Art Basel extravaganza begins

  • June 13, 2011 14:26

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Jason Rhoades│David Zwirner, New York; Hauser & Wirth, Zürich.

On the heels of the Venice Biennale opening, where contemporary art is on exhibit-only through Nov. 27, the 42nd edition of Art Basel takes it stand as the place to buy, from June 15 through June 19, 2011.

More than $1.75 billion worth of art is set to tempt billionaire buyers as well as new collectors who can choose less pricey works from a global range of emerging artists. It's a record valuation for the fair, said insurer Hiscox Ltd. to Bloomberg, with 10 of the most expensive works comprising $1 billion.

Last year, a record 62,500 visitors made the pilgrimage to the vast and influential annual fair in Basel, Switzerland.

Nearly 1,000 gallery applicants vied for about 300 exhibitor stands this year. Galleries from 35 countries on six continents are displaying over 2,500 artists of the 20th and 21st centuries.

VIPS are trickling in on Tuesday for special previews, dinners, and events at the start of the five-day affair. Among the anticipated highlights will be an installation incorporating DVDs of conceptualist John Baldessari’s films from 1968, copresented by Zurich’s Mai 36 Galerie and New York’s Marian Goodman, reports artinfo. Baldessari celebrated his 80th birthday on June 7.

Galerie Chantal Crousel of Paris will show the work of Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, the Puerto Rico-based artists behind the US Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, whose "Scale of Justice Carried by Shore Foam" (2010) is offered in the Art Unlimited section for around $175,000-$200,000, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Bloomberg reports, New York-based L & M Arts, one of 73 U.S. dealers at the fair, will be bringing an Andy Warhol soup can painting from 1965, as well as an orange abstraction by Mark Rothko. Both are priced at between $5 million and $6 million.

The question “Where would you live: the Philip Johnson Glass House or the Mies van der Rohe Farnsworth House?” is posed in the Art Unlimited section where the who's who of Art Basel will be surveyed on their preferences in modern architecture. Online visitors can join the conversation: http://philipjohnsonglasshouse.org/.

The Johnson vs. van der Rohe vote dovetails with the screening of "Points on a Line," a new film by artist Sarah Morris, commissioned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, which will be shown during the fair and at the Glass House Visitor Center in New Canaan, CT.

Also featured in the dizzying array of programming is a series called Art Basel Conversations which hosts the discussion 'How Will Museums Be Able to Collect?' on June 16.


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