Art Basel 2015

Art Basel 2015
 

Pablo Picasso, Mousquetaire aux Oiseaux II, 1972
Oil on canvas, 146 x 114 cm, Helly Nahmad Gallery, New York


 

This year, nearly 100,000 art lovers attended Art Basel 2015, the world’s most prestigious modern and contemporary art fair. The 46th edition, which closed on Sunday, June 21, 2015, was once again widely praised for the many outstanding works on display and the attractively presented stands. Many galleries said this had been their most succesful Art Basel. The show brought together 284 galleries from 33 countries, exhibiting works by over 4,000 artists. One of the highlights of its large-scale Unlimited section was definitely Kader Attia’s Arab Spring, 2014 which included display cases that were shattered during the plundering of Cairo’s Egyptian Museum in 2011. At each showing, Attia threw stones to smash the glass cases, re-enacting the original attack. Another interesting work at Unlimited was Leigh Ledare’s Double Bind. In the artist’s words, “a conceptual project” which featured hundreds of pictures of the same woman. Who is she? Well, Leigh was married to Megan for five years; they had been divorced for five years when he asked her to go with him to a cabin in upstate New York for a photo session. Shortly after, she got married, so he asked her to go to the same cabin with her new husband and have him take pictures too. Ledare’s photos and those taken by his ex-wife/muse’s new husband were placed right next to each other. This year there was a significant reconfiguration of the ground floor layout in Hall 2, which moved 57 galleries to new positions. This was the biggest such shift at the show in the last decade and brought galleries showing works from 1900 to 1970 in closer proximity, creating a stronger focus for their outstanding historical material, which included premier pieces by Max Beckman, Yves Klein, Pablo Picasso, Mark Rothko and Egon Schiele. Robin Meier’s immersive installation Synchronicity – Fireflies, crickets and machines at the Volkshaus in Basel was not to be missed. This installation was the first work supported by the annual Audemars Piguet Art Commission. Haute horologie brand Audemars Piguet has been the associate partner of Art Basel since 2013. Meier created a large-scale installation which connected disparate fields by harmonizing music, fireflies, bioluminescent bacteria and crickets to a common pulse. The viewer was invited to walk through the installation to witness all of these self-synchronizing organisms and systems beating together, as if driven by a single rhythmic force. Meier travelled the globe to research specific fireflies and insects. This led him to investigate how order emerges from chaos and he used this scientific research as a tool to express artistic ideas within his new installation. Last but not least, there was also the inaugural edition of Photo Basel, Switzerland’s first art fair dedicated solely to photography. Inside a complex of mediaeval buildings very close to the famous Hotel Les Trois Rois, the place to be during Art Basel, the nascent Photo Basel reasserted the importance of having a dedicated space for art photography and at the same time highlighted the city of Basel as a world cultural hub. It was a huge success with excellent sales reported by international galleries such as Stieglitz 19 (Antwerp), Suite 59 (Amsterdam), Esther Woerdehoff (Paris), Grundemark Nilsson (Berlin) and Amanasalto (Tokyo). The fair also attracted many representatives, curators and collectors of institutions including Sotheby’s, Museum Ludwig, MEP and Tate Modern. Founders Sven Eisenhut and Samuel Riggenbach are already looking forward to the 2016 edition.
 
—Copyright 2015 Mart Engelen
 
 

 
Art Basel 2015
 

Left: John M Armleder, Medium Green, Woodland Scenics, Realistic Trees (FS), 2014
Right: Cy Twombly, Untitled, 1990, Acrylic and crayon on paper 77.2 x 56.8 cm

 
 

Art Basel 2015
 

Tony Cragg, Runner, 2011/12, Stainless steel, 156 x 115 x 80 cm, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac Paris

 
 

Art Basel 2015
 

Kader Attia, Arab Spring, 2014 Continua, San Gimignano