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Basel Hotspots: 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.

In my own experience, tight planning does not help, but getting informed beforehand does! First thing to consider is picking up the small booklet called ‘myartguide’, issued by Lightbox publishing. This pocket guide has an extensive event planner, city maps and valuable information on openings, parties, side programmes, etc. It can be found at most art fair locations. Along with that, here follows some suggestions for things to do and my favourite spots in Basel, as well as a calendar for night events and extra opening hours.

Needless to say the point of departure must be the Messeplatz, where the main fair takes place. I advise first-time visitors to start touring from Art Unlimited. This section is reserved for large-scale installations, video work and performances, which cannot fit regular booth formats. Even though ‘unlimited’, the show features some seventy-nine artworks by artists such as Carl Andre, Gina Pane, Ai Weiwei, etc. The extended Hall 1 will welcome for the first time a vast number of artists from Asia and South America alike.

Second best choice at the main fair is the Statements section, with solo projects by young and emerging artists. Statements offer an opportunity to spot new talent, with the 30,000CHF Baloise Art Prize, awarded to two recipients. Feature is another section worth a mention with the specially curated projects that may include solo presentations or thematic shows. Since the fair is quite big (with more than 300 participating galleries), I would suggest visitors pay special attention to the first floor where high-end secondary market dealers boast museum quality works with significant importance for modern and contemporary art history.

LISTE; Foto: Daniel Spehr, courtesy LISTE.


Now that the main fair has been checked, it is time for fresh emerging art. The place to be is LISTE Basel, located at a 19th century former factory, a landmark of its own. The best way to get there is to walk down the river. After approximately fifteen to twenty minutes, unless you decide to take a swim, you should turn left (signs will lead you there, you cannot miss them!). Visitors should look for the small stairs leading to the tiny rooftop bar, a perfect place to enjoy a drink and see Basel from the top. It is open till 11 pm.

If it's the party atmosphere you're looking for, the first day of the Basel art week kicks off with the Vernissage of the Swiss Art Award located at Hall 4 at the Messe, to continue later with a party. The 12 June is the date for the late-night PARCOURS programme at Kaserne Basel. Located just ten minutes walking distance from the main fair, you will find DEPOT Basel, the showcase for emerging designers. The camping-like bar and the smell of sausages offer a refuge from the uptight fair atmosphere. And on the 11 and 12 June when all art showcases open their doors, it is time for the Kunsthalle BAR and the cream of the preview art crowd. Collectors, dealers and guests, fancy as hell, you will find them right here! Late night partygoers should consider a night out either at Hinterhof or Nordstern, famous for good music and DJ line-ups. See you there!


Week planner for extra opening hours:

ART CLUB meets Campari Club
Kunsthalle BAR
June 10 to June 16
From 11 pm till late
The nights of 11 and 12 June are the most packed ones!

June 11 to June 16
Open daily from 11pm 19 pm
Garden open till later

Swiss Art Awards Vernissage
June 10
5pm to 9pm
Location: Hall 4, Messe Basel
Access: Public event, free entry

Swiss Art Awards and LISTE Opening Party
June 10
From 10pm till late
Location: Volkshaus, Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel
Access: Public event, free entry

Parcours Nights
June 12 June 16
7pm to 12am
Curated by Florence Derieux
Open to the public

KazerneBasel (guest venue of Art PARCOURS)
June 12
Evening with a special program of events, including a screening of the legendary LA Dance Project, as well as screenings of Marc Bauer and a performance by Michael Smith.

Kaserne Basel; courtesy



Hassan Khan, 'Blind Ambition'
Art Basel Film
June 13 at 10pm
Location: Stadtkino Basel, Klostergasse 5, Basel

Short Film program, 'Still/Moving'
Art Basel Film
June 14 at 10pm
Location: Stadtkino Basel, Klostergasse 5, Basel

Short Film program, 'Resonating Bodies'
Art Basel Film
June 15 at 10pm
Location: Stadtkino Basel, Klostergasse 5, Basel



'Element of Crime: We hang out by day and play in clubs by night'
June 15 and June 16
Doors 6pm, starts at 8pm
Location: SpiegelzeltFondationBeyeler/ Sarasinpark


Suggested exhibitions:

Max Ernst and Maurizio Cattelan
June 10 June 16
Special opening times during Art Basel: 9am to 7pm
Location: FondationBeyeler

Steve McQueen
Opening hours during Art Basel 10–16 June 2013
Monday to Saturday 11–8 p.m., Thursday 11–6 p.m.,
Location: Schaulager

Hinterhof Dachterrasse; courtesy



Hinterhof Basel
June 14 TOILET PAPER' PARTY WITH MAURIZIO CATTELAN  (by invitation of FondationBeyeler)
June 15 HENRIK SCHWARZ (Innervisions, Berlin).

Hinterhof Dachterrasse (Free entrance)
June 11 till 5pm, Party on the rooftop with Dj's, Drinks, Grill& Laid Back Atmosphere
June 12 till5pm, Party JAMIE SHAR (Balztanz)
June 13 till 5pm, Party DJ KLANGFIEBER
June 14 till 5pm, Party TIM BÜRGENMEIER (Hinterhof)
June 15 till 5pm, Party MONAIR | LIVE (GelbesBillettMusik)
Location: Backyard Bar Münchensteinerstrasse 81, Basel

June 13 till 5am, Party Night Talk (Suara, Bunny Tiger / Basel), Malicious Joy (BEYOND / Basel)
June 14 till 7am, Party Terminal M with Monika Kruse (Terminal M, Berlin), Manon (Desolat / Zürich) Michel Sacher (Nordstern / Basel)
June 15 till 8am, Party Items & Things with Magda (minus / Items & Things / Berlin), Nyma (Items & Things / Berlin), Nik von Frankenberg & Honoree (GelbesBillett, Basel), Gregster Browne (Nordstern / Basel)
Location: Voltastrasse 30, Basel


Teodora Kotseva


(Image on top: Franz West, at Art Unlimited, Gagosian Gallery, New York © Art Basel 2012)

Posted by Teodora Kotseva on 6/8/13

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