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Art Basel in Miami Beach 2019

New art space in Basel will offer free shows

The opening exhibition of the Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger, during next year's Art Basel fair, will focus on Caribbean artists

An archival map of the Caribbean by Adolf Steiler from the Colección Cartográfica del Centro León

A vast new exhibition space located in the heart of Basel will launch next June with an ambitious show of works by contemporary Caribbean artists timed to coincide with the 51st edition of Art Basel. The new venue will be run by Kulturstiftung Basel H. Geiger (KBHG), which aims to draw local and international audiences through a “unique offer of free exhibitions and catalogues”, says its director, Raphael Suter.

The KBHG foundation was established last year by the Swiss philanthropist Sibylle Piermattei Geiger and is named after her paternal grandfather, the pharmaceuticals entrepreneur Hermann Geiger. “We are hoping to bring new perspectives by providing a platform for art that is not otherwise shown in the city,” Suter says.

The Caribbean art show, organised by the Basel-based non-profit Caribbean Art Initiative, throws light on “a little understood and under-appreciated segment of the international art community”, Suter says. The curators Yina Jiménez Suriel and Pablo Guardiola are currently developing the list of artists. Albertine Kopp, the founder of the Caribbean Art Initiative, says that “our aim is to weave Caribbean artists from various parts of the region more deeply into the unfolding narrative about art.”

Long term, a rotating programme of temporary shows will be held in the new space, which is housed in a former factory for fabricating micromotors. “We are spread over one floor of the building in a 500 sq. m space in central Basel with some additional areas in the entrance space and rooftop,” Suter says. The cost of setting up the new space is undisclosed, as are the running costs, which will all be met by the KBHG foundation.

Asked if it will be a challenge to fill the venue year round, Suter adds that “it is a blank canvas and we are excited about the opportunities and flexibility it offers in terms of programming.” He declined to comment on the future programme which will be announced next year.