Remarkable sales across all levels of the market at Art Basel in Basel 2018

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Remarkable sales across all levels of the market at Art Basel in Basel 2018
Tanya Bonakdar Gallery © Art Basel.

BASEL.- The 2018 edition of Art Basel in Basel closed on Sunday, June 17, 2018, amid reports of significant sales to private collections and institutions by galleries across all market sectors. Once more, Art Basel drew in a particularly strong turnout of both established and new collectors, from over 100 countries, with especially robust attendance from Europe and Asia. The show took place at Messe Basel from June 14 to June 17, 2018 and attracted an attendance of nearly 95,000 and once again proved to be a pivotal meeting place for the international art world.

The show, whose Lead Partner is UBS, brought together 290 premier galleries from 35 countries, presenting extraordinary contemporary and Modern works by over 4,000 artists. Leading private collectors from Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and the Middle East attended this year, as well as representatives from over 400 museums and institutions, including: The Bass, Miami Beach; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Centre Pompidou Foundation, Paris; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Norval Foundation, Cape Town; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Serpentine Galleries, London; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; and Yuz Museum, Shanghai.

Galleries exhibiting in all sectors of Art Basel expressed their delight at this year’s show:

‘This has been our most successful fair in the history of the gallery.’ --Stefan von Bartha, Director, von Bartha, Basel, S-chanf

‘Overall it was a great show: focused on the first two days; steady and serious crowd; mannered and methodical buying at a steady pace. Connoisseurship reigns.’ --Tim Blum, Owner, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles, New York, Tokyo

‘I continue to be impressed by the very serious old and new European buyers, including many museums. You can tell there is trust in Art Basel as the original art fair that can only be built over time. The excellent museum shows such as Bruce Nauman at Schaulager, and Bacon-Giacometti at Fondation Beyeler held visitors' attention around the city as well, and we're pleased with the works we placed in institutions in the US, Europe and Asia. It was a great year for women artists—Mary Corse, Lee Bul, Teresita Fernández all had major sales.’ --Rachel Lehmann, Co-Founder, Lehmann Maupin, New York, Hong Kong

The main sector of the show presented 227 of the world's leading galleries showing painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, video and editioned works of the highest quality. Overall, the gallery sector was rejuvenated by ten galleries participating in Galleries for the first time. 47 Canal, Alexander Gray Associates, Bergamin & Gomide, Casas Riegner, Kadel Willborn, Kate MacGarry, KOW, Mendes Wood DM, mother's tankstation limited and Tokyo Gallery + BTAP joined the main sector of the fair having previously exhibited in Feature and Statements. These additions reflected Art Basel's efforts to steadily bring younger galleries and the next generation of Modern galleries into the main sector of the fair, where they can show the full range of their programs.

The sector presented 14 global leaders in the field of prints and editioned works: Brooke Alexander, Inc., Niels Borch Jensen Gallery and Editions, Alan Cristea Gallery, mfc - michèle didier, Atelier-Editions Fanal, Gemini G.E.L., Sabine Knust, Lelong Editions, Carolina Nitsch, Paragon, Polígrafa Obra Gràfica, Susan Sheehan Gallery, STPI and Two Palms. In addition to its stand presentation, Alan Cristea Gallery was selected to present ‘Land 0˚ – 135˚ and Sea 0˚ – 135˚’ (2009) by Jan Dibbets on the Spotlight wall facing the Rundhof, which forms part of the Edition sector.

31 galleries presented ambitiously curated projects by both historical and contemporary artists in the Feature sector, with six galleries completely new to the show. Highlights from the sector included: Jef Geys at Galerie Max Mayer, Lubaina Himid at Hollybush Gardens and Nil Yalter at Galerist.

Showcased by 18 exciting young international galleries, solo presentations in Statements offered visitors and collectors the opportunity to discover quality work by emerging artists. The sector welcomed ten galleries exhibiting at the Basel show for the first time: Sandy Brown, Carlos/Ishikawa, Croy Nielsen, Essex Street, Freedman Fitzpatrick, Jan Kaps, Antoine Levi, Madragoa, mor charpentier and White Space Beijing.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Baloise Art Prize, which was awarded to Suki Seokyeong Kang at One and J. Gallery and Lawrence Abu Hamdan at mor charpentier. A jury of international experts awarded CHF 30, 000 to each artist, and their works were acquired by the Baloise Group and donated to MUDAM Luxembourg and the Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin.

This year Unlimited took place on the upper floor of Hall 1. Art Basel's unique platform for large-scale projects, the sector once again offered galleries the opportunity to showcase monumental installations, sculptures, video projections, wall paintings, photographic series and performance art that transcend the traditional art fair stand. Curated for the seventh year by Gianni Jetzer, Curator-at-Large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C., both historical and contemporary works were represented, celebrating renowned masters as well as emerging artists, including: Matthew Barney, Yto Barrada, Daniel Buren, Horia Damian, Camille Henrot, Jenny Holzer, Mark Leckey, Lee Ufan, Inge Mahn, Lygia Pape, Jon Rafman, Michael Rakowitz, Nedko Solakov, Martine Syms, Barthélémy Toguo and Yu Hong. Once again, galleries reported strong sales from the sector.

Reflecting on the political potentials of storytelling and seeking to investigate what stories can tell us about our lives, this year's Parcours was curated for the third consecutive year by Samuel Leuenberger, Director and Curator of SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland. The sector presented 23 site-specific artworks displayed throughout Basel's historic center by: Silvia Bächli & Eric Hattan, Nina Beier, stanley brouwn, Julian Charrière, Keren Cytter, Simon Denny, Elmgreen & Dragset, Georg Herold, Pierre Huyghe, Hilary Lloyd, Mark Manders, Caroline Mesquita, Rivane Neuenschwander, Marina Pinsky, Julian Rosefeldt, Nedko Solakov, Simon Starling, Jessica Stockholder, Thomas Struth, Paloma Varga Weisz and Hannah Weinberger. From June 11 to June 17, 2018, Parcours was attended by about 12,000 people.

During Parcours Night on Saturday, June 16, all project venues stayed open late with special live performances featuring artists Keren Cytter, Jean-Pascal Flavien, Ad Minoliti, Venuri Perera and Luke Willis Thompson. In addition, Thomas Struth presented two music performances by Maurizio Grandinetti and Walter Fähndrich.

Consisting of 16 film and video works presented by the show’s participating galleries, Art Basel’s Film program was curated for the fourth year by Cairo-based film curator Maxa Zoller. This year's program sought to attribute new meanings to found footage within filmmaking and brought together leading artists from across the world, with a strong focus on South Africa. The Art Basel Film program was screened at the Stadtkino Basel and was attended by about 600 visitors.

Art Basel's renowned talks series brought together leading artists, gallerists, collectors, art historians, curators, museum directors and critics from across the world. Programmed for the fourth year by Mari Spirito, Founding Director of Protocinema, Istanbul, the program featured 25 talks and served as a platform for dialogues and discussions on current topics such as sexism in the art world to blockchain technology, and offered perspectives on producing, collecting and exhibiting art. This year’s Premiere Artist Talk was devoted to Michael Rakowitz. Conversations was free and open to the public and attended by almost 3,000 people.

‘Basilea’, a Creative Time project commissioned by Art Basel for this year's Messeplatz, was curated by Elvira Dyangani Ose, Senior Curator at Creative Time, and brought together the artists Lara Almarcegui, Isabel Lewis and Santiago Cirugeda-led architecture studio Recetas Urbanas. The project aimed to create awareness of the active role we, as citizenry, have to intervene and alter any given urban environment, at an individual and collective level, encouraging discussions about the use and ownership of public space.

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