Sign In
Follow Us
Sue Williamson on Goodman Gallery's stand at Art Basel Unlimited 2017 | © Art Basel
Sue Williamson on Goodman Gallery's stand at Art Basel Unlimited 2017 | © Art Basel
add to wishlistsCreated with Sketch.

All the Art Fairs in Basel You Need to Know About

Picture of Freire Barnes
Art & Design Editor
Updated: 21 June 2017
With it’s picturesque vistas over the river Rhine and an abundance of museums, Basel is the ideal location for culture lovers to visit. Especially in June, when the scenic northwestern Swiss city, becomes an art mecca with Art Basel week. With so much art by international artists to see at the plethora of art fairs, including the renowned Art Basel, here’s what not to miss.
Rob Pruitt on Gavin Brown’s enterprise stand at Art Basel Unlimited 2017
Rob Pruitt on Gavin Brown’s enterprise stand at Art Basel Unlimited 2017 | © Art Basel

Art Basel

For the 48th edition, the art fair that’s been showing modern and contemporary art since 1970, is presenting over 290 galleries from 35 countries. There are 17 galleries participating for the first time this year, including Magician Space from Asia. Works are shown in a variety of sections, from Edition that focuses on limited-editioned works to Statements that showcases the work of emerging artists. Unlimited is again curated by Gianni Jetzer, and includes works that exceed the limitations of an art-fair stand. Here, on Gagosian’s stand, you can experience Chris Burden’s final performative sculpture Ode to Santos-Dumont, made in 2015 just before the American artist passed away (flight schedule: 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 4.30pm, 6.30pm).

As always there are some key works on show not to be missed, including the touchy-feely clay replica of Rodin’s The Kiss by Urs Fischer on Sadie Coles and Rob Pruitt’s comical art world celebrity lookalikes installation on Gavin Brown’s enterprise. Then taking it out into the street, Parcours presents a series of site-specific sculptures and interventions around Basel’s Münsterplatz, including Ai Weiwei’s contemplative Iron Tree (2016).

Messe Basel, Messeplatz 10, 4005 Basel, Switzerland. June 15–18. Ticketed event.

Sadie Coles HQ at Art Basel 2017
Sadie Coles HQ at Art Basel 2017 | © Art Basel


With an ethos of introducing young galleries to an international audience, Liste, known as the young art fair, offers a breath of fresh air from the establishment of Art Basel, and is where emerging talent can be discovered. With over 70 galleries from 34 countries, including Argentina, Estonia, Hungary, Peru and Sweden, you’re guaranteed to see the latest in innovative art practices.

Shown throughout a medley of spaces in a former brewery, you can see Zoë Paul’s socially-charged weavings at Athens-based gallery, the Breeder, and rising star artist, Samara Scott at The Sunday Painter from Peckham, London. While Performance Project considers the breadth of choreographic vision within an open-platform programme, shining a spotlight on an increasingly important, yet often overlooked, aspect of the visual arts practice.

Burgweg 15, 4058 Basel, Switzerland. June 13–18. Ticketed event.

Courtesy LISTE
Courtesy LISTE

Photo Basel

Within walking distance from Art Basel is Switzerland’s first international art fair dedicated to photography, taking place at Volkshaus Basel. The satellite fair, founded by Sven Eisenhut in 2015 is showing works by a diverse range of photographic talent including acclaimed documentary photographer Jill Freedman. The third edition also welcomes a number of new galleries, including Flatland from the Netherlands and Kana Kawanishi in Japan, as well as a new section devoted solely to moving image. It’s the perfect fair to get lost in the enchanting visions of artists like Casper Faassen who’s showing with Amsterdam-based Kahmann Gallery.

Volkshaus Basel, Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel, Switzerland. June 14–18. Ticketed event.

Casper Faassen, Shunji, 2016
Casper Faassen, Shunji, 2016 | © the artist


Bridging the gap between ‘market heavyweight’ Art Basel and ‘young art stalwart’ Liste, Volta is a welcome contrast to other fairs with its strong emphasis on establishing new international positions towards art and its focus on solo and thematic group presentations. Celebrating thirteen years, the Volta team has nicknamed the fair the ‘Lucky 13’ edition. With 70 galleries from four continents exhibiting a range of work covering painting to mixed media, it can certainly offer something for everyone. Be sure not to miss the work of Mónica de Miranda, who explores themes of urban archaeology, on Lisbon-based Carlos Carvalho gallery’s stand.

Markthalle Basel, 4051 Basel, Switzerland. June 12–17. Ticketed event.

V1 Gallery, Copenhagen
V1 Gallery, Copenhagen | Courtesy Volta


Just a couple of blocks away from the main art hub, Scope returns to Basel for its eleventh edition in its new home at Scope | Haus, an expansive exhibition space spread over two floors. Returning with a selection of many international galleries from over 50 cities, Scope stays focused to showcasing multi-disciplinary contemporary art. This year’s edition sees Swiss non-profit OVRA Archives present a special installation by Lukas Veraguth and you’ll be able to save your favourite artworks on the new Scope Art App that allows you to access all Scope catalogues since 2010. Art at your fingertips, now that’s what we like.

Webergasse 34, 4058 Basel, Switzerland. June 13–18. Ticketed event.

Luigi Presicce, performance of La dottrina unica, 2011 on Galleria Bianconi’s stand at Scope
Luigi Presicce, performance of La dottrina unica, 2011 on Galleria Bianconi’s stand at Scope | Photo: Vanni Bassetti, courtesy the gallery