All’s fair: Art Basel 2016 showcases 4,000 international artists
The 47th edition of Art Basel, which runs at Messeplatz through 19 June, gave VIPs a private preview on 13 and 14 June, first opening its ’Unlimited’ sector, which breaks the boundaries of the traditional fair stand through massive installations, sculptures, videos and more, on Monday. Yesterday, the ’Gallery’ sector opened its doors to collectors, featuring an overwhelming 4,000 artists across stands by 287 galleries from 33 countries.
With such a vast amount of art on display, it’s nearly impossible to select a handful of highlights of the fair. The ’Unlimited’ sector had a number of impressive works, including Gli (Wall), a dazzling gold sculpture formed with aluminium and copper wire from 2010 by Ghanaian artist El Anatsui, who is represented by New York-based Jack Shainman gallery. The Collector’s House, a massive immersive installation by Belgian artist Hans Op de Beeck, who is represented by Marianne Boesky Gallery in New York, Galleria Continua in Italy and Galerie Krinzinger in Vienna, continues to draw crowds, thanks to his stunning recreation of a neoclassical private room in black and white. The life-sized space features a fountain running down the middle, along with a complete library, grand piano and of course — art throughout.
Over in the ’Gallery’ sector, at Amsterdam-based Annet Gelink Gallery, Israeli-born, Berlin-based artist Yael Bartana’s yellow neon text-based sculpture What If Women Ruled Our World, which is part of a body of work by Bartana of the same name, brought to mind the current U.S. election. A hanging bulbous sculpture by Japanese-American artist Ruth Asawa, who is currently having a resurgence, thanks to pieces at Hauser Wirth & Schimmel in Los Angeles, and the Berkeley Art Museum/Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley, is priced at $2 million at Mnuchin Gallery. Meanwhile, at Mexico City gallery Kurimanzutto a pair of sculptures by Portuguese artist Leonor Antunes are on display that are derived after measuring weavings by Anni Albers. Antunes linked together brass chain, attaching the weaving to two wooden table legs and two brass legs.
Chilean-born, New York-based artist Alfredo Jaar, took a moment of repose from the consumerism of Art Basel, by distributing 12,000 blue boxes across the fair and the city that call attention to the current migrant crisis by asking recipients to donate money to the Malta-based NGO Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) as part of his ’Parcours’ sector project.