Record Results for Art 38 Basel
The 38th edition of Art Basel closed its doors on Sunday, June 17. The annual reunion of the international art world attracted artists, collectors, curators, and art lovers from across the globe. The participating galleries, the Show Management, art connoisseurs, and the media were unanimous in pronouncing it a highlight in the show’s illustrious history. Art 38 Basel impressively confirmed the robust health of the international art market while forcefully underlining its own unchallenged position as the world’s leading art fair and doing full justice to its reputation as an internationally acclaimed art event. This year, the international art show drew a record number of 60,000 visitors and 2,300 media representatives.
Art 38 Basel
The 38th edition of the international art show closed on a very high note. The 300 exhibiting galleries judge this year’s Art Basel a great success. In the words of Samuel Keller, Director of Art Basel: «The 38th edition of Art Basel was a record year, a festival for the international art world. Rarely have there been so many important and interesting art works in one place at the same time.» A record number of 60,000 art collectors, museum professionals, artists, and art lovers from all over the world visited the event. 2,300 media representatives (2006: 2,000) from all continents came to see what the international art market has to offer. The New York Times commented: «Collectors recognize Art Basel as the biggest and the best»; Madrid’s El Pais declared: «Art Basel, la feria de los superlatives»; the Parisian Le Monde observed: «La foire d’art de Bâle a été un succès dès son inauguration, le 13 juin»; the likewise Parisian Le Figaro wrote: «En moins d’une semaine, le rush des affaires a commencé pour acheter vite, vite, parfois à prix d’or»; the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung laconically noted: «Einfach das verständliche Bedürfnis, grossartige Kunst zu kaufen»; while for the Dagbladet Børsen (Denmark): «Art Basel i en liga for sig» (Art Basel [is] in a class of its own).
Last but not least, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung called the show: «Ein Dorado der modernen und zeitgenössischen Kunst.»
«Art Basel Conversations» were a huge success. Attracting several hundred people every day, they featured distinguished experts discussing subjects relating to art, artists, art collections, and museums.
The special «Artist Records» exhibition was very popular with visitors. It presented recordings by Jack Goldstein, Christian Marclay, Rodney Graham, Steven Parrino, Genesis P-Orridge, and Carsten Nicolai.
There was enormous interest in the new «Art on Stage» platform at the Theater Basel, with its world premiere of Rirkrit Tiravanija’s performance «An Untitled Concert» on Monday, June 11. On Thursday, the lecture on art and architecture by Japanese Pritzker Prize-winning architect Tadao Ando attracted a large, attentive audience.
«Professional Day», which took place on Friday, was well received by its target audience. Some 100 galleries staged special activities at their booths: one-person shows of young artists, thematic exhibitions, book premieres, lectures, performances, and guided tours. By the last day of the show, both the lavishly illustrated Art Basel catalog, with its comprehensive survey of what the international art market currently has to offer, and the «Art Unlimited» catalog were sold out.
International financial institution UBS has been Art Basel’s main sponsor since 1994. Since 2001 this long-standing partnership has also included Art Basel’s sister show, Art Basel Miami Beach. Art Basel figures alongside the famed UBS Art Collection as one of UBS’s key commitments in the field of contemporary art. «UBS is proud to be associated with Art Basel. Art Basel reflects contemporary trends in society and even anticipates the future. This is particularly appropriate to UBS, which always tries to be a step ahead», observes Peter A. Wuffli, Group Chief Executive Officer of UBS.
All the participants in Art 38 Basel considered it an excellent year, their responses ranging from satisfaction to enthusiasm. Visitor interest was reported to be extraordinarily high. Never before have so many major art collectors from all over the world come to Art Basel. Never before has the show attracted so many famous artists. Hotel rooms in and around Basel were booked solid. There were private collectors from all continents. Over 200 private planes landed at Basel-Mulhouse airport during the show. Virtually all of the world’s major museums sent delegations to Art 38 Basel. There was a particularly marked increase in representatives of the Chinese, Indian, and Russian art scenes.
According to Show Management surveys, all the exhibiting galleries were able to find buyers for their works. Many exhibitors reported achieving their best sales results ever.
Tony Shafrazi, owner of Tony Shafrazi Gallery (New York): We are back at Art Basel after a brief absence. We brought the best art we have – Keith Haring, Francis Bacon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Ed Ruscha. For the last two days we have presented a top-class one-man show of Andy Warhol. We’ve been rewarded for our efforts.
Hans Mayer, owner of Galerie Hans Mayer (Düsseldorf): We’ve been taking part in Art Basel since it was founded 38 years ago, and this is the best fair we’ve ever had. I’m convinced that there were 20% more art aficionados in Basel this year. No other art fair in the world attracts such an exceptional, well-informed audience.
Bärbel Grässlin, owner of Galerie Bärbel Grässlin (Frankfurt am Main): There was a real flush of excitement, sales were phenomenal. Interested buyers came throughout the week. One might have thought there was nothing going on in Kassel or Münster.
Lorenz Helbling, owner of Galerie Shanghart (Shanghai): There was enormous interest in our program. People already know quite a lot about contemporary Chinese art. Not only the big names, but our young artists, too, were a success. European and American collectors were our main buyers.
José Kuri, owner of Kurimanzutto Gallery (Mexico): This was our best Art Basel ever. We gained a great many new clients: private collectors and institutions from Europe and the USA, but also from Latin America. We were also able to place a number of works in major collections.
Marc Payot, partner in Galerie Hauser & Wirth (London, Zurich): Never before has Art Basel experienced such an exceptional concentration of top-flight international collectors and curators. We showed a political piece by Swiss artist Christoph Büchel at «Art Unlimited». Many of the visitors gave us extremely positive feedback on this complicated, complex work.
Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, owner of Galerie nächst St. Stephan (Vienna): Sales were overwhelming. They’ve never been as good as this year, and we’ve been exhibiting at Art Basel since 1981. The «Art Unlimited» exhibition is phenomenal. It gives visitors a chance to study the individual works in depth.
Meredith Harper, Director of Van de Weghe Fine Art (New York): This was our first year at Art Basel. An exceedingly successful experience. Old faces, but also a lot of new faces from Europe. We had very good sales in all price categories.
Robert Landau, owner of Landau Fine Art (Montreal): We sold more pieces on the first day than we ever have at an art fair. In fact, we sold too many works. I would have liked to keep a few of them for a while yet.
Marie-Sophie Eiché, Director of kamel mennour (Paris): This was the first time we took part in the special «Art Premiere» sector. The concept of juxtaposing works by two artists was very effective. We sold both works by Daniel Buren and Adel Abdessemed and made a lot of new contacts.
Art Basel would like to thank the following firms for their support: UBS, Cartier, Netjets, Zurich, BMW, Bâloise, Davidoff, Axa, and Moët & Chandon.
Art experts attending the show agreed that the quality and variety of works on display at Art 38 Basel were unparalleled in the world. The participating galleries did their utmost to bring along their most interesting pieces and to present them in carefully devised exhibitions. Various booths featured thematically grouped exhibitions and one-person shows. Known from the start as the most important fair for 20th-century classics, Art Basel has meanwhile established itself as the world’s premier platform for contemporary art as well. More galleries of contemporary art exhibit here than at any other art fair. Art Basel’s long-standing encouragement of young art was also shown this year by the brand-new works to be found at many booths. Various galleries presented video works and large installations. Painting and works on paper experienced a boom, and photography continued to be strongly represented. There was a palpable interest in performance art.
The results of the «Art Unlimited» platform – home to works that exceed the scope of traditional art-fair exhibition booths, and frequently even of galleries and museums – were extremely positive. There were 68 projects on display: large installations, video projections, large-scale paintings, and outsize sculptures. Numerous artists created works specifically for «Art Unlimited» and installed them there personally. Enthusiasm was not restricted to the galleries and artists alone: experts and visitors alike judged this year’s edition of «Art Unlimited» to be one of the best since its inception in the year 2000. The «Art Lobby» communication platform gave visitors daily opportunities for personal encounters with leading members of the international art scene, among them such artists as Elaine Sturtevant, Vito Acconci, François Morellet, and many more.
The «Art Statements» sector, with its 26 one-person shows of young artists, was a further audience magnet. The sector’s prominent location, near the entrance of the «Art Unlimited» hall, was appreciated by exhibitors and visitors alike. The participants were delighted at the keen interest in the platform, which not only brought in good sales but also provided opportunities to make contact with a host of exhibition makers from all over the world and generated considerable media interest. This year’s «Art Statements» prize of CHF 25,000, donated by the Baloise Group, went to Haegue Yang (Galerie Barbara Wien, Berlin) and Andreas Eriksson (Galerie Riis, Oslo).
The nine projects on Exhibition Square, in front of the international art show buildings, surprised and delighted visitors. They were an effective demonstration of the way contemporary artists deal with art in public space.
The «Art Edition» sector, where international publishing houses presented prints and multiples, also attracted considerable interest. The idea of presenting artists in dialogue in the «Art Premiere» sector earned praise from the public and was found exhilarating. The «Art Film» sector at the Stadtkino Basel, with open-air screenings of films by and about artists, has meanwhile become a favorite with visitors. The evening with Eija-Liisa Ahtila and the Swiss premiere of the documentary about Andy Warhol attracted particular interest.
Never have there been so many exhibitions and events in the area during Art Basel. The exhibitions at Basel’s museums, but also the cultural program on offer in neighboring cities, are noteworthy complements to the art show and contribute to its appeal.
Art 38 Basel once again sparked the enthusiasm of the art world. The show is the most popular international meeting place for gallery owners, collectors, artists, art mediators, and art lovers. Its outstanding sales results give impetus to the art mar ket. Art Basel has impressively confirmed its undisputed position as the world’s premier art show and done justice to its reputation as an art event with international impact.
The 39th edition of Art Basel takes place from June 4 to 8, 2008.
Art Basel Miami Beach
Art Basel Miami Beach runs from December 6 through 9, 2007. Applications have been submitted by a record number of 850 galleries, among them 99% of last year’s exhibitors. With newly admitted galleries accounting for 10% of the exhibitors, all areas of the show promise to be enhanced, making the 200-gallery line-up finer than ever.
PR Closing report /June 2007