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ART BASEL 2024: the world’s leading art fair begins

Basel will once again be the center of the global art scene from June 13 to 16 with the opening of Art Basel 2024.

The growth of Art Basel is unstoppable. Every year, the initiatives and participating galleries increase, reaching an impressive number for the 2024 edition: there will be 287 exhibition spaces from 40 different countries, with an addition of 22 "newcomer" exhibitors ready to make a bold entrance into the Main Section of the fair. Art Basel has no boundaries in genre and trends; during the fair days, high-quality artworks spanning all known media—from painting to sculpture, photography, video art, digital works, and AI-generated pieces—will be presented. As always, Art Basel embraces progress and innovation, hosting pioneers from the second half of the 20th century and emerging artists of the increasingly popular digital art.

Compared to Basel, all other international art events pale in comparison. Year after year, it confirms its hegemonic position, proving to be a unique platform for discovery and meetings that set the trends in the art world, aided by an open city atmosphere that fosters a symbiotic process with the event. This year's major novelty is the change in leadership: we will witness the first edition managed by the new director Maike Cruse, appointed in May 2023. She is called upon to shape the fair's identity with her perspective, having worked since last July. Cruse boasts extensive experience in the fair sector, having led the Gallery Weekend Berlin, Art Berlin from 2016 to 2019, and Art Berlin Contemporary from 2012 to 2016. These experiences are in addition to her previous collaboration with Art Basel, where she was responsible for communication from 2008 to 2011, a fundamental period that allowed her to deeply understand the cultural dynamics within and outside the event.

Maike Cruse photographed by Debora Mittelstaedt. Courtesy of Art Basel
Maike Cruse photographed by Debora Mittelstaedt. Courtesy of Art Basel

We are confident that we will witness a very progressive version of Art Basel, attentive to the emerging and local scene, which is particularly appreciated by the director, who recognizes the enormous changes in the artistic-cultural climate that have marked Basel in recent years. Indeed, it should be emphasized how the city has become the hub for new young galleries and the branches of some institutions like Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth, openings that testify to the energy of the urban center, a place full of entrepreneurial vitality and success for many companies, both small and large.


Art Basel 2024 will be divided into different sections: Galleries, Feature, Statements, Parcours, and Edition, plus the intriguing highlight of the fair Unlimited, a space dedicated to monumental installations impossible for any other exhibition venue. The Main Section will host 245 exhibitors, including the big Italian names MASSIMODECARLO and Galleria Continua, joining other famous international galleries such as Gladstone Gallery, Hauser & Wirth, Xavier Hufkens, Pace Gallery, Almine Rech, and David Zwirner (here is the complete list).

Beyond the main section, we can delve into Feature, a sector focusing on historical-artistic projects, including 16 presentations curated by 11 debut exhibitors. Inside, you can admire a retrospective dedicated to Jean Tinguely organized by Galerie Mueller (Basel), paintings by Irène Zurkinden presented by Meredith Rosen Gallery (NY), works by Viyé Diba (an icon of African art) exhibited at the stand of OH Gallery (Dakar), pieces by American artist Peter Halley at the stand of Maruani Mercier (Brussels, Zaventem), and the results of the unprecedented collaboration between Maryn Varbanov and Song Huai-Kuei, showcased in the spaces of Bank (Shanghai).

Also unmissable is Statements, a section hosting emerging artists from around the globe, comprising 18 solo presentations and 6 new entries, including some previews and an installation titled "Safe to Visit" (2024) by Sandra Poulson, presented by Jahmek Contemporary Art (Luanda), as well as 15 sculptural works by Ahmed Umar offered by the newcomer OSL Contemporary (Oslo), and finally the sound installation "An OK Space to Rest" (2024) by Julian Abraham, hosted by ROH Projects (Jakarta).

An unexpected surprise this year will be the Parcours section, curated for the first time by Stefanie Hessler, director of the Swiss Institute in New York. This section will be reimagined as an extended exhibition throughout the city, including hotels, shops, restaurants, gardens, and other urban spaces along Basel's Clarastrasse, which connects the fair district to the banks of the Rhine. According to Art Basel’s press office: "Through ambitious projects, many of which are site-specific and newly created, [Parcours] will explore ideas of transformation and circulation in the context of commerce and globalization, the flow of information, and various climates and weather conditions that span geographies and generations".

The star of this section will be the Hotel Merian, where the work "When the Sun Goes Away We Paint the Sky" by Petrit Halilaj will be installed, visible until late at night thanks to continuous programming that ensures the building's facade is constantly illuminated. This operation is enthusiastically followed by Maike Cruse, who comments: "I am excited about the expansion of the city program, which now includes the public art sector Parcours on Clarastrasse, recently curated by Stefanie Hessler. Additionally, I look forward to our project at the Hotel Merian, which will contribute to the continued growth of Art Basel's presence in the city through a new approach".

Art Basel Basilea 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel
Art Basel Basilea 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel

Public Art and Off-Fair Events to discover in the City

There are not only the pavilions of the mother of all art fairs; in Basel, visitors can enjoy a rich series of cultural events spread throughout the city, ready to welcome collectors, the public, and art professionals. A must-see is "The Summer Show" at the Fondation Beyeler, which will transform the entire museum and surrounding garden for the first time into a multiform and lively exhibition space that grows with the synergies between various works. Other must-see exhibitions include those hosted by the Kunstmuseum Basel: from Dan Flavin with "Dedications in Light", to "When We See Us: A Century of Black Figuration in Painting", to "Ingenious Women: Women Artists and their Companions" and "Made in Japan: Colored Woodcuts by Hiroshige, Kunisada, and Hokusai".

The lineup also includes the exhibition "Mika Rottenberg: Antimatter Factory" at the Museum Tinguely, followed by two other shows: "Transform! Designing the Future of Energy" at the Vitra Design Museum and "Science Fiction Design: From Space Age to Metaverse" at the Vitra Schaudepot. Parallel to the fair's program, a public art piece will also be presented, taking over Basel and extending across the city, occupying Messeplatz, where "Honouring Wheatfield – A Confrontation", a land art piece by Agnes Denes and curated by Samuel Leuenberger, will be installed. To conclude, the schedule includes eleven talks and presentations that will delve into key themes for contemporary art, including ecology, environment, politics, and activism.


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