Fusing International Arts: The 44th Art Basel

Photo of Melissa Pearce
10 March 2016

This innovative international arts fair is one of the most renowned and celebrated events on any art enthusiast’s calendar. In its 44th year, Art Basel Switzerland was joined by both Miami and Hong Kong, whose participation will aid in the understanding and spreading of modern and contemporary visual arts worldwide. The nature of these three locations and their fusion of cultures, languages and artistic communities ensures that the 2013 Art Basel is one of the most exciting yet.

© Art Basel

Now staged over three locations, Art Basel was founded in 1970 by Trudi Bruckner, Balz Hilt and Ernst Beyeler. The art fair began in the culturally eclectic city of Basel, after some years broadening its horizons to Miami in 2002 and 2013 bringing Hong Kong into the mix. Hong Kong’s debut year sees the three cities join forces to host one of the greatest events on the cultural calendar.

Each individual city holds its own show, each one unique from the rest. The nature of the three shows’ content is based around their respective locations, and by collaborating with local galleries, artists and institutions, the shows provide the means for each city to display their most recent developments within the visual arts. Improving international affairs and communications, galleries taking part in the art fair are able to form connections with a selection of art enthusiasts, curators and directors from overseas who have joined the fair in order to share their knowledge and gain a wider appreciation of the modern and contemporary visual arts scene. Each show is made up of individual sectors, which enable organizers to fully display the multi-faceted nature of modern and contemporary art.

© Art Basel

Over the years, Art Basel has represented a wide range of artworks, predominantly from the European arts scene, one which continues to be well represented. However, 2013 is a particularly special year for the fair, as the introduction of Hong Kong as a participant will enable it to include a broader diversity of works, with a huge increase in Asian art. Art Basel has always emphasized the importance of galleries in the promotion of art, and through this most recent inclusion, organizers will be able to further their activities in Asia and give themselves a louder voice within the Asian market.

Within the city of Basel, the 44th edition of the art fair will take place 13-16 June 2013. Across the show’s sectors, a staggering 304 galleries will take part from around the world in order to exhibit works spanning over 10 decades and across 39 countries. 238 of these galleries will be involved in the biggest sector, ‘Galleries,’ in which they will display the highest quality works of visual arts including painting, sculpture, installation, photography and video. An accompanying sector, ‘Feature,’ will engage with 24 galleries from 16 countries by giving them concise project outlines, with which they will curator both historical and contemporary works. With the show comprizing of eight sectors in total, not only galleries but also museums and directors are given the chance to exhibit newly developed projects, such as the five-day film program, which will spotlight individual artists and their works.

© Art Basel

The Conversations and Salon program gives visitors the opportunity to gain further understanding about the history and theories behind the visual arts. This series will involve a number of discussions about the most important topics within the arts world, such as the perspective of art within a rigid art historical canon juxtaposed against the ever-changing contemporary arts scene. By including discussions between specialists from across the board including artists and art historians, as well as curators and critics, these conversations will enable visitors to get a first hand experience of the latest goings on within the arts world.

Having participating in Art Basel for over ten decades, more than 50,000 visitors gather in Miami each year to see its display of visual arts, set back against the beautiful natural settings of this illustrious city. In addition to its ‘Galleries’ sector, Miami Beach offers up the freshest, never before seen works of art that have been created within the last three years in its series, Nova. Nova will include a range of galleries displaying projects from over 4,000 artists, the works of which will both compliment and clash to create some interesting dialogues. Other sectors in the Miami show spotlight individual artist projects, publishers and site-specific sculptures and installations, with the ‘Video’ sector displaying works on a 7,000-square-foot projection.

© Art Basel

The newest member of the Art Basel fair, Hong Kong, focused on works from all mediums, predominantly from Asia and Australasia in addition to international pieces. The show is increasingly important with regards to the ever-expanding contemporary arts scene in Asia, and displayed a wonderful array of works ranging from historical masters to young and emerging talents. The Hong Kong show consisted of five sectors, with ‘Galleries’ including 180 institutions, and the remaining sectors giving insights to Asian curatorial projects, up and coming artists and monumental sculptures and installations.

To find out more visit the Art Basel website

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