Art fairs

Basel's satellite fairs pull in new dealers and collectors despite economic concerns

The mood at Liste was buoyant, and business at Volta was steady


Basel. In the current straitened economic climate, the challenge for the satellite fairs in Basel this year was to galvanise interest in mid- to lower-priced works, mainly by emerging artists. The mood at Liste, Basel’s self-styled “young art fair”, in its 17th edition (12-17 June), was buoyant as most participants emphasised that the 64-gallery event still provides an entry route into the market for new dealers and collectors. “Swiss collectors aged between 30 and 40 are moving in. The climate is different here; people in Switzerland have more money,” said Anna Bolte of the Zürich gallery BolteLang, where a US collector bought Daniel Gustav Cramer’s sculpture I/vC, 2012, for €6,000. BolteLang participated in Frieze New York in May, along with the Malmö-based Johan Berggren Gallery. “Liste still has an extremely good reputation, attracting many curators. Frieze operates in a different sort of universe,” said Johan Berggren, who was offering three “Flower Table” sets, 2012, by the Canadian artist Allison Katz, each comprising a painting and a table, priced at $10,000 each. Meanwhile, the London-based collector Jason Lee bought a work by Zhou Yilun from the Beijing-based Platform China Gallery; pieces by the Chinese artist ranged in price from €2,000 to €20,000.

Over at Volta (11-16 June) on the outskirts of the city, dealers seemed unperturbed by the slow trickle of visitors. “There may not have been a mad crush but the pace has been steady,” said William Lawrie, the founder of the Dubai-based gallery Lawrie Shabibi. “Several significant collectors from Europe, Asia and elsewhere have passed by.” The gallery sold a large-scale metal sculpture by Shahpour Pouyan, Projectile 7, 2012 (left), priced at around $25,000, to a Turkish collector.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Satellite fairs pull in new dealers and collectors'