The fall art season is in full swing, at least in name, with galleries cautiously reopening, and a tense consideration for ways forward currently in the air, all serving as a fitting backdrop for the second iteration of Art Basel’s Online Viewing Room program. Filling in for the cancelled Basel and Miami Beach editions of its fair program, the recently opened OVR:2020 invites a select group of artists and galleries to make up some lost ground in their seasonal calendar, and to offer works for sale, amplified by the fair’s global reach.
With the first wave of COVID-19 behind us, and a second wave possibly on the horizon, galleries and fairs seem to have found something of a new equilibrium in this unsteady time, balancing socially distanced openings and gallery programming with online showing rooms that strive to offer limited works and bespoke experiences for buyers and browsers. OVR:2020, scheduled to run through September 26, focuses explicitly on works made this year, and will be complemented by a second edition, OVR:20c in late October. The gallery list is capped at 100, with a small set of works on offer from each exhibitor.
The result is a program that presents itself as fluid and steady, running through a broad range of styles and works while keeping the site trim and well-organized, keeping the site trim and nimble, and giving its presentation an air of urgency for those interested in taking home a new work. The programming is aided by a distinct focus on solo artist booths, a way to capitalize on smaller selections and curated choices. At Salon 94, one can view new works by Marilyn Minter, while at Neugerriemschneider, one can view selections from Rirkrit Tiravanija, including works that delve back into his investigations of participation and agency.
At White Cube, one could view a selection of works by sculptor Antony Gormley, continuing the artist’s exploration of scale and form in relation to the human body, transposing its frame into a series of interlocking steel arrangements. Another mode of spatial alchemy was on view at Koenig Galerie, where Alicja Kwade was showcasing a series of standalone sculptures and in situ arrangements, a body of work whose mode of photography made for an intriguing investigation of place and space from the confines of a browser window. By contrast, Chou Yu Cheng, showing via Edouard Malingue, had brought a series of coolly-rendered compositions, using gentle gradients and curving canvas to explore imagined depths and spaces.
All told, the exhibition is an engaging entry in a series of experiments and ventures into new models and techniques this year has pressed into being, and offers an interesting look at what the next months of the art calendar may well look like.
– D. Creahan