The art has its own Olympics, it is called the Art Basel. The biggest event that draws art lovers from all over the world has this name. Art Basel is one of the most important international art fairs. This amazing event takes place in three cities. Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami. Thousands of galleries, artists, and collectors come together during the fair.
What is Art Basel?
As previously mentioned, it is an art fair, but a contemporary one. It is a global happening in the world of art. Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami host it once a year. During the fair, hundreds of galleries have an opportunity to present and sell art.
You can see and buy all types of art forms when you visit the fair. Paintings, sculptures (indoor and outdoor), works on paper, digital and video art, photography, and various installations are featured every year.
Institutions and private buyers spend a lot of money for upcoming or well-known artistic works.
The main reason people go to the fair is for the contemporary art exhibitions, but Art Basel is also known for the events it hosts. During the fair, lavish parties and masterclasses are only a part of the extra activities that take place.
This art fair transforms its host cities into the most important places in the world. In the middle of June, Basel offers the world’s biggest contemporary art experience. Early December is reserved for Miami and late March for Hong Kong. Sadly, 2020 Art Basel in Hong Kong has been canceled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
History of the Art Basel
The art fair was first established in Basel Switzerland in 1970. Tree Swiss gallerist Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner, and Balz Hilt were the creators of the Art Basel. The name of the fair was only one word “Art” and their idea was to bring together artists they were representing, collectors, curators, and art critics. This first fair was a big success. Over 16000 people attended it.
The founders of the Art Basel got the idea from another art fair which took place in Germany, Art Cologne. In the past, it was known as Kunstmarkt Köln. This fair connected national galleries and buyers across Europe.
Among the buyers were the tree previously mentioned gallerists. They saw the monetary potential of Cologne as well as the opportunity to reach out to a new market, previously unavailable to them. The gallerists decided to take the art fair to their city and change it up a bit. They added an international flair to the fair.
The city of Basel was perfect for an art fair. Its location and attractive foreign exchange made sure of it. One more element was crucial for the success of the fair. The region was being populated with a new type of buyers, people living in the post-war consumer society. We cannot go wrong in saying that Trudi Bruckner, Balz Hilt, and Ernst Beyeler were very good businessmen who saw a very good business opportunity and cashed in on it. At the same time, they created an amazing event that is sure to last for a long time.
Art Basel locations around the world
This is where it all began. Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland takes place every June at Messe Basel. Messe Basel is a masterpiece of contemporary design and is extremely suitable for the occasion. The visitors of the fair get to see the extravagant exhibition hall designed by a famous Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.
Messe Basel building is where the main event takes place but other local cultural institutions and galleries join in. This amplifies the effect the fair has on people and spreads from Basel to other places in the region. The effects last throughout the entire fair week.
The world’s leading galleries display the work of over 4000 artists during the Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland. Each day is different as the events never repeat themselves. It is an experience like no other.
Miami Beach, Florida
American event of this Swiss art fair takes place in Miami Beach Convention Center. There are over 250 galleries from around the world displaying works to more than 70000 visitors.
If you haven’t been able to go to Art Basel in June in Europe, you get another chance in early December. Miami Beach Florida takes place in early December every year.
This edition of Art Basel was launched in 2002 and since then it has turned into one of the best places to be in December.
Its proximity to Latin America means that the leading galleries from this area showcase their work here. Also, African art has a strong place at this fair. Coupled together these influences make the Art Basel in Miami different from its counterpart in Europe.
The Art Basel has its representative in Asia. Its name is Art Basel in Hong Kong. It is the last one to start but it is catching up very quickly.
The first Art Basel in Hong Kong was organized in 2013. It lasts for only 3 days but it is drawing in more people every year.
This fair is not just a place where Asian buyers can connect with and buy Western art. Asian and Asia-Pacific art is present in the fair. This event truly rounds up Art Basel as a global art fair where works of art from around the globe are presented and celebrated. Sadly the Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2020 was canceled due to the Coronavirus outbreak.
The most outrageous moments of Art Basel
When you go to Art Basel you are bound to experience some unusual things. You are amazed by the creative genius of the artists trying to present the world as they see it to others. Some artists are trying to warn the world of dangers lurking everywhere. Others create their own worlds and invite the people to join in.
We could write about amazing art that can be seen during this event but we chose to tell you about exhibits that some people can perceive as shocking.
Charging phone in a vagina
During the Art Basel in Miami in 2014 Usher charged his phone in an artist’s vagina. Yes, you read it right. The title of the exhibition was “Body as Commodity”. It was done by the performance artist Lena Marquise.
The aim of this performance was to challenge the audience. It asked them to think about how the presentation of sexuality in our social environment can affect our moral standing.
In the performance, literal energy, the electricity in the phone battery, was exchanged for figurative energy, use of the body for money. The price was 100 dollars for 10 minutes.
This performance was used to ask what is less immoral. Is it to use a doll for sexual pleasure or to use a real body for amenities that can be quantified in monetary value such as energy?
A naked artist was spending time with swine
In 2012, South Koran artist Miru Kim spent 104 hours naked with two pigs that she saved from a slaughterhouse. She was never in the main site of the fair. Her exhibition was set up in the window of gallery Primary Projects.
The name of the exhibition was “I Like Pigs and Pigs Like Me“. The two pigs were saved from certain death and moved into a safe place when the exhibition ended. Not long after, the pigs were sick which infuriated animal rights activists.
Art has a way of touching the inner part of our entire being. Art Basel is a fair that unites artists from around the globe. It is truly an experience like no other. Without any doubt, it is an event that should be the first item on every art lover’s bucket list.