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Special Edition: Art | Basel #1
by ArtSlant Team


Your Basel Week calendar, by Teodora Kotseva

If you are planning to visit Basel during June's Art Basel week, you should be prepared to dive into the most exciting week on the world art calendar. After the inauguration of the Venice Biennale, this is the second hot spot for all art industry people; everybody will be here, why would you miss it? Collectors, dealers, critics and curators flock to the small and cosy town of Basel like mad cows.

Art Basel remains the mothership of all art fairs, partly because it is one of the oldest contemporary art showcases with more than forty years of history, and not least due to the favourable sales tax and Freeport storage conditions, which the Swiss state generously provides to its high net worth clients.

But let us leave the trouble of storing valuable art to the collectors and dealers, and start our art walk. There is so much to see and do, that one has to lose the impulse to try to see and do everything. Take your time and enjoy the city, watch the art crowds, breathe the air and spend some time outside, grab a beer, and put your tired feet in the cold Rhein—the best experience ever after the long hours of an art marathon...

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Your guide to free and open to the public events, by Natalie Hegert

Art fairs can be exclusive affairs. And they certainly do encourage that notion, with their hallowed and inscrutable VIP lounges, wealthy collector-types air kissing dealers across the aisles, art consultants dashing around “shopping” for private collections, bottles of champagne popped for only certain clients, and most of all the money, das Geld, de l’argent or however you want to call it spilling forth from discreet Swiss bank accounts to purchase four-, five- or six-figures worth of contemporary art that you know will probably end up at auction for considerably more in a matter of years. Artists and critics often take pessimistic views of such displays of extravagance. For every fair there’s no limit to the grievances broadcast on the sad state of contemporary art and the capitalist ritual, or just general griping about claustrophobic installation and art fair overwhelm and how catastrophic that is for a viewer trying to regard and appreciate works of art.

But once you drop the pretense and accept that an art fair really isn’t comparable to the educative environment or contemplative space of a gallery or a museum (it’s an unfair comparison), you realize that it’s really just an extraordinary collection of people converging on one spot because of a common interest—contemporary art—whether they’re artists, dealers, curators, consultants, or über-rich collectors. I believe ArtSlant founder Georgia Fee put it best: “…I like being in a large crowd of people who love art. There is some sort of ecstatic communion that takes place as we all sigh over this painting, or take photos of that sculpture, or huddle around a darkened cubicle to watch the latest in high video.”

And where there’s a large crowd of art lovers there are also all of the exhibitions, events, screenings, performances, public displays and parties (oh the parties) that cater to them. A city and its art community will pull out all the stops for the art crowd. And that’s why attending big international art fairs opens up myriad possibilities of communing with other art lovers on many stages whether you’re at the fair or not. Whether you’re a VIP pass holder or a starving artist, there’s some exciting events in which to partake. Here’s a list of some free and open-to-the-public events happening in Basel this week...

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Aleksandra Domanović, Untitled (mash-up), 2012, Stack of A4 paper (9,000 pages), inkjet print 90 x 21 x 29.7 cm; Tanya Leighton Gallery, Berlin. At LISTE 18.

Laleh Khorramian, Untitled 6, 2013, Mixed Media on watercolor paper, 43 x 38 cm; The Third Line, Dubai. At Art Basel,Hall 1.0 / S6. Read about Laleh Khorramian's work in this ArtSlant Rackroom interview from January 2012.

Frances Stark, Pull After 'Push', 2010, Paint, printed matter, linen tape, stickers on panel, 69 x 89 inches, 175.5 x 226 cm; Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles. At Art Basel, Feature, Hall 2.1 / R1.

Posted by ArtSlant Team on 6/10/13

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