All photos by Caroline Claisse for Art Observed.
With the closing of the weekend, Art Basel has reached the culmination of what has been an extensive and prolific week of exhibitions, sales, salons, and performances. The cultural capital sited on the banks of the Rhine attracted more than 2,500 artists, 300 galleries, and an international presence of 36 countries for the festival’s 43rd successful installment.
“System of Display” (2010) from Pace, reflecting Andy Warhol‘s “Mao” (1973) at the LM ARTS booth
Work by Hiroshi Sugimoto
Subodh Gupta‘s “Fil” (2010) from Nature Morte
Claude Lévêque‘s Shoot (2012) from Kamel Mennour
Robert Longo works at Metro Picture’s booth
Yue Minjun‘s “Picture of a noble scholar” (2010) from Daniel Templon Galerie
Untitled (2011) work by John Miller at Metro Pictures’ booth
UK gallery Victoria Miro presents Yayoi Kusama
The first official affair in Basel’s list of many events was the annual Art Parcours Night, this year featuring a Vaudeville-era performance by Kathryn Andrews staged against several installations. Other on-site exhibitions like that of Claude Léveque remained on display through the week also as a part of the Art Parcours section.
Though the public opening of Basel immediately followed Art Parcours Night on June 14, the true vernissage was as early as three days prior, with a stretch of invitation only unveilings and VIP preview days. Notable names to make appearances at this year’s preview were collector Alberto Mugrabi, hedge fund principal Steve Cohen, and estate developer Jerry Speyer.
Robin Rhode‘s “School of Fish” (2012) with work by Gilbert and George
White Cube shows Richard Phillips‘ “Leonardo DiCaprio” (2010)
“Santa with butt Plug” (2002) sculpture by Paul McCarthy from Hauser & Wirth
Metro Pictures exhibits “Flat Human I want More” (2009) installation by Olaf Breuning and an untitled (2010) photography piece by Cindy Sherman. AMA reported the gallery sold six copies of the Cindy Sherman, each for $450,000.
Massimo Bartolini’s sculpture “Revolutionary Monk” (2006) from Frith Street Gallery
Marina Abramovic‘s “The Communicator” (2012) from Sean Kelly
Among the exhibition and sale highlights was Pace Gallery’s Gerhard Richter abstract, “AB Courbet” (1986) which sold for $25m. Also bought at the Pace booth was an untitled work by Agnes Martin for $1m, “Clothespin” by Claes Oldenburg for $600,000, and Zhang Xiaogang‘s “Face 2012 n:1″ for $450,000.
Hauser & Wirth gallery saw strong sales with Philip Guston‘s “Orders” going for $6m, Paul McCarthy’s “White Snow and Prince on Horse” for $1.8m, and Louise Bourgeois’ bronze sculpture “Arched Figure” for $2 million. AMA reported Blum and Poe sold a Takashi Murakami, “Shangri – La Blue/Shangri” for $1.5m and Mark Grotjahn‘s “Untitled, (Orange, butterfly, blue, MG03)” for $1 million; Sperone Westwater Gallery sold three works by Alighiero e Boetti for $240-300,000 and “Saturn V” by Tom Sachs for $125,000; “End Plate 11″ by Christopher Wool was bought from Luhring Augustine for $950,000; “Joseph Beuys” by Andy Warhol left Acquavella for $10m, which also sold “Girl in white” by Wayne Thiebaud for $1.5m; Aurel Scheibler Gallery sold two Alice Neel pieces, “Elsie Rubin” and “Spanish Harlem”, both for $500,000; and a 1986 knitted painting by Rosemarie Trockel was bought from the Sprüth Magers booth at €380,000.
The gem at Basel, Mark Rothko’s 1954 canvas exhibited by Marlborough was sold and was priced at $78m, however the final sale price has yet to reach a clear consensus.
Another main fair addition that stood out this year and sparked much discussion was Sean Kelly Gallery’s reenactment of Marina Abramovic’s 1977 performance “Imponderabilia”, where two actors stand naked at an entryway and visitors must pass closely between them for access.
More from Sean Kelly, Laurent Grasso’s “Future archaeology” (2012) and Joseph Kosuth‘s “Andy Warhol (Art as Idea as Idea)” (1968)
Jonathan Monk‘s “Violent shadow I” (2012) from Yvon Lambert
Art Unlimited, Basel’s section devoted to works large in scale and outside of typical gallery confines, was also a hot locale for sales, exhibiting 62 projects this year. Gagosian and Paula Cooper brought perhaps the most memorable works, respectively, a snaking, pink installation by Franz West (sold on its first day shown) and Rudolf Stingel’s untitled, anonymous photograph of Paula Cooper, which sold privately for $3 million. Gagosian Gallery was the reported contributor of 12.5% of the artwork value hosted at Basel.
John Chamberlain‘s “Phonetic Shortcut” (2002) from Pace gallery
Jenny Holzer‘s “Heap” (2012) from Yvon Lambert
Richard Gray gallery shows “InesWorld I” (2012) by Jaume Plensa
Art Basel may be associated more with its main fair, but focus and interest was certainly split amongst its many satellite fairs and outgrowths. Characteristically focusing on the exhibition of a younger generation of artists, LISTE17 brought to Basel a collection of 64 galleries, the majority only recent arrivals in the art world. Similarly dedicated to the up and coming, VOLTA8 assembled 81 galleries this year, retaining its position as “Basel’s cutting edge art fair”. The-solo-project, presenting this year “Solo Shows by Selected Galleries’, showcased more in depth work from a carefully chosen selection of artists and galleries. Among the other offshoots of the main fair were Design Miami/Basel and Scope.
Grayson Perry‘s “The agony in the car park” (2012), exhibited by Victoria Miro
Georg Herold‘s firetruck-red sculpture “Beef early” (2012)
Other public events and programs joining Basel for another year included Art Salon, a dense series of speakers and panelists, Art Basel Conversations, and Art Parcours. The spotlight however remained on more private gatherings, such as the Fondation Beyeler’s private dinner, featuring a talk by architect Rem Koolhaas and curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and in part honoring the current Jeff Koons exhibition. Guests to the dinner were Jeff Koons himself, Larry Gagosian, Zaha Hadid, and Tracey Emin.
Galerist Victoria Miro in front of Chantal Joffe‘s “Couple Embracing” (2010)
Francesco Vezzoli‘s “Self portrait as Helio vs Selene by Jean Leon Gerome” (2012) from Yvon Lambert
Perrotin shows Elmgreen Dragset
Untitled (2012) work by David Shrigley from Stephen Friedman Gallery
Cindy Sherman’s untitled work (1983) and Thomas Schutte‘s “Grosser Geist No.9″ (2000) from Skarstedt
Chen Zhen‘s “Six Roots Enfance Childhood” (2000) from Galleria Continua
A not yet titled work by Rodney Graham
Last year, 65,000 visitors arrived to partake in the fete of Art Basel. Inclusive of it numerous satellite fairs and allied events, Basel’s 2012 summer edition has no doubt attracted a similar if not greater audience. Of the now roughly 190 art fairs occurring worldwide, Art Basel still claims the top position in size, scope, and likely influence.
Art 43 Basel 2012 Set to Begin [Art Observed]
Vernissage and VIP Preview [Art Observed]
Art Unlimited and Art Statements Section Previews [Art Observed]
LISTE17 at Art 43 Basel [Art Observed]
VOLTA8 at Art 43 Basel [Art Observed]
Art Parcours Night [Art Observed]
The-solo-project [Art Observed]
Artist Talk with Jeff Koons at Fondation Beyeler [Art Observed]
Exhibition Site [Art Basel]
At Basel, Proof It’s Good To Be A VIP [Forbes]
Hedge Funder Cohen, Eye Rothko, $25 Million Richter Sells [Bloomberg]
The 10 Best Booths of Art Basel 2012 [Artinfo]
Art Basel defies economic jitters [GenevaLunch]
Art Basel tests buyers’ instincts in time of crisis [Reuters]
Art 43 Basel 2012 [VernissageTV]
Large Works and Big Changes at Art Basel [NY Times]
How to Be an Artist [Glenn O'Brien]
At Art Basel, Financial Woes Look Far Away [Wall Street Journal]
Censorship and blackout at Art Basel? [AMA]
First sales results for Art Basel [AMA]
The art market: And so to Basel … [Financial Times]