Murakami to launch art fair Geisai in Basel next year

The Japanese art festival's new edition will be well placed to offer exposure to emerging stars


The artist and entrepreneur Takashi Murakami is in Basel looking for a location for his Japanese art festival, Geisai, which he intends to launch in the Swiss city next year.

Geisai is a one-day art jamboree which has been held in Tokyo since 2002. It attracts hordes of aspiring artists who pay a few hundred dollars to hire a patch (booth would be too grand a word) to show their art in the vast Tokyo Big Site. They hope to catch the eye of a panel of judges who in the past have included French collector and billionaire owner of Christie’s François Pinault. For Murakami, whose art production company Kaikai Kiki promotes a whole stable of artists, Geisai is a breeding ground for fresh new talent. “The mood at Geisai is rough-and-tumble, but close to 200 new artists have been scouted by galleries or done work following Geisai, and we have created the opportunity for even more to produce and exhibit their work,” Murakami told The Art Newspaper.

Murakami is also launching a scaled-down version of Geisai in Miami Beach this December in a 3,500 sq. ft space at Pulse Miami (in the Soho Studios in the Wynwood District, 6-9 December). Around 30 artists will be chosen by a panel of judges who include Tom Eccles, Director of the Center of Curatorial Studies at Bard College.

Meanwhile the Miami and New York fair Pulse is inaugurating a London edition during Frieze from 11 to 14 October at 5-7 Tavistock Place. The galleries who have already signed up include Max Protetch (New York) and Travesia Cuatro (Madrid). “We already have strong connections with London,” says fair director Helen Allen; the founder of Pulse is Will Ramsay, who also runs the Affordable Art Fair in London and AFA fair in New York.

First appeared in The Art Newspaper Art Basel Daily as 'Murakami to launch Basel fair next year'