Ruth Benzacar Galeria de Arte (Buenos Aires), the Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), the Catriona Jeffries Fine Art Gallery (Vancouver), and the Jack Shainman Gallery (New York). The lineup of galleries showing 20th-century classics is augmented by Galerie Cazeau-Béraudière (Paris), Richard Green (London), Galleria Fumagalli (Bergamo), and Lorenzelli Arte (Milan). The specialists in art editions are joined by Galerie Edition Copenhagen (Copenhagen), and the roster of photographic galleries is enhanced by the addition of the Silverstein Gallery from New York. After a brief hiatus, Galerie Löhrl (Mönchengladbach), Galerie Praz-Delavallade (Paris), and Galerie Martin Janda (Vienna) also rejoin Art Basel’s exhibitors.

Art 39 Basel will be showcasing all forms of artistic expression, the repertoire extending from paintings, drawings, editions, and sculptures to installations, photography, performances, and internet and video art. Works from a few thousand francs by young emerging artists will be on display alongside museumquality masterpieces priced in the millions.

Art on Stage
Initiated last year in association with the Theater Basel, the Art on Stage platform offers an ideal exhibition context for artists who require a large stage and an auditorium for their work. This year artists Michael Elmgreen (Denmark) and Ingar Dragset (Norway) will be presenting their performance Drama Queens. Art on Stage is curated by Jens Hoffmann, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts in San Francisco. The event is open to the public and admission is free.

Art Premiere
This year’s special Art Premiere sector will be running under the heading of «Artists in Dialogue». Each of the 16 curated projects showcases a fascinating juxtaposition of works by two artists.

Art Statements
This year’s Art Statements sector will expand to include 31 solo exhibitions of young artists. The projects on display are new and often created specifically for presentation in this highly regarded sector for young artists. Since 1999, the Baloise Insurance Group has awarded its annual Baloise Art Prize of CHF 25,000 each to two outstanding Art Statements projects. The company also acquires works by the prizewinning artists and donates them to important museums such as the Kunsthalle in Hamburg and the Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation in Vienna.

Art Unlimited
Art Unlimited will spotlight approximately 60 unconventional works. The platform enables artists to exhibit works that would ordinarily be subject to spatial, temporal, technical, financial, contextual, or conceptual constraints. With the accent on innovative and large-scale works, everything from outsize sculptures and installations to video projections, wall paintings, and performances will be on show and for sale. Many of the exhibited pieces are created especially for Art Unlimited. The exhibition has once again been devised in collaboration with Geneva curator Simon Lamunière. This year, for the first time, the auditorium for Art Basel Conversations and the Art Lobby will be sited within the Art Unlimited hall. A bookstore, café, and comprehensive video library for individual viewing of video works are also on the premises.

Artist Magazines
After focusing on artist records last year, this year’s special show highlights magazines produced or designed by artists. Informational events and presentations featuring the artists themselves are also planned. The exhibition is organized by Zurich curator and publisher Lionel Bovier.

Public Art Projects
The exhibition area in front of the buildings hosting the international art show will once again become an arena for art projects in public space. The interventions promise to engage with the daily lives of passersby in poetic, alienating, or surprising ways. Public Art Projects represents, not a traditional sculpture exhibition, but rather genuine interventions in urban space. Works by the following artists will be on display: Dan Graham, Luca Vitone, Isa Genzken, Roxy Paine, Thomas Baumann, Conrad Shawcross, Subodh Gupta, Sol Lewitt, Tobias Rehberg, and Ugo Rondinone. Some of the projects are being created especially or installed site-specifically for Public Art Projects. The concept of the sector was devised by experienced Basel exhibition maker Martin Schwander.

Art Film
The Art Film sector once again features an outstanding program of films by and about artists, screened at the Stadtkino Basel. Art Film is curated by film scholar Marc Glöde (Berlin). This Brunner, a collector with profound knowledge of the international film scene, and artist John Armleder will each be organizing an evening with special guests.

Art Basel Conversations and Art Lobby
Staged every morning (June 4 to June 7), Art Basel Conversations bring together prominent members of the international art scene, who will be discussing: The Development of Cultural Institutions in Eastern Europe; Collecting and Preserving Media Art; and Gallery Work at the Margins of a Globalized Art Market. The premiere of Art Basel Conversations features a conversation between artists Lawrence Weiner and Jorge Pardo. A daily program of artist conversations, book signings, discussion forums, and other presentations will be taking place in the Art Lobby forum in the afternoons.

Professional Day
Professional Day takes place Friday, June 6. Exhibitors at Art Basel will be staging special activities (solo shows, performances, book signings) at their booths for the occasion. A variety of other events geared to art professionals will be held throughout the day in the context of Art Basel Conversations and Art Lobby.

Today's News

June 3, 2008

Art 39 Basel: El Dorado of the International Art World Set to Open in Switzerland

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