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This Year's Can't-Miss Events at Art Basel Switzerland

From 'Kusama' to Create Time’s first ever international public commission, we fill you in on what to see at this year's blockbuster mega-fair.


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Can you believe it's almost time for Art Basel Switzerland? (We feel like it was just yesterday that the mega-fair to end all mega-fairs touched down in Miami.) June 14th the picturesque Swiss town on the Rhine becomes ground zero for the modern art world when the global powerhouse launches its 49th edition. Over 290 galleries from 35 countries–from Europe and beyond–will exhibit this time around (16 for the first time), in the main Galleries sector; the Feature & Statements sector, presenting established and historical artists; the relatively new Unlimited sector, dedicated to projects that transcend the typical classical art show display stand, such as video projections, large-scale installations and live performances; and the Parcours, this year comprising more than 20 site-specific works engaging the public by placing sculptures, performances and more within the city’s neighborhoods.

Highlights of this year’s fair range from politically-inspired sculpture to films by, and about, great living visual artists. The Film program showcases Heather Lenz’s KusamaInfinity, tracing Yayoi Kusama’s journey from a conservative upbringing in Japan to her first brush with fame in the 1960s, and a new film by Ai Weiwei explores the global refugee crisis. The most momentous installations include Robert Longo’s new Death Star II, a stunning globe sculpture commemorating gun-related incidents in the U.S.; Michael Rakowitz’s reconstructions of artifacts stolen or destroyed from Baghdad’s National Museum of Iraq after the U.S. invasion of 2003; and Doreen Garner’s visceral piece referencing the black women tortured by Dr. J Marion Sims. Those are only a few of the boundary-pushing multimedia works anchoring this year’s fair, which is even organized around a central installation, the Messeplatz Project, Create Time’s first ever international public commission. June 14-17


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