The 41st edition of Art Basel
closed on Sunday, June 20, 2010. This year, the annual reunion of the international artworld attracted more than 62,500 artists, collectors, curators, and art lovers from around the globe, a new record for attendance at the show. The participating galleries, art lovers, and media were unanimous in pronouncing this a superb year for the show in terms of quality. Collectors rewarded the excellent material and booth presentations with strong sales throughout the week.
A great many artists attended the event, among them Doug Aitken, Kader Attia, Carol Bove, Christo, Yona Friedman, Douglas Gordon, Rodney Graham, Susan Hiller, Joseph Kosuth, Paul McCarthy, Richard Phillips, Michelangelo Pistoletto, Ugo Rondinone, and Lawrence Weiner. And over 60 museum groups, representing almost all the worlds major museums visited Art 41 Basel, significantly more than last year, as did major private collectors from North and South America, all of Europe and the emerging markets of the artworld.
In this 41st edition of the show, more than 300 galleries from 36 countries exhibited works by over 2,500 artists. Many stands featured thematic exhibitions and one-person shows and many galleries presented video works, installations and large sculptures. Paintings, works on paper, and photography continued to be strongly represented. The overwhelming majority of exhibitors reported excellent results, made valuable new contacts for the future of their program, and already look forward to Art 42 Basel, which takes place June 15 through June 19, 2011.
Discussing their experience at Art 41 Basel, gallerists offered positive reports, such as these:
Iwan Wirth, Hauser & Wirth, Zürich, London, New York: "I was impressed to see such huge interest among collectors, not only for established positions, but also for quality work by young artists. The market is back and stronger than ever, as collectors are confident to make decisions."
David Zwirner, David Zwirner Gallery, New York: "This year's fair was a great success. There was a strong presence of returning Russian collectors, in addition to new Middle Eastern clients. It was also very exciting to see Art Unlimited evolve and become an important exhibition venue."
Philomene Magers, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London:"The fair went extremely well. We sold throughout our roster and we continue to find that undervalued Eighties artists are especially in demand."
Neil Wenman, White Cube Gallery, London: "We are delighted with the exceptional critical and commercial response to the works on display, in particular Damien Hirst`s Blue Paintings and new works by Anthony Gormley. There has been a strong focus on Cerith Wyn Evans at the centre of our stand, as well as on Gabriel Orozco. This year ranks as one of our best performances in Basel."
Lucy Mitchell-Innes, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York: "Astonishing attendance! There have been several good sales this week. American buyers seem much more confident than they were a year ago."
Hans Mayer, Galerie Hans Mayer, Düsseldorf: "We came with high expectations to Art 41 Basel and they were exceeded by far. An international and knowledgeable audience facilitated excellent business."
Toby Webster, The Modern Institute, Glasgow: "This year we have sold to regular clients, but also to new Chinese collectors whom we met in Hong Kong and who came out to Basel. Even during one of the worst recessions in Europe, Art Basel has been a great success."
Rachel Lehmann, Lehmann Maupin, New York: "Art Basel brings a diverse audience, bringing together collectors from around the world. It is astounding how many of our artists have been collected this week by people from all parts of the globe."
Kamel Mennour, kamel mennour, Paris: "Art Basel is the best platform in terms of audience regarding curators, foundations, museums and collectors from all over the world."
Nicolai Wallner, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen: "Fantastic opening! This turned out to be our best Art Basel ever."
Timothy Taylor, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London: "This is a very healthy market and Art Basel is an extraordinary fair for all the right reasons."
Ciléne Andréhn, Andréhn Schiptjenko, Stockholm: "We are delighted - it was the best opening ever for us, as we placed works with institutions as well as new collectors."
Jonathan S. Green, Richard Green Gallery, London: "Its a great fair and has given our paintings wonderful exposure. We are very happy with the business we have done."
Alexander Gray, Alexander Gray Associates, New York: "Our debut at Art Basel surpassed expectations, especially due to the interest from museums and institutional collections. The curatorial context of the Art Feature section was the perfect platform for raising the visibility of Jack Whitten's 40-year painting career to European art audiences. We are honored to be a part of Art Basel's legacy of artistic excellence."
Beth and Edward Greenacre, Rokeby, London: "We were very excited to be included in Art Statements for the first time - and it exceeded our already high expectations. For such a subtle artwork to be engaged with and enjoyed is testament to the caliber of the audience in Basel."
The new Art Feature sector was of extraordinary quality and showed a vibrant mix of carefully curated exhibitions (www.artbasel.com/feature). Art Unlimited spotlighted 56 ambitious works and once again drew a huge audience. Many of the exhibited pieces were created especially for Art 41 Basel. Highlights included major works by legendary artists such as Dan Flavin, Yona Friedman, Yoyoi Kusama, Mario Merz, Michelangelo Pistoletto, and Sigmar Polke, joined by pieces from younger stars such as Latifa Echakhch, Kader Attia, Urs Fischer, Mario Garcia Torres and Heague Yang.
With its 26 single-artist projects from young galleries and artists from around the globe, this years Art Statements had very strong presentations. The two Bâloise Art Prizes of CHF 30,000 per artist were awarded to Simon Fujiwara at Neue Alte Brücke, Frankfurt, and Claire Hooper at Hollybush Gardens, London. Bâloise Insurance Group will acquire works by both artists and once again donate them to the Hamburger Kunsthalle and the MUMOK Museum of Modern Art Ludwig Foundation in Vienna.
The Messeplatz in front of the main halls hosting Art Basel again served as the arena for Art Public. It featured 14 works by internationally renowned artists Ai Weiwei, Micol Assaël, Dora Garciá, Eric Hattan, Hanspeter Hofmann, Thomas Houseago, Alicja Kwade, Ernesto Neto, Bettina Pousttchi, Ugo Rondinone, Alberto Tadiello, Oscar Tuazon, Lawrence Weiner and Heimo Zobernig.
Many art lovers extended their stay to experience Art Parcours, the new special exhibition project, described by many viewers as a unique experience. For Art Parcours, site-specific artworks and performances by the artists John Bock, Angela Bulloch, Daniel Buren, Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg, Aurélien Froment, Ryan Gander, Damián Ortega, Martha Rosler and Cerith Wyn Evans transformed a variety of locations throughout the historic center of Basel including the Münster, the old university, the city hall and the ferry boat. This array of high-caliber pieces, selected by San Francisco-based curator Jens Hoffmann, Director of the CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, engaged with today's Basel and with its long history, weaving artistic interventions into the fabric of the city.
The Art Basel Conversations brought together prominent members of the international art scene, including Paul McCarthy, Massimiliano Gioni, Klaus Biesenbach, Lynne Cooke, Ann Goldstein, Irving Blum, Jeffrey Deitch, Emanuel Christ, Yona Friedman, Christian Kerez, Farshid Moussavi, Maria Giuseppina Caccia Dominioni Panza, Giovanna Panza di Biumo, Carmen Giménez, Joseph Kosuth, Maria Nordman, Hans Ulrich Obrist and Peter Plagens.
Additionally, a daily program of artist conversations, book signings, and discussion forums took place in the Art Salon forum every afternoon, offering a total of 34 presentations (www.artbasel.com/salon).
Once again the Art Film program featured outstanding films, screened at the Stadtkino Basel. Curator Marc Glöde's program presented films by artists while film connoisseur This Brunner presented "Women Without Men" by Shirin Neshat, winner of the Best Director Award at the 2009 Venice Film Festival.