Art Basel 2021: a guide to the fair and art in the city



Art Basel 2021: a guide to the fair and art in the city

Finally, Art Basel is on the verge of going physical again. From September 24 to 26, 2021 at Messe Basel, the fair promises a radical mix of new commissions and iconic works. Here is an overview of what to see at the fair and in the city

Art Basel 2021 will take place at Messe Basel from September 24-26. As is now the status quo for art fairs, the event will adopt a hybrid format, mixing physical and digital offerings to reach a large international audience. Building on its history as a catalyst for radical contemporary art, this year promises a mix of new commissions and iconic works. Also at Messe Basel, Design Miami / Basel 2021, organized by Aric Chen, will organize its 15th edition.

Marking Art Basel’s first physical fair since the start of the pandemic, the program will include 272 galleries from 33 countries and territories. We look forward to the highlights of Art Basel 2021.

Etel Adnan, Sunny countryside, 2018, tapestry. © the artist. Photo © White Cube (Ollie Hammick)

Art Basel 2021: what to see at the fair

Unlimited, Art Basel’s platform for large-scale projects, is organized for the first time by Giovanni Carmine, director of the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen. It will feature 62 large-scale projects by renowned and emerging artists, including Urs Fischer, Etel Adnan, Frank Bowling, Carrie Mae Weems and Marion Baruch.

UBS, Art Basel’s main partner, will present the hybrid exhibition ‘Reimagining: A Better World’. A selection of works will be physically presented in the UBS Lounge, with a larger version available virtually. Artists like Richard Mosse and Catherine Opie highlight the consequences of the exploitation of natural resources by humanity.

Rashid Johnson explores the anxieties that result from racial discrimination, and the compositions of Olafur Eliasson, Jeppe Hein and Tomás Saraceno reflect on the fragility of the physical world.

Above: Jeppe Hein, I believe in miracles, 2018, UBS Art Collection. Photography: Roman März / König Galerie. Above: Richard Mosse, ore ship, Pará. Courtesy of the artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Art Basel on Messeplatz

This year, the Messeplatz – Art Basel’s open-air incubator for radical art – will host two in situ interventions selected by the curators Unlimited and Parcours of the fair. Monster Chetwynd will develop a large-scale installation and performance, while Parcours curator Samuel Leuenberger will work with Cecilia Bengolea on a video installation and staged performance in the fountain at Messeplatz.

Art Basel in the city

The 12th edition of Parcours will present 20 works of art in situ across the city of Basel. Responding to the theme “Can we find happiness together?” ”, The works include 12 large-scale paintings and performances by Claudia Comte at the Stadtcasino, and a public walk by Hamish Fulton entitled“ Walking in all directions ”on Basel’s Marktplatz.

Elsewhere, the city’s main institutions will host major shows during the Art Basel festivities. At the Fondation Beyeler, the group exhibition “Close-up” highlights the work of key female artists from 1870 to the present day. Focusing on a myriad of representations of the human figure, featured artists include Berthe Morisot, Cindy Sherman and Elizabeth Peyton.

The Kunstmuseum Basel will present the highly anticipated “A Black Hole is Everything a Star Longs to Be” by American artist Kara Walker. Showcasing 600 drawings from her personal archives, as well as new works, Walker’s exhibition shines a light on themes of racism, gender, sexuality and violence. §

View of the exhibition ‘Kara Walker: A Black Hole Is Everything a Star Longs to Be’ at the Kunstmuseum Basel. Photography: Jonas Hänggi


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