Basel, Switzerland: Art Basel 2014 Preview, June 19th-22nd, 2014

June 17th, 2014

Outside Art Basel, via Art Observed

The works are hung, the location is set, and the doors will soon open on the 2014 edition of Art Basel’s flagship art fair in its namesake city, bringing an estimated $4 billion in art to the Swiss city alongside an enthusiastic flock of collectors, dealers, artists and visitors.

Paola Pivi, Titled to be determined (2014) at Galerie PerrotinA number of considerable blue-chip works will be offered this year in Basel, a sign of the immense strength of the current international market, and the increased stature of the art fair as a global destination for elite collectors.  Skarstedt Gallery is perhaps the biggest gambler on the strength of the market here, bringing a reportedly $35 million Andy Warhol self-portrait, while Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art is offering a $15 million Willem de Kooning.  Gagosian Gallery will also bring forth a strong selection of works including a large Richard Prince Cowboy painting, as well as a Roy Lichtenstein portrait, while  Luhring Augustine is offering a strong offering of works, including pieces by Michelangelo Pistoletto, Reinard Mucha, and Philip Taafe.

Sue Williams, Pentagon Blossom (2013) via 303 Gallery

The fair this year also continue its specially curated sections, including Features, its section for special projects and solo booths, with highlights from New York’s tech-focused Bitforms Gallery, showcasing Beryl Korot’s black and white video installations, and Luxembourg & Dayan presenting Gomenico Gnoli’s surreal paintings.  Art Basel also returns its Statements booths, which will bring a group of young artists to the avid buyers of the fair.  Ramiken Crucible, which has remained at the forefront of the fair schedule this year, will be presenting Lucas Blalock’s archival prints, and is joined by PSM, the Berlin-based gallery presenting a series of vibrant, production-focused canvases and video by Christian Falsnaes exploring the creative techniques of creation across a group of users.  The fair also returns its popular Films section, which will include film and video works by  Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, David Shrigley, and Jane and Louise Wilson.

Philippe Parreno, Fade to Black, Chickenman, 2005 (2013) via Air de Paris gallery

The fair also features a pair of sections dedicated to special projects: Art Unlimited and 14 Rooms.  14 Rooms, capitalizing on the current popularity of performance and installation based work, will bring forth a specially curated set of pieces focused on “alive” art, presented in conjunction with Fondation Beyeler and curators Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist, and featuring works by Bruce Nauman, Yoko Ono, Tino Sehgal, Jordan Wolfson and John Baldessari.   Nearby, the Unlimited sector will once again allow artists the space to create monumental, impressive pieces, including works from Rikrit Tiravanija and Alex Prager.

Bruce Nauman, Malice (1980) via Sperone Westwater

Olafur Eliasson, Compass family (2013) via Tanya Bonakdar gallery

But the inside of Messe Basel is only the beginning of the events surrounding fair week in Basel.  The proceedings also spread across the city, beginning with the 15 works of Art Basel’s Parcours section, site-specific installations throughout Basel that take the landscape of the city and its inhabitants as its inspiration.  Works include Seth Price’s 8–4 9–5 10–6 11–7, an audio piece playing compilations of dance music from the past 30 years in different locations around Basel, as well as a comically falsified advertising campaign by artist Ryan Gander.  Also of note is the annual Liste Art Fair, which brings a group of smaller, but carefully selected galleries to the events of the week, and which will see booths this year from Campoli Presti, Balice Hertling and Peres Projects, among others, an extremely strong offering that may challenge the larger fair in the years to come.

Donald Judd, Untitled (Bernstein 90-14) (1990) via Mnuchin Gallery

Alongside the events of the larger art fairs, a number of Basel’s premiere arts institutions will open their doors for related events and major exhibitions.  Of particular note is a major retrospective of the work of Gerhard Richter, currently on view at the Fondation Beyeler nearby. While not opening in conjunction with the fair, the exhibition is an impressive draw for visitors, and will invite interested parties with a talk by Peter Doig on June 20th.  More Gallery, located in nearby Giswil, will also open a major show of works by Frank Stella, offering a compelling show for those interested in venturing away from the standard fair events.

Sigmar Polke at Michael Werner

As VIP previews begin today, Art Observed will be on site posting live from our Twitter and Instagram.  Be sure to check in for the most recent updates on the myriad events of Art Basel.

Tracey Emin, Happy in Love (2013) via Lehmann Maupin

Ai Weiwei, Forever (Stainless Steel Bicycles in Silvery) 3 Pairs 4 Layers (2013) via neugerriemschneider

Siobhán Hapaska, Olive (2014) via Andréhn-Schiptjenko gallery

Josephine Meckseper, Auto Assembly Line to Slow it Down (2009) via Andrea Rosen

Aaron Garber Maikovska, Untitled (2013) via Standard (Oslo)

Ellsworth Kelly, Four Panels (2012) via Matthew Marks Gallery

Damien Hirst, Nothing is a Problem for Me (1992) via White Cube

Maria Lassnig, Assistance (2008) via Petzel Gallery

Alex Katz, Ada 2 (2013) via Gavin Brown’s Enterprise

Sam Lewitt, Weak Local Lineament (Copperhead 07) (2014) via Miguel Abreu Gallery

Anish Kapoor, Untitled (2013) via kamel mennour

Neo Rauch, Hatz (2002) via David Zwirner

Jim Lambie, Sun Ra (2014) via The Modern Institute


Donald Moffett, Lot 021114 (cockeye hole) (2014) via Marianne Boesky Gallery

Cindy Sherman, Untitled (2004) via Metro Pictures

— D. Creahan

Read more:
Art Basel Art Fair [Art Basel]
Basel Fair Readies $4 Billion in Art for International Buyers [Artfix Daily]
“Davos of Art World Lures Collectors to $4 Billion Fair” [Bloomberg]
“Art Basel stages ‘14 Rooms’, an exhibition of ‘live art’” [Financial Times]
Liste Fair [Liste]
“Slideshow: A Preview of Art Basel 2014″ [ArtInfo]
“Art Basel Taps Zeng Fanzhi, Eva Rothschild, Seth Price and More for Parcours” [Artnet]