This summer we had the Venice Biennale (every 2 years), Art Basel (yearly), Documenta (every 5 years) and Sculpture, Munster (every 10 years) and then the well-heeled skip over to London for the big auctions. Maybe its because Basel is the only place out of the 4 exhibitions where works can be bought, but the fair dazzled collectors and critics alike this year, where as the others, and those who curated them, fell short. Have the dealer’s finally gotten the respect they deserve?
Basel used to be a sleepy town, little known next to Zurich (also home to my favorite museum Kunsthaus Zurich). Now, the “Big Fair” is the home, without a doubt, to a selection of the most important art made today. Dealers this year, instead of showing a variety of selections from their gallery’s repertoire, highlighted one artist (usually their blue-chip artist) ensuring high prices and high demand.
Highlights that our DC readers will enjoy included German born artist Katharina Grosse who took traditional Color Field style and twisted it into a 3D installation where stripes on the wall melted into piles of immense weather balloons.
Katharina Grosse’s Atomimage (2007) in “Art Unlimited”
And my favorite (and crowd pleaser) was undoubtedly Paul McCarthy’s rendition of Santa Claus holding a butt plug that may or may not resemble a Christmas Tree. Some have said that the work, an edition of 3, sold for a mere €800,000, but we are guessing they sold for much more. If you too want to explore the power of the free market (also known as Basel 2007), ArtNet has let you in by offering the fair online: www.artbasel-artnet.com