Sunday, June 22, 2014

Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland

My husband, Tim, and the film producer Farley Ziegler were invited to participate in a discussion with Q&A after the European premier of "Tim's Vermeer" during the film festival component of Art Basel.  Art Basel is what I would describe as the World's Fair of art fairs featuring contemporary works of art in all media.  It varied from large installations to paintings to performance art.  Open first to VIP buyers for two days, it opened to the public on Friday, June 20th, and ended on Sunday, June 22nd.  We arrived into Basel late afternoon of the 19th and immediately face-planted in our hotel bed.  I managed to shower and get in my jammies before doing this, but that was it:  no dinner or anything else!  Blam!
This seemed to work pretty well for me because I experience minima jet-lag afterward.
We managed to see most, if not all, the areas and galleries.  Tim discovered the design area, a separate part of the show for furniture design and lighting, and I loved it!  I'm a huge fan of architecture and industrial design so this was really fun to see.
I will share a sampling of the things I saw.  I must admit that it was an odd experience to walk amongst well-known works of art and see price tags next to them when one generally experiences these paintings and sculptures in museum settings!  It made being there seem a bit surreal.  Many well-known paintings and sculptures sold during the show which meant that the art market is alive and well.
Another exciting experience was the installation/performance piece called "14 Rooms".  I was able to see all but one of the rooms.  Tim and I stood in line for well over an hour but the time dwindled to the point where we had to step out of the line and move on with our day.  I concluded that the wait in the line was part of the experience of that particular room!  I believe I had one image of the open-area between the "rooms" that I will share here.  I may separate this post into two parts as I have a lot of images.  We shall see.  Enjoy!

The trip over consisted of changing planes in Chicago, then on to London Heathrow,
then to Basel.  Thunderstorms in the Chicago-area made for a lengthy delay, which then
caused us to miss our connection in London.  We waited in Heathrow for several hours before 
flying on to Basel.  Such are the joys of flying.  You just have to be flexible!

The wait on the ramp in Chicago encouraged me to draw and paint a bit...

Then I was able to watch a gorgeous sunset from the air...for a long time.

We arrived!  After sleeping, we were anxious to wander through the show.

I loved the fact that the "taco truck" in Basel was an airstream!  Also,
loved that the benches were covered in astroturf.

Tired, but happy!

This installation in the "Unlimited" area (meaning unlimited sizes)
really struck me.  I love the effect of reflections on glass through train, plane, and building windows.
It gives a very ethereal, immediate but fleeting, effect.
This installation is by Sabine Hornig, called "Double Transparency".  I love it.

Another, called "High Tide", is very compelling.

The architecture of the convention center buildings is quite unique.
Here is a cone-like opening in the building covered by a cool steel skin.

below is the placard for the Robert Rauschenberg collage, above.

This diptych was enchanting, and created with wrapped thread!

embroidery on paper.

tram riding throughout the city....

The following are images in the central area of the "14 Rooms" installation/performance.
Read about it, and watch a video about the experience, here.
For '14 Rooms', curators Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist invited fourteen international artists to each activate a room, exploring the relationship between space, time, and physicality with an artwork whose "material" is the human being.
Below is an example of what awaited the viewer inside the rooms:
Image taken from the Huffington Post article.
You may watch the video here.


  1. Thread is becoming an "acceptable" art material? Thanks for the introduction to Emil Lukas and Monica Bonvicini - it's interesting to see how thread fits into their work. A quick google finds that Lukas "makes evident every process and part that goes into his work" and Bonvicini is concerned with the gendered nature of the built and building environment and along with this the notion of power. Interesting ... I shall read some more about them ...

  2. Yes, very interesting, indeed. I'm glad you are intrigued by them as much as I was.


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