Where do I start? There is a lot to see in Basel. The fair itself takes days to get through if you do it right. And I was determined to do it right and really see as much art as possible this time. One thing I noticed being back in Europe for both Art Basel and dOCUMENTA (13) is how art is really a part of the lives of everyday people. It’s not just the art world elite visiting Kassel or Basel, it’s families and grandmas and people who work outside the art market, but just have an appreciation for art. How refreshing! Makes me want to live in Europe.
The first day involved the preview of the large-scale works in the section called:
Damien Ortega’s piece including furniture hanging from the ceiling greeted visitors.
The work that absolutely stole the show was seemingly the simplest. On a small metal rail, diCorcia placed 1000 polaroids, grouped for various reasons (similar colors, subjects, themes), from a 25 year span. The beauty of the work is that alone each of the shots is amazing, but as a group they are absolutely outstanding–taking you on a journey through the artist’s personal life as well as his artistic process as many of the photos are studies for his larger works.
Upon entering the space the rustle of newspapers underfoot heightens your senses as does the familiar smell of newsprint. The installation includes footage from filmmakers and photographers from an original event in 1972.
It’s hard to capture this experience without seeing the movement and hearing the sounds of the light on the pole dancing in the center of the space. The spotlight moves up and down at various rates and rotates, accompanied by bizarre motor noises. A very cool piece.
92 works in this space. Many of the canvases have clock hands but no numbers. The numbers can be found other places. The artist is asking “when does a painting stop being a painting, when is it transmuted to something else?”
There was also a cool Richard Phillips video called First Point which was a hit mostly because Lindsay Lohan was its star. I preferred the video Belle Comme le Jour by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster & Tristan Bera which is the prequel to a 1967 film calledBelle de Jour and a 2006 film, Belle toujours. Being a person who loves old movies, I appreciated the Hitchcockian references and the fictionalized meeting between film stars Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni.
The piece that I found the strangest in this section was Nina Beier’s Tragedy in which a real dog is given an instruction to “play dead” on a Persian rug. Why? I ask.
The main fair
In Frith Street’s booth, Tacita Dean uses found drawings and photos in groupings that are so beautiful and so thoughtful. Hanging multiple works on one wall, it was one of my favorite installations in the fair. Her work both here and in Kassel at dOCUMENTA is so elegant, so intimate. She is an amazing artist!
This work, at Buchmann Galerie, intrigued me. The canvases looked worked, almost like it is a modern piece. But the rough edges nd odd shape make it very sculptural and contemporary. Loved it!
Loved this John Baldessari print at Brooke Alexander.
I liked these two works in Marianne Boesky’s booth a lot. Al-Hadid’s work looks like it had eaten away at the wall. It felt very sculptural and raw, but also decorative at the same time.
Lisson had this great Angela de la Cruz.
With obvious nods to both Dan Flavin and Daniel Buren, Perret’s work at Galerie Francecsa Pia is a contemporary type of minimalism.
Kordansky’s booth was great. It was not overhung at all like so many booths at Basel. It had the perfect amount of art, a gorgeous Lesley Vance, a great Matthew Brannon and a nice Rashid Johnson.
Loved the Wangechu Mutu set of prints, The Original 9 Daughters, 2012 ed. 30, $25,000. They have an amazing level of detail in the etchings.
What’s not to love about a small Warhol Diamond Candy Box?
At Zwirner I loved the thick surface of the shirt in Michaël Borremans’ shirt and the colorful Flavin.
At Galleria Franco Noero, this work by Dadson caught my eye. I loved the sculpture of it. In some ways, it reminded me of a Donald Moffett work.
This Mamma Anderson gem was at Stephen Friedman Gallery’s booth.
Not sure where I snapped this great black and white Grotjahn. But there was also an amazing small Raqib Shaw in Thaddeaus Ropac’s closet.
A fantastic Sabine Hornig and cool work by Juan Araujo at Christina Guerra.
At Mai 36, this Magnus Plessen stood out. Look at the fabulous paint treatment.
L & M has 3 Martins but one is particularly amazing Agnes Martin “Buds” c. 1960 almost glows. I love it, I have never seen a work of hers with circles before.
A Pipilotti Rist you can take home and place in your collection without it being a completely immersive experience. Hauser and Wirth was showcasing this cabinet of curiosities by Rist.
At Annemarie Verna Galerie there was this gorgeous Morton.
Karsten Greve had this Fontana.
McKee had Gustons and great Vija Celmins works on the outside wall of their booth and a haunting photo called “Andrew” by Richard Learoyd. The texture of his skin is unreal and in immense detail while the back is out of focus. Such a powerful work. And I loved the three dimensionality of the Lucy Williams work.
A Michael Bauer on the outside wall at Peter Kilchmann.
Tony Meier’s booth had this amazing Wolfgang Laib a great Polke, Agnes Martin, and Mark Bradford works.
This Robert Irwin at Pace was great but there were so many people in the booth it was hard to see the works
There was a great collage section of Bernie Jacobsen’s booth, “A Century of Collage” with quotes on wall by RB Kitaj, Cornell, Motherwell and Duchamp, Lichtenstein and Larry Rivers. This Nevelson was on view.
Cool Tim Rollins KOS at Galleria Raucci/Napoli. I loved the surface quality of the work which is hard to capture in the photograph. It was shiny and ashy at the same time.
Neo Rauch you can see from down the hall at Eigen + Art.
Dane had Hurvin Anderson, a cool Benglis, and a beautiful glass piece by Jean Luc Moulene
I liked the Navid Nuur installation by Plan B in the Art Feature section. It included a video of a person making different compositions by folding paper, a work on canvas resting on the floor and a work on canvas that was created with the use of an overhead projector.
Presenhuber had an Aitken solo booth with works like “earth fountain.” It looked like chocolate was oozing out of the letters A..R..T.. And on the other side, jagged holes were ripped out of the drywall making unique entrances for the visitors.
Casey Kaplan had new Matthew Brannon collages–so cool! I am such a huge fan of his work and I love that he is branching out and trying new things.
I overheard Michelle Maccarone speaking to someone about the Carol Bove piece in her booth. Apparently, it refers to the Bove work at documenta though I was unable to hear how specifically.
At Galerie Christian Nagel, you could don clothes and step behind a presidential podium and have your picture taken.
Love these small Andrew Masullo works.