Basel is a small city in Switzerland that fills up with contemporary art for a week in late spring. If you an art collector or love seeing what artists are creating, you will want to be in Basel for this Art Fair Week.
Need to Know
Art Basel started in the 1970 and is the largest art fair in Basel. It will take you two days to wander through the fair and more than a few days if you really want to get to know about the art pieces. With this much art, know what you like before you go to the fair and plan on spending at least two days hunting through the almost 300 galleries.
ArtBasel has different tickets so see if you can snag a VIP ticket for at least one day. You can get a general ticket that allows you to visit during the open days and have access to the open areas but if you can get a basic VIP ticket you will be allowed to hang out in the VIP lounge and you will have free entrance to some of the evening entertainment. If you are a serious collector, you must get the special VIP ticket which allows you use the helicopter landing pad, provides you with car service and offers you fresh strawberries when you arrive. Galleries will give you a VIP tickets but if you don’t know anyone at a participating gallery or an artist showing work at the fair, you can purchase a regular ticket at then entrance. If you do not have a VIP ticket, try going to the fair on Thursday and Friday. The weekends are extremely busy and you will have to wait in line for almost two hours to see artwork like this:
Where to Start
First, go to the unlimited and see the special exhibitions by individual artists. These are large scale installations that take up meters of wall space or meters of floor space. You can see images of Artbasel Unlimited in this Munich Artists Post. I spent several hours wandering through the artwork and saw one of my favourite artists showing in Europe for the first time.
Galleries and Statements
If you love seeing what is happening in the art scene, start on the second level of the art fair where ArtBasel shows Statements. Statements are exhibitions of one artist and I really enjoyed Frank Heath’s statement below by Gallery Simone Subal.
The first level/ground level of the fair are the galleries which show work like this by Kwang-Young Chun at Landau Fine Art: