top of page

Art Basel 2019. In Basel!

Alexandra Pirici’s living environment Aggregate (2017–19)

High-quality art pieces by 290 galleries, sounds of installations, eyes on art guiding footsteps of 93,000 global audience, art lovers in artistic fashion, art appreciation and excellent sales. Experiencing some totally new kind of performance art. Appreance of world's top most celebrities like Rihanna and Jameel Hassan. Well, then that’s not an imagination, you are at the world’s biggest international art fair 2019 edition of Art Basel at Basel, whose lead partner is UBS, that took place from June 13 to June 16, with two preview days on June 11 and 12. With this fair, Art Basel successfully introduced a sliding-scale pricing model for its Basel show, designed to benefit galleries with smaller stands. For the second year, Art Basel curated a VIP Weekend program, which was attended by more than 120 collectors from over 25 countries across all regions. Shortly before the fair, Art Basel announced the Global Guide, a new digital initiative designed to further support galleries by driving visitors and collectors to Art Basel's galleries year-round and furthering Art Basel's mission to connect patrons with great galleries on a year-round basis.

New York’s Salon 94 displaying Huma Bhabha's colossus We Come In Peace (2018)

The Art Fair was grouped in different sectors of exhibitors. One of the sectors was “Galleries” which displayed Modern and contemporary works including paintings, drawings, sculpture, installations, prints, photography, video and digital art by more than 4,000 artists. Another exhibit sector called “Feature” presented projects from established and historical artists precisely curated by gallerists. Projects included solo presentations, juxtapositions and thematic exhibits. Looking at the works of emerging artists is always interesting, sector named “Statements” presented exciting new solo projects by emerging artists, who received the prestigious Baloise Art Prize. The sector “Edition” provided visitors the opportunity to see significant and rare publications where leading publishers of editioned works, prints and multiples exhibited the results of their collaboration with artists. Unlimited Sector was curated Giovanni Carmine, which is Art Basel’s pioneering exhibition platform for projects that transcend the classical art-show stand, included massive sculptures and paintings, video projections, large-scale installations, and live performances. The Parcours sector that engages the public and fairgoers by placing site-specific sculptures, interventions, and performances in the city’s neighborhoods where Matias Faldbakken and Cathy Wilkes were among the 20 artists who participated. Parcours is curated by Samuel Leuenberger of SALTS exhibition space. Film sector included Art Basel’s week-long program of films by and about artists curated by Maxa Zoller and Marian Masone. A diverse and challenging program of works that reflected on the complex role of media in today’s global world. Magazines, a sector where art publications from around the world displayed their magazines in single-magazine stands or the collective booth. There were also conversation program, in which the series included artist talks, panels, and discussions with a range of speakers including artists, gallerists, curators, collectors, architects, art lawyers, critics, and many other cultural players from June 12-15.

All the artworks stood out at the fair and have made Art Basel 2019 at Basel a big success tagged as highest quality of art pieces ever presented at any Art Basel so far.

Jeff Koons’s Sacred Heart at Gagosian’s booth

Well one might not have seen such a piece of art before at Art Basel. This has set higher grounds for what an outstanding piece of performance art should look like! Alexandra Pirici is truly a creative mind who has inspired the art world today and this would be remembered for decades or may be more than that. Most talked among the social media, art news and inspiration for upcoming artists in the field of fine art, performance art, dance and ballet. Well it was Alexandra Pirici’s living environment Aggregate (2017–19). It was presented regularly for 5days from June 11-15 at the fair. Created by the Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici, and curated by Cecilia Alemani for Messeplatz Basel. It consisted more than 60 performers, who formed a connection among their body gestures. It surprised the audience with a minimalistic look yet an extreme hard work went into it’s rehearsals. Carefully selected songs and sounds from nature to naturally combine with the choreography, to bring up interactions and total involvement of whole audience, truly amazed each and every viewer. Aggregate has been called as a time capsule in which fragments of vernacular culture, art history, and everyday life are given new living embodiments. As viewers walked around this performative landscape, the dancers and actors mixed naturally with the audience.

Lets explore some more high quality art pieces and see how did they actually looked like; beginning with PPOW gallery’s artist Carolee Schneemann a feminist icon who’s artworks were on display, made in early 60s, to which Wendy Olsoff calls “revolutionary” and said that her works changed the course of art history and she has represented female bodies in her works. There were a lot of works made with found objects at the fair, example Vanessa Carlos founder and director of Carlos/Ishikawa gallery which displayed 94 rings that were lost in New York subway in 2016. They reveal the scientific, spiritual and financial values. Jack shainman, cofounder and owner of Jack Shainman Gallery, talked about artworks of Kerry James Marshall, with black figures making parallel horizontal lines throughout the walls all around. Victoria Mendrzyk from Frith Street Gallery discussed about the beauty of electronically moving pictures in a frame, which looked truly magical. She also compared the city’s traffic and pollution in the picture to monet's impressionism. “At unlimited we are Showing Joan Semmel’s largest paintings till date, 24 feet long, 4 panel painting” said Alexander Gray. Joan Semmel’s Skin in the Game, became one of the most talked paintings at the fair because of it’s huge size and content, measuring twenty-four feet across and eight feet high. Features six figures of varying size, it draws on painting styles and techniques from the encyclopedia of Semmel’s work to date. The title Skin in the Game evidences Semmel’s wit while simultaneously summarizing the stakes of her long career — foregrounded by both her position as a woman painter and her struggle for recognition in a field long dominated by men. Tornabuoni Art's Ermanno Rivetti presents Alighiero Boetti's acclaimed 'Mappe' series. Ermanno Rivetti calls them “quite literally historical snapshots of the world for the course of 25 years.” Salon 94's Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn sheds light on the origins of Huma Bhabha's colossus We Come In Peace (2018), Super power that had landed on the roof to save New York but not with muscle power, rather with spirituality. Also featured were Galerie Buchholz's Peter Curie on Wolfgang Tillmans, Galerie 1900-2000's David Fleiss talked about their favorite Picabia and many more.

Paul McCarthy, WS, White Snow Dopey Dopey Head, 2014 Xavier Hufkens

Excellent high end sales happened at Basel with the prices that outran the other Basel fairs of Miami and Hong Kong. The fair’s sales to private collections and institutions by galleries happened across all market sectors and attracted collectors from over 80 countries with presence of leading private collectors from Europe, America, Asia, Africa and Middle East. Also representatives from over 400 museums and institutions like Centre Pompidou, Paris, Institute of Contemporary Art, Miami, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, National Gallery Singapore, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim Museum, New York and the list goes on.

Gerhard Richter’s Versammlung (1966)

“2019 at Art Basel brought our most successful fair yet, with over 40 sales by the end of the opening day alone. The momentum leading up to the fair was particularly strong this year, but nothing can replace the experience of Messeplatz and the energy on the ground” said Iwan Wirth, President and Co-Founder, Hauser & Wirth. Well, Hauser & Wirth had highest sales during the fair, reported to be more than $49.2 million in total. Based on reported sales, Gerhard Richter’s Versammlung (1966), was sold for $20 million at the highest price at the fair for a single artwork which David Zwirner announced. Lisson Gallery finalized the sale of a historic Carmen Herrera painting. The 1974 acrylic-on-canvas work Red Square went for $2.3 million, almost touching the artist’s $2.9-million auction record set at Sotheby’s. These were some of the most accurate top sales recorded.

Carmen Herrera Painting, 1974 acrylic-on-canvas work Red Square

Thousands of artist’s brains gathered, created meaning of true aesthetics and conveyed ideas, content and messages through their art. Made a small world of their own and enlightened 93,000 audiences here in Basel at Art Basel 2019. Artworks attracted the audiences from different disciplines including art lovers, artists, art critics, media, curators and collectors from diverse age groups including kids who were seen enjoying the most at interactive installations.

Artists were the pivotal part of the fair to come up with most eccentric ideas to make the fair an art fair which the world saw!

Kids fully interacting and enjoying an installation at Art Basel 2019


Pictures: courtesy of the internet

bottom of page