Art Basel

Harald Szeemann remembered at Art Basel

At a function in honour of the prolific curator, friend Guido Magnaguagno recounted their time together fondly


At the memorial celebration on Wednesday in the Luzern Room for the life of curator Harald Szeemann, his friend of many years, Guido Magnaguagno, made the address. The principal contribution of Szeemann—of making the role of the curator an art form in itself—is well known, said Mr Magnaguagno, and he went on to remember a trip together that gave a more intimate sense of the man. In 1982, he and Mr Magnaguagno were in Berlin, where they passed a “nuit blanche” and then flew to Brussels. As they arrived, one of the airport warehouses was burning merrily: “That’s what it’s like in Belgium—always slightly unusual”, said Szeemann appreciatively. Later, he insisted they drive to Waterloo (site of the defeat of Napoleon by the British) for dinner. On the way back, the taxi turned turtle and finished upside down in a cemetery, reinforcing his earlier comment.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'An upside-down view of existence"