Now in its twenty-seventh edition and firmly established as the leading event in the crowded field of modern and contemporary art fairs, the Basel Art Fair (12-17 June, preview 11 June) is still capable of springing surprises. On this occasion, it is the invention of List 96: The Young Art Fair (12-16 June, preview 11 June), a new development which is expected to be the focus of considerable attention. Although it is independent of the main attraction, it has been launched in a spirit of cooperation rather than rivalry.
The Young Art Fair will be held in the former Warteck brewery building, within walking distance of Messe Basel and the city’s museums, and will feature thirty-six dealers specialising in younger contemporary art. They have joined forces for economic reasons. At Messe Basel, the smallest booth, a module of sixty square metres, costs nearly SFr 18,000. Even the charges for the Statements section, which has been devised to accommodate galleries with a smaller budget, on condition that they mount a monographic exhibition of a single artist’s work, are SFr 9,000. By contrast, The Young Art Fair is offering perfectly decent booths of thirty square metres for SFr 3,500.
It is a ploy which has attracted an interesting list of participants. There are five British galleries: Stephen Friedman, Laure Genillard, Maureen Paley’s Interim Art, Robert Prime, and Karsten Schubert. The American presence will include Tanya Bonakdar, CRG, Jack Hanley, Morris-Healey and Jack Tilton. Other dealers are coming from Amsterdam, Antwerp, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Milan, Berlin and Stuttgart, as well as Lucerne and Zurich.
The official fair operates on an altogether grander scale and features no less than 250 galleries. With an application list of roughly twice that number, the Exhibitors’ Admission Board, which comprises a representative for each of the twenty countries sending participants to Messe Basel, can afford to exercise stringency in making its selection.
The leading names will be present in numbers unmatched at any rival event: Lucio Amelio (Italy); Juana de Aizpuru (Spain); Jean Bernier (Athens); Beyeler, Bischofberger (Switzerland); Anthony d’Offay, Frith Street Gallery, Lisson, Marlborough, Waddington, White Cube (London); Durrand-Dessert, Galerie de France, Ghislaine Hussenot, Laage-Solomon, Yvon Lambert (Paris); Franck & Schulte (Berlin); Gmurzynska, Karsten Greve (Cologne): Bernd Klüser (Munich); Thaddaeus Ropac (Salzburg); Peter Blum, C&M Arts, Marion Goodman, Pace Wildenstein, Sperone Westwater (New York); and Laura Carpenter (Santa Fe). Prominent new participants include Thomas Ammann, Lawrence Rubin (Switzerland); and Richard Feigen (New York). There are special sections for photography, hosting nineteen dealers, and for editions and other publications, with eighteen participants.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Bargain basement Basel'