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June 13, 2012

Art Basel Begins in Switzerland

By Ingrid Skjong | Art

Art Basel Begins in Switzerland
Jackson Pollock, Untitled (circa 1946), Courtesy Peter Blum Gallery, New York

Showcasing artwork from 2,500 international artists, with more than 300 galleries represented, this year’s Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, will continue to do what the prestigious art fair does best: bring emerging and established modern and contemporary artists to the fore (and have a lot of fun doing it). Running June 14 through June 17 this year, Art Basel gives art aficionados and collectors alike the chance to view art, films and performances, as well as participate in compelling art-world dialogues—the opportunities are vast.

Art Basel Conversation lets fair-goers sit in on talks and panel discussions on a range of topics, including collecting art and the future of artistic practice. Art Parcours, which showcases site-specific artwork and performances in the city’s St. Johann neighborhood, is always a highlight, this year exhibiting more performance-based offerings and showing off artists such as Rodney Graham, Abraham Cruzvillegas and Pedro Reyes.

Venues like Predigerkircher (Preacher’s Church), one of the first Gothic churches in the Upper Rhine region, and Restaurant Zur Mägd, the site of a 1538 banquet held to honor painter Hans Holbein the Younger, give a decidedly historic context to the lineups. The notable Fondation Beyeler features works by Jeff Koons—the artist’s first show at a Swiss museum—and the Art Unlimited portion of the fair displays 62 large-scale works (sculpture, photographs, video projects, paintings) by a host of artists from around the world, all curated by Gianni Jetzer, director of the Swiss Institute in New York. This, like the rest of Art Basel, is anything but typical. June 14–17; artbasel.com.