Art Basel is known for many things: seven-figure-sum paintings, veal sausages and VIP lounges galore. But genuinely cool spots for young trendy art world types, perhaps less so. Remedying that is the new Basel Social Club, which has temporarily taken over an abandoned villa in the city’s south-east to host a series of parties and performances. What’s more, 32 galleries—from Art Basel exhibitors such as Sadie Coles to smaller project spaces—are also showing work there, turning the space into a mini art fair (except with tacos, a gin bar and a pool). Raucous revellers at the space’s lively opening yesterday were spotted soaking up the sun and admiring works by emerging artists—with not a bratwurst in sight.
Even before the first glass of Ruinart had been poured, VIPs were seen to be spilling out across Basel with post-Covid zeal. The Los Angeles dealer Jeffrey Deitch was spotted jogging along the Rhine, breathlessly praising the river running route to be the “best in Europe!” Meanwhile the Swiss artist Sylvie Fleury was hanging out underneath a number of her works on show in the UBS Collectors Lounge, wearing a double denim ensemble and holding a handbag emblazoned with her initials. And finally, we saw Basel native and tennis pro Roger Federer admiring works on Gagosian’s stand on the “First Choice” opening day. The Swiss national treasure is a fair regular and his return is as good a sign as any that nature is healing. Basel is truly back, baby.
It’s no secret that Art Basel’s new forthcoming Paris+ fair has ruffled some French art world feathers after it ousted Fiac from its long-time slot at the Grand Palais. Now rumours abound that it has also, inadvertently, set itself in opposition to a new contemporary art and design fair that will launch in July called BAD+. Despite being in no way connected, the name does bear resemblance to that of MCH’s new Paris event. One of the Bordeaux fair’s team says that its brand was established before Art Basel’s announcement in December, but that it has no plans to claim ownership of the name. Something tells us we know who would win that battle…
It might not be his usual (literal) shit, but fans of canned pieces by the Italian conceptualist Piero Manzoni should head to Michael Werner’s booth. One of his Linea works—for which he drew a continuous line on a single length of paper before rolling it up inside an opaque vessel—is on sale for a compact $6.5m. At 1,140m long, Linea m.1140 (1961) is the second-longest of these works in existence after the one at Denmark’s Herning Museum of Contemporary Art. Held in a private collection for the past 30 years, it is “one of the most intact from the series”, a gallery spokesperson says—so much so that when the Museum of Modern Art in New York restored its own Linea, it used this work as a reference.