Art Basel 2016 articles and images collection

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 ROBB REPORT

Top 10 Most-Anticipated Highlights for Art Basel 2016

  • Davide Balula Burnt Painting
  • El Anatsui Gli Wal
  • Cindy Sherman
  • Mira Schendel
  • Scarlet Cheng
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Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, is now the granddaddy of all modern and contemporary art fairs, drawing over 98,000 visitors and featuring about 286 international art galleries and museums from 33 countries. They bring the works of modern masters, as well as emerging art stars, to one of six main show floors, works meant to wow fairgoers and help add to their collections. Things kick off with a grand vernissage (by invitation only) on June 15, followed by public viewing days June 16 through 19. Tickets are priced from $29 to $124. Below are 10 of the most-anticipated highlights. (artbasel.com)

Bergamin & Gomide (São Paulo, Brazil)

This Brazilian gallery will feature works by Mira Schendel. Known for her drawings and sculpture, she is one of the most important Latin-American artists of the 20th century. The gallery will showcase works from the important phases of the artist’s career.

Fondation Beyeler (Basel, Switzerland)

Every year, this museum presents something special to coincide with Art Basel, and this time it is a retrospective of the man who made mobiles famous, Alexander Calder. The exhibition features 75 works spanning 4 decades of his productive career, juxtaposed with the collaborative work of contemporary artists Peter Fischli and David Weiss.

Blum & Poe (Los Angeles and other locations)

In the Parcours sector, Blum & Poe galleries will present Sam Durant’s installation Labyrinth (2015), a large-scale steel structure made of chain-link fencing materials. The work was developed by working with prisoners at State Correctional Institution—Graterford near Philadelphia, Penn., and designed as a space for reflection on issues of freedom and imprisonment, movement and stasis. The gallery booth will feature a smaller version.

Gagosian (New York and other locations)

Gagosian will showcase the work of Davide Balula, both as part of its gallery presentation and as part of the Unlimited sector (in conjunction with Galerie Frank Elbaz). At the latter, Balula’s Mimed Sculptures employs mimes “shaping” the air with their hands over empty plinths, recreating canonical sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, Alberto Giacometti, Barbara Hepworth, and others.

Goodman Gallery / Marian Goodman Gallery (New York / Johannesburg, South Africa)

The galleries will feature noted South African artist William Kentridge, whose bold freehand drawings are often used to make stop-action videos. Both his dynamic and often stream-of-consciousness drawings and videos will be shown at Art Basel.

Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery (Seoul / New York)

In the Unlimited sector, the galleries will present a major installation, Sol LeWitt Upside Down—Structure with Three Towers, Expanded 23 Times, Split in Three, by leading Korean contemporary artist Haegue Yang. The work is made up of stacks of open cubes with Venetian blinds inserted into them.

Timothy Marrinan and Richard Dewey, Filmmakers

Their new documentary film Burden (2016) will present a special screening as part of Art Basel. The subject is pioneering avant-garde artist Chris Burden, whose career spanned early performance art to large-scale installations, including Urban Light, which graces the entrance pavilion of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Metro Pictures (New York)

Metro Pictures will showcase the newest body of work from iconic American photographer Cindy Sherman—her first since 2012. In this series Sherman transforms herself into movie-star heroines in the style of 1920s publicity stills—heavily made up and in stylized poses.

Regen Projects (Los Angeles)

This leading American gallery will be presenting a selection of works in various media by gallery artists, including art stars Doug Aitken and Anish Kapoor. Born in Bombay, Kapoor has worked in London since the 1970s, and the gallery will feature his radiant Mirror (Laser Red to Oriental Blue) (2016).

Jack Shainman Gallery (New York)

Located in the Unlimited sector, the gallery features El Anatsui’s Gli (Wall) (2010), five hanging curtains made of recycled materials, coming together to create a large contemplative enclosure. El Anatsui is internationally famous for refashioning humble material into monumental sculpture.

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THE OBSERVER LONDON

Art Basel: Politics as Unusual

The world’s leading contemporary art fair broadens its reach—sort of

Art Basel, in Basel, Switzerland, 2016.

Art Basel, in Basel, Switzerland, 2016. Courtesy Art Basel

Going to an art fair always brings to mind the great song by the 70s LA punk band Fear, “New York’s All Right If You Like Saxophones,” which we amend in this case to “Art Basel’s All Right If You Like Julian Schnabel’s New Purple Paintings.” Even if it’s the big apple of art fairs, in other words, we’re going to pretend to hate Basel (which wound up on Sunday), or at least complain about all those big galleries and all that money everyone was throwing about, from the $4.5 million for Paul McCarthy’s goofy, Mr. Potato Head-inspired Tomato Head (Green) to the $8.35 for two scoops of ice cream at the Mövenpick kiosk.

Meanwhile, in nearby Zurich, Manifesta 11 (the ‘nomadic European biennial’) was getting underway with the organizing theme of “What We Do For Work.” If that isn’t a sly poke at Art Basel by the exhibition’s curator, Berlin artist Christian Jankowski, it should be.

In any case, don’t believe any of the stories that suggest that the 47th Art Basel—with 286 very commercial galleries in attendance—was political in nature. A few politically savvy installations in its Unlimited section doesn’t mean the fair wasn’t about what it always is: money, those who have it and spend it, those who benefit from it, and the rest of us who come along to check out the action and wind up thoroughly exhausted, overwhelmed by the commerce as much as by the art, but at least partially enriched in the process because there’s actually so much worth seeing. Finding it amid the trudgery—yes, trudgery—along with the mental space to enjoy it, is both the challenge and the occasional pleasure.

It proved to be even more of a challenge at Liste, the adjunct fair for young galleries and emerging artists, which seemed to be Liste-ing with Godawfulism. Notable, happy exceptions included the clean, bold paintings of Cornelia Baltes at Limoncello (London); Erika Voigt’s exuberant knife paintings at LA’s Overduin & Co; the funny cellar installation by the now-surely-post-emergent Liz Craft (Truth & Consequences, Geneva); and Yuji Agematsu’s tiny beautiful-ugly assemblages at Real Fine Arts (Brooklyn). Agematsu, a Japanese artist living in Brooklyn, gathers street detritus daily into a cigarette box, then makes a sculpture from it and places it inside the box’s vitrine-like cellophane wrapper. Straddling Art Basel and Art Brut, Agematsu was for me one of the real pleasures of the entire fair.

In the main hall the next day, when I came across a small red match-box sculpture by the Brazilian artist Lygia Clark, at Alison Jacques Gallery, it felt like an echo, as did the miniature inks-on-paper by Wilfredo Prieto at Annet Gelink Gallery.

With the world’s top galleries in attendance, such beautiful works abound—two small Morandis that sold for $1 million apiece at David Zwirner, others from Günther Förg, Etel Adnan, Eva Hesse, Dorothea Tanning, Albert Oehlen, Hélio Oiticica, Louise Bourgeois, Robert Ryman, Otto Piene, Martin Kippenberger, Sigmar Polke ($6.5 million! again by Zwirner), two incredibly lovely Richard Tuttle pieces on wood (I think). Gavin Brown showed some great little rough-hewn Alex Katz studies, a welcome relief from the artist’s usual neat-freak control.

Inside the Basel Messe, it’s a sort of upside down Downton Abbey affair: the super rich are downstairs—here a Hauser, there a Wirth, everywhere a Schimmel—with a few moderns thrown in for an occasional reality check, while most of the edgier contemporary personalities are found upstairs. It didn’t hurt Gavin Brown to be positioned just at the top of the escalator, where he leaned six large new Kerstin Brätsch marbleized paintings, all of which sold to museums and foundations at $60,000 apiece, according to the gallery. From there, depending on your level of exhaustion (or checking account), it is either an amazing smorgasbord of leading contemporary artists or one massive, eye-and-brain-numbing exercise in wishful thinking, aesthetically and otherwise.

Dan Finsel at Ramiken Crucible in the Statements section, Art Basel 2016.

Dan Finsel at Ramiken Crucible in the Statements section, Art Basel 2016. Courtesy Art Basel

Some respite is afforded along the edges, where galleries in the curated Features and Statements sections are situated; some might say exiled. Feature galleries on both floors focused on established or “historical” (read: dead) artists. Among the most interesting were Wallace Berman, Bruce Conner and Jay Defeo (all dead) at frank elbaz, filmmaker Pat O’Neil (still kicking) at Cherry and Martin, and the very much alive Sadie Benning’s sumptuous paintings on cut-and-inset wood at Susanne Vielmetter. Memorable in the Statements section for solo projects by emerging artists were L.A.-based Dan Finsel’s large organic pods at Ramiken Crucible and the Baloise Prize-winning videos of Sara Cwynar and Mary Reid Kelley at Foxy Production (New York) and Arratia Beer (Berlin) respectively.

Allan McCollum at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Parcours section at Art Basel 2016.

Allan McCollum at Galerie Thomas Schulte, Parcours section at Art Basel 2016. Courtesy Art Basel

Outside the main hall, things got a bit more Documenta-ish, and socially aware. In the Parcours section, a mildly engaging series of site-specific installations, interventions or performances in the old town area along the Rhine, Sam Durant erected a prison-like labyrinth of chain-link fencing meant to represent the lines between freedom and captivity, movement and immobility. (These notions seemed lost on a group of small children running through it happily.) The New York-based Chilean artist Alfredo Jaar offered visitors to the Münsterplatz a small blue box, The Gift, inside of which recipients found means to donate to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS)—the gift of giving. The question is, how many people at a short-lived art fair have the time or energy for a walking exhibition, especially in the rain. My guess is: not many.

Tracey Rose of Goodman Gallery in the Parcours section, Art Basel 2016.

Tracey Rose of Goodman Gallery in the Parcours section, Art Basel 2016. Courtesy Art Basel

Better attended was the nighttime performance by Anne Imhoff at the Kunsthalle, which featured several young performer/dancers interacting in various guises, including amusing/horrifying contempo-fashion runway striding, as well as a falcon and several cans of Pepsi. Does this sound intriguing? It was a come-and-go affair over five hours, and most visitors did just that, at times seeming to be part of the performance—or the performers seeming to be part of the audience. Some of the intrepid, those who stayed till the midnight end, were later seen at a bar called Kaschemme, listening in a tiny smoky dungeon to a young woman playing cello with three guys fiddling sonic dials. Hauser, Wirth & Schimmel were nowhere in sight.

Unquestionably, the most interesting aspect of the fair—for the non-buying audience at least—is Unlimited, featuring a who’s who of top artists: El Anatsui, James Turrell, Dieter Roth, Tracey Emin, William Kentridge, Tony Oursler, Julie Mehretu, Jannis Kounellis, Francis Stark, Anish Kapoor, Frank Stella, Laurie Simmons, Wolfgang Tillmans, Pope L., Kader Attia, Allison Knowles and Isa Genzken. Set in a giant, otherwise empty hall, and curated once again by the New York-based curator at large for the Hirshhorn, Gianni Jetzer, Unlimited affords generous space to exhibit work unshowable in an ordinary fair context. And yes, that meant yet another oversized (and over-conceived) piece by Ai Wei-Wei, who may as well be known as Ai Wei-Wei-Too-Much.

Unlimited at Art Basel 2016.

Unlimited at Art Basel 2016. Courtesy Art Basel

But it also meant a suite of Martha Rosler’s incisive “Bringing the [Vietnam] War Home” series, House Beautiful; Mike Kelley’s 1989 Reconstructed History (which Skarstedt sold for $1.5 million); and Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Krzysztof Wodiczko’s Zoom Pavilion, which offered entrants insight into surveillance and social media creepiness. There was also a wonderfully understated and pedestrian piece by Christo called Five Storefronts. When a friend photographed it, a woman said, “How can you take a photo of that?” Too real, too ugly, not fun! Somewhere in the main hall was a selection of Ed Ruscha’s old banality projects—on gas stations and every building on the Sunset Strip, etc. But it was another L.A. artist, Khalil Joseph, who with his stunning 2014 short film m.A.A.d., set in the less-than-serene streets of Compton, brought a serious dose of gritty “reality” to the otherworldly life cushion that is Basel, or at least Art Basel.

Then it was outside again for some more $8 ice cream.


Ocula Report

A blended mass: A report from Art Basel 2016

Stephanie Bailey Basel 24 June 2016

Image: Gerwald Rockenschaub at Unlimited, Art Basel 2016. Courtesy Mehdi Chouakri, Galerie Vera Munro, Galerie Eva Presenhuber. Photo: © Timothée Chambovet & Ocula.

It was both a conservative and global year for the 47th Art Basel, as Scott Reyburn reported for The New York Times. Volatile markets—and politics—explained the wealth of historical pieces featured amongst more contemporary installations in Gianni Jetzer’s Unlimited section, this year with a record number of 88 works in total from an impressively global list of artists (including, as Jetzer noted, ‘three of the most important contemporary female artists from India’: Archana Hande, Prabhavathi Meppayil and Mithu Sen). There was a monumental 1970 painting by Frank Stella, Damascus Gate (Stretch Variation I), and a historical 1993 piece by Vlassis Caniaris, In Praise: a cube of vintage cement sacks wrapped with Greek flags presented by Galerie Peter Kilchmann (in collaboration with Kalfayan Galleries). In one room, visitors were able to experience the 1968 work Microfoni by Gilberto Zorio courtesy of Galleria Lia Rumma, in which microphones hung within the space for visitors to participate in a spontaneous, sonic symphony.

Image: Frank Stella at Unlimited, Art Basel 2016. Courtesy Marianne Boesky Gallery, Dominique Lévy Gallery, Sprüth Magers. Photo: © Timothée Chambovet & Ocula.

Newer works presented at Unlimited offered an overview of contemporary practices that engage in the world cross-cartographically. Nina Canell, brought to Unlimited by Barbara Wien, presented Shedding Sheaths (2015): sculptures produced for the Swedish artist’s first institutional Asian show at Arko Art Center, in which Canell presented a series of gutted—and deformed—fibre-optic cables based on her research into cable recycling facilities located on the outskirts of Seoul. Stan Douglas presented, with the support of Victoria Miro and David Zwirner, a single-channel video projection titled Luanda-Kinshasa (2013) that explores the African origins of the early 1970s New York music scene through the prism of historical migration and cultural synthesis. In the case of William Kentridge’s excellent Notes Towards a Model Opera, produced in 2015 as part of the artist’s solo exhibition at UCCA in Beijing and presented here with Goodman Gallery, we see a globalised reading of the political and social history of modern China, namely the Cultural Revolution and its operatic ballets, through a prism of, as the artist has stated, ‘cultural diffusion and metamorphosis’ placed within ‘a history of dance that spans continents and centuries’.

Image: Nina Canell at Barbara Wien, Unlimited, Art Basel 2016. © Art Basel.

Meanwhile, Davide Balula offered a more tongue-in-cheek homage to the weighted history Art Basel offers not only in terms of the fair’s identity as one of the first of the modern art fairs, but also as a fair that emphasises a certain kind of historical canon. In Mimed Sculptures, placed at the entrance to Unlimited, performers mimed the forms of various canonical works, from Henry Moore’s Reclining Figure: Hand (1979) to Barbara Hepworth’s Curved Form: Bryher II (1961), and Louise BourgeoisUnconscious Landscape (1967-8). Approaching the notion of the canon in a different way was Samson Young’s impressive performance piece, Canon, which appropriated a Long Range Acoustic Device, normally used as a sonic weapon to disperse crowds, to capture distressed birdcalls. These sounds were transmitted into the Unlimited hall, and within a prison-like room, presented in Unlimited by team (gallery inc.) and Galerie Gisela Capitan (and featuring Young dressed in a Hong Kong policeman’s uniform).

Image: Samson Young at Galerie Gisela Capitain, team gallery inc, Unlimited, Art Basel 2016. © Art Basel.

Tellingly, Canon comes with project statement that makes a note of the fact that in music, a ‘canon’ refers to the technique of imitative counterpoint—that is, a sound that is at once inter- and in- dependent. It is a way of exploring existence—and expressions of it—from a complex grid, made up of crosshatchings and inter-weavings that are at once singular and part of a larger whole. The ambiguity of such an expansive position, underscored in the connection Young makes between state apparatuses (LRAD, for instance, and the police who deploy it) and the art world, is punctuated further with razor-sharp ambiguity in the so-called Zoom Pavilion by Rafael Lozano-Hemmer and Krzysztof Wodiczko. Presented at Unlimited with Carroll / Fletcher, the work consisted of a room in which the faces and scenes captured from within the exhibition space were projected from the lenses of 12 surveillance cameras. To this end, though curator Jetzer made a concerted effort to create a truly global frame, there remained a sense of unease when it came to thinking about the supposed globalism of the art world, and who gets to define it.

Image: Sadie Benning at Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects, Features, Art Basel 2016. © Art Basel.

This blended—and inescapably contradictory—complexity seeped into Art Basel’s Hall 2, where some 286 galleries from 33 countries presented works by a cumulative number of more than 4000 artists. At Features, 32 galleries offered a series curatorial projects, many of which with historical leanings, from Sarah Benning at Susanne Vielmetter, Jannis Kounellis at Luxembourg & Dayan and Mira Schendel at Bergamin & Gomide, to Braco Dimitrijevic at espaivisor—an artist who last showed at Art Basel during the fair’s inaugural edition in 1970. Balancing out Features’ history-heavy showings was Statements, in which 18 galleries introduced an exciting crop of young artists in solo booths, from Sara Cwynar (with Foxy Production) and Lantian Xie (with Grey Noise), to Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme (with Carroll / Fletcher), and Piotr Łakomy (with Stereo).

Image: Piotr Lakomy at Galeria Stereo, Statements, Art Basel 2016. © Art Basel.

As always, Hall 2’s first floor was reserved for the blue chip galleries dealing in the kind of names one would expect to see in the two environments created for Unlimited that spoke specifically to the market context: Hans Op De Beeck’s creation of an ashen Collector’s House, and Elmgreen and Dragset’s Secondary, which saw two auction lecterns placed on either side of block of chairs arranged in rows, the recordings of auctions playing from each. Among this global spread were staples of canonical art history, including a breadth of Fontana works, from canvases to ceramics, to some choice Basquiats (including one commemorating the Chinese year of the boar). There were canvases by Robert Mangold at Pace and The Mayor Gallery, a 1997 example of Kusama on canvas at Greta Meert, a fantastic collection of works by artists including Jean Arp, Sonia Delaunay, Francis Picabia, and Man Ray at Natalie Seroussi, and a focus on ZERO artists in a number of spaces, including Galerie Thomas, who also showed some beautiful Peter Halley works on paper. Meanwhile, James Cohan offered some remarkable plastic panels created in the 1960s by Robert Smithson; Landau Fine Art featured Chun Kwan Hung’s abstract surfaces created from Korean mulberry paper wrapped around block shapes; and Kukje and Tina Kim Gallery offered an excellent selection from the Dansaekhwa movement.

Image: Installation view, Tina Kim and Kukje Gallery at Art Basel 2016. Photo: © Timothée Chambovet & Ocula.

Across the main Galleries sector, there was a trend for a kind of blended curatorial, which offered both a balanced scope of practices from around the world, as well as a mix of abstract works and more overt, political gestures. At Galerie Lelong, abstract pieces by Zilia Sánchez and Hélio Oiticia were presented next to two lightboxes by Alfredo Jaar capturing interventions the artist staged in New York’s Times Square, A Logo for America (1987–2014) (2016), in which ‘THIS IS NOT AMERICA’ is written over the image of North America in one image, and ‘AMERICA’ is written over the entire Americas (North, South, and Central). Meanwhile, at Mehdi Chouakri, a cross-eyed portrait of Karl Marx by Hans-Peter Feldmann stood out amidst abstract works by artists including Charlotte Posenenske, John M. Armleder, and Gerold Miller, not to mention a haunting installation featuring Japanese lanterns by Saâdane Afif. More Feldmann was on view over at Galerie Hans Mayer, where a cross-eyed portrait of Lenin added to the many historical faces that were being remembered throughout the fair floor. These included Indian ink portraits of Fanon and Patrice Lumumba by William Kentridge, showing at Goodman Gallery, and brightly coloured busts of such figures as Simon Hawking, Yuri Gagarin, Nicolaus Copernicus and Isaac Newton fastened to the ends of long metal rods arranged into various configurations as part of the “International Institute of Intellectual Cooperation” by Goshka Macuga, showing at both Andrew Kreps and Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle (the former also showing Andrea Bowers and Hito Steyerl, among others).

Image: Installation view, Galerie Lelong at Art Basel 2016. Photo: © Timothée Chambovet & Ocula.

In all, walking through Art Basel 2016 felt like—to borrow the words of a Lawrence Weiner presented at MAI 36 Galerie—being ‘between; and ‘beneath’ a ‘resolved mass’, in which a kind of emerging globalism has taken firm root. That is, visual languages appear to be coming together, intermingling, and developing in tandem. This was most evident in some of art history’s most common tropes, such as the colour spectrum a la Gerhard Richter’s colour panels of the 60s and 70s, or Ellsworth Kelly’s Spectrum Colors Arranged by Chance 1 from 1951. Damien Hirst showed Spectrum (Oil Paints, Studio Colours) (2015), at White Cube: a canvas of various colours that recalled Henryk Stazewski’s Relief No.30 from 1969, presented at Starmach (a small canvas presented a colour spectrum divided five by five), and Manuel Espinosa’s Los ciclopes, la taberna de Barney Kiernan from 1977—a black canvas offering a similar colour spectrum to Stazewski’s relief. Bringing the notion of colour blocking into the present was Colour Test (182) (2015) by Spencer Finch showing at Stephen Friedman: an LED lightbox that presented blocks of colour transparencies overlapping; as well as Zheng Guogu’s Fortune No. 9 (2009) showing at Chantal Crousel, in which colour blocking was re-mixed into a mass of brightly-coloured text scrawled over in oil paint over black silk. (Funnily, the use of colour against a dark backdrop was invoked in Nathalie Djurberg and Hans Berg’s characteristically sinister—yet colourful—installation at Giò Marconi).

Image: Installation view, Stephen Friedman at Art Basel 2016. Photo: © Timothée Chambovet & Ocula.

Yet, despite the quality of the works on show in both halls, it was the exhibition that took place outside of the Messeplatz that offered the real experience of the year. Parcours, this year curated by Samuel Leuenberger, offered a meticulously planned route from the Wettstein to Mittlere Bridge. Nineteen site-specific installations included entry into the garden of a stately home on Rittergasse, where Alberto Garutti presented a series of benches on which sculptures of various dogs rested, modelled after those that belong to the families of Trivero, and the perfect installation of Bernar Venet’s cluster of large steel curves—Effondrement:Arcs (2015)—in the courtyard of Ramsteinerhof, Rittergasse 17. Walking the Parcours route, Leuenberger’s knowledge of Basel—he is the curator of SALTS at Birsfelden—as well as his affection for the city, became palpable in the precision of each work’s placement. This included the installation of an outdoor toilet by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov—what felt like a ruse to draw visitors down the stairs from Münsterplatz in order to walk along the rushing river that defines so much of Basel’s character, and to connect with the city beyond the confines of Art Basel itself.

Image: Bernar Venet at Parcours, Art Basel 2016. Courtesy von Bartha. © Art Basel.

Of course, when it came to thinking about the world beyond the fair, and indeed, beyond the city and its location, Alfredo Jaar offered a clear link, both as part of the conversations programme and Parcours, for which Jaar distributed ‘gifts’ to whomever crossed the paths of those carrying blue cardboard boxes in large sacks. These boxes were offered to passersby as a gift, with instructions to turn them inside out in order to reveal a message inside—a link to make a donation to the Migrant Offshore Aid Station. The address is: http://www.moas.eu/donate. —[O]

Art Basel 2016

Art Basel puts photography in the frame

Wolfgang Tillmans to get Beyeler’s first show of photos, as collectors buy major works at the fair

by Julia Halperin  |  16 June 2016
Art Basel puts photography in the frame

Cindy Sherman’s exhibition opened at the Broad in Los Angeles at the weekend, making her the first artist to get a solo show in the new museum. Her works dominate Metro Pictures’ stand at the fair. Photo: David Owens
Move over painting and sculpture: the definition of blue-chip is expanding. As the International Center of Photography prepares to reopen in New York next week and the new Pritzker Center for Photography at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art welcomes its first visitors, dealers at Art Basel are dedicating extensive (and expensive) wall space to photography, which is being embraced by a new generation of collectors.

Meanwhile, the Fondation Beyeler in Riehen, near Basel, is planning its first major solo show dedicated to a photographer. We have learned that an exhibition of works by Wolfgang Tillmans is due to open next year (27 May-1 October 2017). At the fair, his inkjet prints sold at Maureen Paley for $180,000 (Greifbar 29, 2014) and David Zwirner for $80,000 (mid-air flap movement, 2013).

“Photography is part of the family; it’s at the table alongside painting and sculpture,” says Andreas Gegner of Sprüth Magers. The medium has prices to match. The gallery sold a print by Andreas Gursky (Aletschgletscher, 1993) for €450,000 and a work by Cindy Sherman (Untitled #108, 1982) for $250,000.

Not so long ago, photography was considered niche. “In my lifetime, it wasn’t even allowed to be exhibited at Art Basel,” says Genevieve Janvrin, Phillips’ head of photographs, Europe. Photography dealers were marooned in a dedicated section of the fair until 2002.

The line between photography and contemporary art began to blur well before the market acknowledged it, says Eva Respini, the chief curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston. From the 1960s, Bernd and Hilla Becher—whose images are on show with Fraenkel Gallery and Kicken Gallery—influenced a younger generation to look beyond the history of photography for inspiration, while technological advancements enabled artists to create works on the same huge scale as their painter peers.

Although the market for photography took off in the 1990s, the medium still offers a chance to get a brand name for less. “People come in and buy a $35,000 photo and say, ‘We got off easy today,’” says the dealer Edwynn Houk. The most expensive photograph sold at auction last year (a film still by Sherman) made nearly $3m, but 85% of photographs sold for less than $10,000 in 2015, according to Artprice’s annual report.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, many are keen to cultivate photography’s crossover potential. “There are artists who are included in photography sales and contemporary sales, but most artists we know would prefer to be in the contemporary art sale,” says Robert Goff of David Zwirner. This autumn, the gallery will present large-scale prints by William Eggleston, who joined its roster earlier this month.

Even so, “there is still a bias towards painting because it has a much longer history”, says the art advisor Todd Levin, the director of the Levin Art Group. “If you are looking at an exceptional painting and an equally exceptional photograph, the painting is going to outperform.”

See the major photo shows, buy the works in Basel

László Moholy-Nagy, Die Schlemmer-Kinder (1926). Image: Galerie Berinson, Berlin

László Moholy-Nagy, Die Schlemmer-Kinder (1926). Image: Galerie Berinson, Berlin

László Moholy-Nagy, Die Schlemmer-Kinder (1926)

This vintage print at Galerie Berinson (€450,000) is unusually large for Moholy-Nagy, whose survey is on show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (until 7 September).

Wolfgang Tillmans, New York Installation, PCR, 525 (2015). Photo: Courtesy David Zwirner, New York/London

Wolfgang Tillmans, New York Installation, PCR, 525 (2015)

Tillmans, who will have solo shows at Tate Modern (15 February-11 June) and the Fondation Beyeler next year, takes over a room in Unlimited with an installation featuring portraits of activists from around the world ($1.2m, presented by David Zwirner).

Stephen Shore, Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, July 13, 1974 (1974).  Stephen Shore: Uncommon Places, The Complete Works, (New York: Aperture, 2004).

Stephen Shore, Holden Street, North Adams, Massachusetts, July 13, 1974 (1974)

New York’s Museum of Modern Art is planning an exhibition of work by the early adopter of colour photography, who also has a retrospective at the Huis Marseille in Amsterdam (until 4 September). An example from his Uncommon Places series is at Edwynn Houk ($40,000).

Diane Arbus, Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey (1967). Photo: David Owens

Diane Arbus, Identical Twins, Roselle, New Jersey (1967). Photo: David Owens

Diane Arbus, Identical Twins, Roselle, N.J. (1966)

Ahead of a presentation of early works by the US photographer at the Met Breuer in New York (12 July-27 November), Fraenkel Gallery sold this prime example ($575,000). “When you say Arbus, you think twins,” says the gallery’s Frish Brandt.

ARTSPACE

Art Fairs

10 of the Best Artworks at Art Basel 2016

By Andrew M. Goldstein

June 15, 2016

10 of the Best Artworks at Art Basel 2016

A view of Art Basel 2016

This year’s edition of Art Basel is, on the whole, not a place to find something you didn’t already know—go to LISTE for that. Instead, it’s best approached as a repository for new quirks in the accepted canon, little progressions of the art-market battleships to the left or the right. Here are some works that stood out in the vernissage, with a focus on the fair’s more contemporary second floor.

 

ROBERT LONGO
Untitled (Wall of Ice) (2016)
Galerie Hans Mayer (Düsseldorf)
Around €400,000

ROBERT LONGO Untitled (Wall of Ice) 2016 Galerie Hans Mayer (Düsseldorf) at Art Basel

For the last decade or so, Robert Longo has been synonymous with his dark, brooding, chiaroscuro-heavy large-scale drawings of epic imagery—shark attacks, terrorist incidents, mushroom clouds—all at the point of culmination. Now, with this latest body of work, Longo seems to be stepping into the light. Inspired by a trip to Iceberg Alley in Newfoundland, these grand charcoal drawings of sheer cliffs of ice are like the photo negatives of his darker works, and also recall the photography of artists like Sebastião Salgado and Thomas Ruff. On display at Art Basel, the series was debuted at the much-in-demand artist’s recent show at Thaddaeus Ropac Galerie in Paris and will be included in his upcoming show at the Garage in Moscow.

CADY NOLAND
Push Papers (1986)
Luhring Augustine (New York) 
$425,000

CADY NOLAND Push Papers (1986) at Luhring Augustine (New York) at Art Basel

This is the moment for Cady Noland. An artist who for decades has been examining the ugly gunk on the bottom of the American Dream, Noland makes work that captures the anger, the pathos, the desperation, the violence, and above all the scary, fascistic tendencies of the country’s white underclass. Look at this 1986 piece, and all the cues are there: the fetishistic tools of authority, from the badge to the cuffs to the life-altering pencil, and the copy of Guns & Ammo, with a schlubby man in glasses relishing the power of a gun on the cover and the magazine opened to an article boasting that “this highly accurate and reliable assault rifle represents real ‘state-of-the-art’ among military hardware.” It’s Trump Nation she’s talking about here, 20 years ago.

DAVID HOCKNEY
Untitled No. 7 from the “Yosemite Suite” (2010)
Annely Juda Fine Art (London)
£20,000

DAVID HOCKNEY Untitled No. 7 From the Yosemite Suite (2010) at Annely Juda Fine Art (London) at Art Basel

It’s been three years since David Hockney debuted his iPad paintings, and it’s worth savoring these marvels every time they make an appearance. Hockney is 78—a youthful 78, but still—and he stands as the paragon of a historical kind of painting, one that goes back through the Modern era to the Impressionists to Gainsborough and Corot to Rembrandt. For him to be the one to accept the iPad (and its digital ilk) as the successor of the plein-air palette has a certain symbolic heft, a bit like when Degas picked up the camera. Interestingly, Hockney started out making art on his iPhone, embracing the clumsy limits of the drawing program as not a bug but a feature, but now uses it primarily as a sketching tool while the iPad serves as his painting canvas. This series, the “Yosemite Suite,” will go on view in full at Annely Juda’s London space on June 28th.

CINDY SHERMAN
Untitled (2016)
Metro Pictures (New York)
$300,000

CINDY SHERMAN Untitled (2016) at Metro Pictures (New York) at Art Basel

In her 2008 “Society Portraits” series, Cindy Sherman took an arch view of the artificially preserved patronesses of the upper class—a milieu she knows well from her collectors—and caught some flack for her portrayal of them as pure vessels of vanity. Too cold, too mean, too unsympathetic. Her latest series, shown in its tender glory at Art Basel, is a corrective: again portraits of women of a certain age, these lived-in portrayals are not satires but celebrations, showing beautiful women whose lined faces tell of struggles and laughter, and whose postures are not brittle but calmly self-assured. Based on publicity stills of 1920s actresses like Louise Brooks where the artist has run the age clock forward, the photographs are most telling as candid portraits of the artist herself, particularly this one set against the backdrop of Sherman’s own backyard in her Long Island home.

LUZIA HÜRZELER
Self-Portriat for the Cat (2006) and Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (2016)
Galerie Gisèle Linder (Basel) 
5,500 CHF for the video, 13,000 CHF for the cat

LUZIA HÜRZELER Self-Portriat for the Cat (2006) at Galerie Gisèle Linder (Basel) at Art BaselLUZIA HÜRZELER Let Sleeping Dogs Lie (2016) at Galerie Gisèle Linder (Basel) at Art Basel

Ten years ago, the Swiss artist Luzia Hürzeler made a sculpture of her head out of cat food and filmed her cherished cat as it licked away at her face, eventually munching off her nose. She called the video—which of course suggests a more animal-involved version of Janine Antoni’s 1993 Lick and Lather—Self-Portrait for the Cat, which is a double-entendre because of the German slang term where to do something “for the cat” means to do it for no good reason whatsoever. This year, the cat died, so Hürzeler had it taxidermied to display her pet at the fair next to its artistic claim to fame. The video comes in several editions, a gallerist helpfully explained, but its accompaniment “is an edition of only one, because this is the cat.” Art is a many-feathered thing.

KATHRYN ANDREWS
Labor Day (2016)
David Kordansky Gallery (Los Angeles)
$75,000

KATHRYN ANDREWS Labor Day (2016) David Kordansky Gallery (2016) at Art Basel

After driving again and again past billboards of provocatively posed American Apparel models hawking skimpy undergarments, the Los Angeles artist Kathryn Andrews hired the same models and took them to her studio. She gave them each garments of her own design and asked them to pose individually with oversized cardboard tools, then printed these images and displayed them underneath replicas of the front doors to American Apparel stores. The result is dripping with indignation: young women wearing ridiculously phallic cartoons while posing sexily with symbols of their own capacity as tools for Dov Charney’s notoriously misogynistic corporate brainchild, imprisoned within the store’s commercial setting. Eight of these ripostes were made in total, and they’re far more effective than a simple angry honk on the car horn while driving past an ad.

PIERRE KLOSSOWSKI
Diane & Acteon (1990)
Cabinet (London) 
£250,000

PIERRE KLOSSOWSKI Diane & Acteon (1990) at Cabinet (London) at Art Basel

The older brother of the artist Balthus, Pierre Klossowski is known primarily as the author of such philosophical texts the La Monnaie vivante and Nietzsche and the Vicious Circle, which were major influences on the work of Foucault and Deleuze and Guattari. He was also a collaborator of Surrealist paragon George Bataille, and a lifelong draughtsman who worked out many of his literary concepts, and the themes for his fiction writing, as large-scale drawings that he would then describe in print.

Later in his life, he met a fabricator who was able to transform his art into three dimensions in resin and wood, and this monumental work—of a sculpture joined with the backdrop of a painting—brings to life a particularly twisted telling of Ovid’s myth of Diana and Actaeon. Here, the rapacious hunter is becoming a stag just as he grapples for the virginal forest goddess, licking her armpit with his cervine tongue while one of his dogs licks at Diana’s genitals and another bites at his ankle, preparing to devour his ensorcelled master. Taking plentiful cues from Bernini’s Apollo and Daphne, the work has the psychological layers, muted palette, and relished perversity of one of the artist’s brother’s paintings.

PAWEŁ ALTHAMER
Seated sculpture (2016)
neugerriemschneider (Berlin) 
Low six figures

PAWEŁ ALTHAMER Seated sculpture 2016 at neugerriemschneider (Berlin) at Art Basel

Celebrated for his gloopy Venetians installation at the 2014 Venice Biennale, featuring portraits of that island city’s denizens made from extruded gray plastic, Paweł Althamer is best when he places his plausibly lifelike creations in theatrical settings, like life-sized dioramas of humanity. This sculpture arises from one of those environments, a recent installation at neugerriemschneider’s Berlin gallery that placed this self-portrait of the artist—sitting cross-legged while carving a sculpture of his mother from a piece of wood—in an ancient mise-en-scène of mud, vegetation, and live birds, like some squalid, smelly patch of prehistory. Fabricated from plaster in the Pergamon Museum, which is famed for its stellar collection of antiquities from the Near East, the sculpture’s ancient affect is undercut by the contemporary tattoos the artist burnt into his ersatz body.

ALLISON KATZ
Irish Cock (2016)  
The Approach (London) 
Around £19,000 

ALLISON KATZ Irish Cock (2016) at The Approach (London) at Art Basel

Living in London for the past several years, the American painter Allison Katz has gained an enthusiastic following among collectors, curators, and critics alike for her fresh and exuberant paintings of all manner of things, but especially for her irresistible portraits of monkeys and birds. The paintings tend to express personal themes from the artist’s life, though not in an overt way, and the viewer does not need to know that Katz recently got married to appreciate this heroic, vivacious view of an Irish Cock showered with handfuls of real rice. (Previous paintings in the series have featured rice as well.) Katz will have her next solo show with The Approach in September, so watch out for it.

WADE GUYTON
Untitled (2016)
Petzel (New York)
$600,000

WADE GUYTON Untitled (2016) at Petzel (New York) at Art Basel

In 2014, Wade Guyton used Art Basel as the staging ground to launch a retaliatory salvo against Christie’s following its sale of one of his fire paintings for $6 million—a price the artist thought smacked of pure speculative frenzy—by giving an identical painting to each of his five dealers at the fair, New York’s Friedrich Petzel, Cologne’s Galerie Gisela Capitain, Milan’s Gió Marconi, Paris’s Galerie Chantal Crousel, and Zürich’s Galerie Francesca Pia. Revenge, if you can call it that, was sweet: each sold the $350,000 painting in the early hours of the vernissage.

Guyton evidently enjoyed that, because he’s done it again this year, and then some: each of his dealers has come to the fair with a brand-new oversize piece from a new series that he made, this one an inkjet print of a photo he took of the floor of his Brooklyn studio, showimg his foot in the lower left and patches of blue tape throughout. Recalling both Jasper Johns and Gustave Caillebotte’s The Floor Planers, the piece—at nearly twice the size and price as last time—is actually a diptych, since the printer couldn’t do the whole width in one go, and the series will go on view in Dijon later this year.

BONUS:

SARA CWYNAR
Soft Film (2016)
Foxy Productions (New York)
$15,000

ARTNEWSPAPER LONDON
Special reports

Art Basel’s Unlimited section is one big party

Curator Gianni Jetzer says that organising the show is like party planning—and with a record 88 works this year, he has pulled out all the stops

by Julia Michalska  |  15 June 2016
Art Basel's Unlimited section is one big party

A detail from Mithu Sen’s MOU (Museum of Unbelongings) (2016). Photo: David Owens
Unlimited curator Gianni Jetzer. Photo courtesy of Stefan Holenstein

Unlimited curator Gianni Jetzer. Photo courtesy of Stefan Holenstein

“It’s like organising a birthday party,” says Gianni Jetzer of overseeing Unlimited (until 19 June), Art Basel’s special section dedicated to large-scale installations. “The cake is the foundation, but as the curator, I have to add the icing, the candles, the cherries and some music to celebrate.” Jetzer, who is also curator-at-large at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, DC, has brought together a record 88 works for Unlimited in this, his fifth year, including four performance pieces. “Performance art is part of the 21st-century museum,” Jetzer says. “It addresses the public in a completely different and more direct way.” Amid his party planning, Jetzer tells us about six key works.

Davide Balula, Mimed Sculptures (2016). Photo: David Owens

Davide Balula, Mimed Sculptures (2016)

“Around 20% of the works in Unlimited are new productions and this is one of them. There are seven ‘sculptures’ on show—by artists including Henry Moore, David Smith and Louise Bourgeois—but they’re invisible as long as they’re not activated by the hands of mimes. The work draws on the theories of two art historians: Herbert Read and Clement Greenberg. The artist did a huge casting for the mimes, and there was lots of training involved. They are dressed in white and wear pink gloves, which really emphasises their hands. The market for performances is still quite difficult: production is costly and prices are still very reasonable.”

• Galerie Frank Elbaz (Paris) and Gagosian Gallery (Paris)

Mithu Sen, MOU (Museum of Unbelongings) (2016). Photo: David Owens

Mithu Sen, MOU (Museum of Unbelongings) (2016)

“There are three female Indian contemporary artists in the show this year. This work is comprised of [Mithu Sen’s] collection of fetishes, curios and souvenirs, much in the tradition of the cabinet of curiosities. Basel has beautiful cabinets of curiosities because it has such an old university and has a long history of collecting. In India, the artist was unable to show this work in its entirety because of its allusions to homosexuality, religion, mixed marriage and all kinds of matters that are impossible to speak about publicly. When she had an offer to show a redacted version, she turned the curator down, saying that it would be like cutting off one of her arms. This work is an exhibition within an exhibition, almost like a Russian doll.”

Chemould Prescott Road (Mumbai), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna) and Galerie Nathalie Obadia (Paris)

Chelpa Ferro, Jungle Jam (2010). Photo: David Owens

Chelpa Ferro, Jungle Jam (2010)

“This Brazilian collective, made up of three men, often works with musical compositions. Here, they are using blenders, ordinary household items that are reconfigured as musical instruments. Each one is attached to a MIDI controller, a digital steering device that activates the blenders. The work is like an orchestra of plastic bags and the MIDI controller is the invisible conductor. The plastic bags are from various stores, most of them Brazilian but some European. Chelpa Ferro have not had many museum shows in Europe, so it’s great that they’re included this year, as so many international curators come to Unlimited. It’s really exciting to work with artists who are still relatively unknown.”

• Sprovieri (London)

Hans Op de Beeck, The Collector’s House (2016). Photo: David Owens

Hans Op de Beeck, The Collector’s House (2016)

“[The Belgian artist] Hans Op de Beeck is a regular at Unlimited. This year’s work is brand new and is having its premiere here. It’s a re-creation of a collector’s house in an almost Stanley Kubrick way; everything is intensified and over the top, like the pond in the middle of the living room. The work reflects the neo-bourgeois culture that comes with collecting. On the other hand, it looks almost like a 21st-century Pompeii, as if an ash rain has come down on this home and frozen it for eternity. Time and colour have been sucked out.”

•Marianne Boesky Gallery (New York), Galleria Continua (San Gimignano), Galerie Krinzinger (Vienna)

Koji Enokura, Untitled No. 11, 12, 13 and 14 (1978). Photo: David Owens

Koji Enokura, Untitled No. 11, 12, 13 and 14 (1978)

“[Koji Enokura] is relatively unknown, but I think he’s very important; I’ve always loved his work. This particular piece was created for the Japanese pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 1978. He uses a wooden plank that has been dipped in used oil to produce the images on the four canvases. He omits the frame and just hangs the fabric directly on the wall, showing all the irregularities, the staining and the creases. The leaning wooden panel has a long art-historical tradition. It builds a bridge between the floor and the wall, between three-dimensional and two-dimensional space. This work has more to do with reduction than accumulation. Unlimited is itself an accumulation of works by 88 artists, but this work creates an oasis in which you can almost refresh your mind.”

• Taka Ishii Gallery (Tokyo)

Elmgreen & Dragset, Secondary (2015). Photo: David Owens

Elmgreen & Dragset, Secondary (2015)

“This piece shows a mirrored auction room with two auctioneers bidding in parallel. It is titled Secondary, which is a reference to the secondary art market. Auctions have become a form of entertainment; there’s an excitement around them. They have a formula that pops up in movies and novels; everybody knows what it feels like to be in an auction. But, like in Hans Op de Beeck’s work, all the colours and imagery have been left out, which in turn triggers the images that we have stored in our mind. At a time when auction records keep being broken, this work seems very timely. It also addresses the relationship between secondary and primary. Unlimited is a platform for sales, but it’s a primary one—so here the secondary is infiltrating the primary.”

• Galería Helga de Alvear (Madrid)

Lucy McKenzie, Lina Mouton (2016). Photo: David Owens

Lucy McKenzie, Lina Mouton (2016)

“Lucy McKenzie is a Scottish artist who went to a decorative painting school in Brussels, the Ecole Van Der Kelen, to learn how to paint faux wood and marble, so this technique forms a large part of her work. Here, she turns the furniture, which is all hand-painted, into a three-dimensional canvas. It’s kind of Lucy’s take on Richard Artschwager, showing the tension between representation and decoration, 2D and 3D. It also reminds me of Claes Oldenburg’s Bedroom Ensemble from the 1960s. There is no personal element in this work; she has removed the bedding and the linen. It has also been created especially for Unlimited.

Galerie Buchholz (Berlin) and Cabinet (London)

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