Austria     Belgium     Brazil     Canada     Denmark     Finland     France     Germany     Hungary     Iceland     Ireland     Italy     Luxembourg     The Netherlands     Norway     Poland     Spain     Sweden     Switzerland     UK     USA     

Art Basel: The Fair of Fairs

Art Basel, the premier of all art fairs, has opened its doors to the public from June 13-16. This year’s event features 285 international exhibitors from around the globe, along with numerous satellite exhibitions and projects.

Art Basel is undoubtedly the most anticipated international art fair in the world, now in its 54th year. It remains one of the most significant events on the global market, serving as a testing ground for galleries, collectors, and institutions for the coming months. The fair debuted on Tuesday for VIP attendees, with 285 galleries occupying the Messe convention center in the heart of the Swiss city.

“I am excited to see our exhibitors from all over the world unpack their crates,” said the event’s newly appointed director, Maike Cruse. Cruse emphasized that the original Basel division of the fair, alongside its highly regarded Miami, Hong Kong, and Paris branches, is “the flagship, the touchpoint with the broadest overview of the international art market.” Indeed, the six-day event is defined by the presentations of exhibitors lining the halls, but its spectacle extends beyond the convention center, spreading throughout the city. This year, for example, we can see American artist Agnes Denes’ land art installation, “Honouring Wheatfield – A Confrontation” (2024), a tribute to her groundbreaking 1982 Wheatfield installation in downtown Manhattan.

Pace Gallery’s exhibition was not just a fair booth but a showcase of its artists in an “All Stars” presentation. Among the standout pieces was Jean Dubuffet’s sinuous black-and-white painted benches, Banc-Salon (1970/2024), sold for 800,000 euros each. One of the highlights of this year’s Art Basel is Julius Von Bismarck’s mechanical deer at the stand of Düsseldorf’s Sier + Höke gallery. The eerily lifelike animal, mounted on a wooden platform, has its limbs connected by winches that randomly contract and release, distorting it before snapping back into shape, much to the astonishment and fright of viewers.

At the stand of the Athens-based gallery, The Breeder, Maria Hassabi’s “Untitled” (2024) is undeniably the most striking piece. Hassabi’s work, a gold-infused photoprint, depicts a figure seemingly caught between freefall and defiance, with limbs blurring into the corners of the image. The Cypriot artist and choreographer intensely engages with the human body as a sculptural form, often infusing it with broad strokes of warm colors. The prices for the artist’s works at the stand range from $10,000 to $25,000.

This year’s Art Basel sees galleries from 40 countries, with 22 participating for the first time. The fair is characterized by a strong presence of works aimed at the secondary market from established artists, alongside numerous pieces by artists currently featured in the 2024 Venice Biennale.