The 44th edition of Art Basel
closed on Sunday, June 16, 2013, with galleries reporting exceptionally strong sales across all levels, as Basel once again became the central meeting place for the international art world.
Art Basel, whose lead partner is UBS, attracted a record of 70,000 visitors, generating an attendance of 86,000 over the six show days. Representatives and groups from over 70 museums around the world attended the show, alongside major private collectors from North and South America, Europe, and Asia. A significant number of artists attended this year's edition, including: Kader Attia, Tom Burr, Thomas Demand, Meschac Gaba, Theaster Gates, Isa Genzken, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Joana Hadjithomas & Khalil Joreige, Noriyuki Haraguchi, Roni Horn, Christian Jankowski, Idris Khan, Jorge Macchi, Steve McQueen, Matt Mullican, Sean Scully, Jim Shaw, John Stezaker, Eduardo Terrazas, Mickalene Thomas, Tunga and Danh Vo.
Many visitors to the show commented on the exceptional quality of the work being exhibited, which was undoubtedly reflected in the strength of the sales made by galleries across all sectors of the show throughout the week. Many exhibitors reported stronger sales on the opening preview day of the show than ever before.
Art Basel presented 304 galleries from around the world exhibiting the work of over 4,000 artists, with many choosing to present thematic and solo-artist exhibitions. Galleries from across the globe debuted at the Basel show this year, coming from Belgium, Brazil, China, France, Germany, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, the Philippines, Republic Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, USA.
This year, many elements of the show were sited within the new Hall 1 designed by renowned Basel architects Herzog & de Meuron that has redefined Messeplatz and got raving reviews from many visitors. The new building housed the Unlimited, Statements and Magazine sectors, along with the auditorium used for the Conversations and Salon panels.
Galleries exhibiting at Art Basel were delighted with the 44th edition of the show:
Art Basel is undoubtedly the most eminent of all art fairs. But it still surprises alongside its perfect mix of international participants and quality it is able to continue to improve every year, not only in terms of interest and sales but also in efficiency and attendance. 2013 was another highlight beyond our expectation! --Thaddaeus Ropac, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, Salzburg
There has been very, very strong international attendance at this years show, with a great concentration of Europes most important collectors. The rigorous selection continues to explain the success of the fair. Collectors come to Basel with the intention of buying and we had a very successful week indeed, placing over 60 works, several in the seven-figure range, in important private and museum collections. --Marc Payot, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London, New York
This year was calm, focused, and serious. The Venice Biennale had provided the art world with brain-food and the considered tone continued at Art Basel. And without a doubt the museums in Basel collectively provide the very best context for the world's best fair. --Sadie Coles, Sadie Coles, London
Providing exhibiting galleries with an opportunity to present works which transcend the normal art fair stand, Unlimited, curated by Gianni Jetzer, Director of the Swiss Institute in New York, saw 79 ambitious works presented in an extended exhibition space within Hall 1. Highlights included works by established names such as Ai Weiwei, Martin Creed, Thomas Demand, Theaster Gates, Antony Gormley, Susan Hiller, Walid Raad and Thomas Schütte, alongside pieces from emerging artists including Esther Kläs, Emil Michael Klein, Oscar Murillo and Amalia Pica.
The solo artist presentations in Statements again offered visitors and collectors a prime opportunity to discover the work of emerging artists from 24 galleries, 13 of which were exhibiting at Art Basel for the first time. The Baloise Art Prize was this year awarded to Jenni Tischer (Krobath) from Germany and Kemang Wa Lehulere from South Africa (Stevenson). Each artist received CHF 30,000, while works by both were acquired by Baloise and donated to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna.
Galleries exhibiting in the Feature sector presented precise curatorial projects, showing both historical and contemporary work. This year's edition saw 24 galleries from 16 countries within the sector, the highest number of galleries since Feature was introduced in 2010. Highlights included a presentation of Sonia Gomes works spanning two decades (Mendes Wood), a performance based work by Pablo Bronstein (Herald Street) and a presentation of historical works by the Japanese artist Tsuroko Yamazaki (Take Ninagawa).
For its fourth year, the 2013 edition of Parcours moved into the Klingental neighborhood of Basel, one of the city's most culturally diverse and creatively active quarters. Curated for the first time by Florence Derieux, Director of FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Parcours featured high-caliber works by renowned international artists including Marina Abramović, Michael Craig-Martin, Jill Magid and Sterling Ruby. A highlight of the week was Parcours Night on Wednesday, June 12, when the different project venues opened late, accompanied by a night of special performances, which included L.A Dance Project's presentation of Benjamin Millepieds Moving Parts (2012) and Winterbranch (1964) by Merce Cunningham, both presented by Art Basel in collaboration with Kaserne Basel; Marc Bauers The Architect (2013); and Avuncular Quest (2013) by Michael Smith.