Satellite fairs and art shows seem to be mushrooming around their big brothers. With nearly two-dozen fairs, Miami is definitely the leader, followed by the Armory show, which this year had at least eight side fairs. The month of June though is reserved for the old continent and Art Basel, which is one of the oldest contemporary art fairs and one of the most important when it comes to the concentration of well-established art galleries. Some 4,000 artists will be featured in various sectors, providing for a neat selection of modern and contemporary artwork. Mega fairs and especially their brand image seem to affect the art market, and its participants, more and more. Today’s galleries have a tough time coping with the tight art fair calendar; this year Frieze New York and Art Basel Hong Kong had overlapping calendar days. Participation in a major fair proves a gallery’s importance and stance in the art world, but there’s not enough space for everyone—so in come the satellites. The reason behind this is apparent: everyone is trying to access the world's art collectors coming to town alongside the homegrown local public.
Navid Nuur, Untitled (Please free also this color from Pantone prison), 2009-2013, pencil on paper, 32 x 25 cm; Courtesy Gallery Plan B, Cluj-Berlin. At LISTE.
According to economic theory, for a product or service to be successful there should be a certain demand for it. And here we go: art fair organizers take advantage of the increasing number of new contemporary art galleries on the market and reply with organizing various off-site shows. The rapid increase of satellite art fairs seems to be a response to the demand for exhibition opportunities, however only the future will tell whether this need has been prompted by the growing number of newcomer art galleries on the market, the desire to exhibit during one of the important world art fairs, the mass media attention on contemporary art, or by the growth and buying potential of art devotees.
Without exception to the rule, in Basel one can enjoy a couple of satellite fairs: such as LISTE, the Young Art Fair, which after eighteen years in the game is not that young; VOLTA in its tenth edition; Scope Basel, celebrating eight years in town; the Solo Project; and newcomers such the book art fair, I Never Read, organized for its third consecutive year.
LISTE’s new structure, Architects: UNEND, Zurich Membran; Structure: HP Gasser AG, Lungern, Photo: Courtesy LISTE and Daniel Spehr
From the Basel satellites LISTE deserves top mention. As one of the most important showcases for "young" galleries—originally no older than five years—the fair aims to represent emerging and mid-career artists. As a true pioneer of cutting-edge contemporary art the fair welcomes this year some sixteen new galleries from Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Poland, and South Africa. Besides the newcomers LISTE will inaugurate a new terrace overlooking the Rhine with a restaurant area on the 5th and 6th floors. This year’s programme concentrates around performance, an art form that often has a hard time coping with the commoditized art market. A complete overview of the performance section could be found here.
Another major satellite fair is SCOPE Basel, which returns to last year’s location in Klybeckquai, dubbed the new art and culture hotspot in Basel. SCOPE will take place in a 4,000m² pavilion with a selection of global galleries including various participants from Asia and East Europe. Just outside the fair Jean Tinguely will have his musical performance Cyclope. Fair visitors can enjoy several open-air restaurants, bars, and of course the waterfront.
The art publisher’s and artist’s book fair I Never Read will take place at the Volkshaus, which is walking distance from LISTE and Art Basel. It has a lovely courtyard for chilling over a drink. The fair is free and open to public. Discussions with guest artists, DJ’s and publishers can be followed on-line via the fair's website.
VOLTA’s tenth birthday will be celebrated at the 1929 concrete dome Markthalle structure, an architecture landmark and third large cupola in Europe. Some 68 galleries from 38 countries will present solo presentation and carefully curated booths, thus emphasizing the work of individual artists.
The Solo Project also aims to bring a more in-depth view to artist’s oeuvre by inviting galleries to introduce and organize their booths around one selected artist. The Solo Project will be in its seventh edition, featuring mostly European galleries.
Fair Programme (ordered by opening day):
Mon, June 16, 12-17h Preview (invitation only), 17-19h Opening Reception (free, open to public)
Tue-Sat 13-21h, Sun 13-18h
Single entry: CHF 20, Reduced: CHF 10, After 8 pm: CHF 6, students free admission
Mon, June 16, 14-20h Public Vernissage
General Admission: 17CHF, Reduced: 12CHF
Tue, June 17, Private View (invitation only)
Wed, June 18, 15-20h Vernissage (invitation only)
Day Ticket: CHF 45, Evening Ticket, after 5 pm: CHF 25
Tue, June 17, 12-16h First View (Platinum Members Only), 16-20h VIP & Press
Platinum First View: 150 CHF, General VIP & Press: 100 CHF
Public: 22 CHF, Student: 15 CHF
The Solo Project
Wed, June 18, 10-12h (invitation only), 12-20h (general public)
Thu-Sat 10-19h, Sun 10-17h
Admission: 20 CHF
I Never Read
Wed, June 18, 18-22h Opening
Antonella Zazzera, Armonico C-S, 2011-2012, copper thread, 115 x 72 x 20 cm; Courtesy Antonella Cattani Contemporary Art, Bolzano. At The Solo Project.
Monday, June 16
LISTE Opening Party at Volkshaus
After 22h, free admission
Wednesday, June 18
Art Basel, special evening opening program
Parcours is the side programme of Art Basel, featuring various artistic interventions in the Rheingasse and Kleinbasel with works by acclaimed international artists such as: Chris Burden, Mario Garcia Torres, Pierre Bismuth, etc. Performances on Parcours Night will include Mario Garcia Torres and Guido van der Werve.
I Never Read Opening Party
Lady Bar, Feldberg 47
22h till late
Thursday, June 19
Catwalk in Public Space
Friday, June 20
Throughout Art Basel Week:
As every year the Stadtkino Basel located at Klostergasse will host Art Basel's film programme showing short and feature-length artist films.
Club & Place for Sinners (below Kunsthalle)
Various artists & DJs invited by Frank Basel & Idea Fixa Gallery
From 11pm till late
Admission with a flyer
Westquaistrasse 19, Basel
For football fans, during Art Basel visit Das Schiff with daily screenings of games.
(Image on top: VOLTA’s Dome; From www.voltashow.com)