Art created in response to Aids crisis resonates at Art Basel
June 12, 2024
A bucolic Basel Social Club adds a new layer to the art fair model
June 12, 2024
Art created in response to Aids crisis resonates at Art Basel
June 12, 2024
A bucolic Basel Social Club adds a new layer to the art fair model
June 12, 2024

Meet the next Swiss Eurovision entry

As Basel week winds down, you can guarantee that the art world will let off steam by singing their hearts out during a raucous karaoke session. And so it came to pass that luminaries descended on the Hotel Merian on the Rhine for a Parcours singalong event hosted by Wendy’s Wok World (an alter ego of Sam Lui). Wendy is famous for her pop-up wok nights but in Basel her wondrous cooking was replaced by three speciality cocktails and a group karaoke session featuring songs that contain the words and phrases of her “guiding principles”, such as “control”, “strive” and “restraint”. The Parcours curator Stefanie Hessler took to the mic like a duck to water, belting out mega hits by Kanye West and Queen. “I’m so bad at the singing!” she told The Art Newspaper. It looked to us like she was a natural-born chanteuse.

Charlie (left) remained tight-lipped on whether he favours Pop art over Minimalism

Fairgoer hoofs it round the Messeplatz

A donkey was seen wandering around Agnes Denes’s wheatfields installation on the Messeplatz, drawing “oohs” and “aahs” from jaded fairgoers clustered on the square. The donkey is a therapy animal called Charlie who often visits hospitals (more “aaahs”), said his owner, who described himself as an economics teacher from Germany. “Charlie loves the green [fields] here and knows he should not eat it because it’s art,” he said. It is unclear whether donkey or owner popped into the fair to see more art.

Russell Tovey (left) and Shai Baitel are co-curating a new David Hockney show

Curator Tovey to make a big splash?

The actor and podcast supremo Russell Tovey was in town this week plugging a major David Hockney exhibition due to open at Shanghai’s Modern Art Museum (Mam) next week (19 June-10 September). Tovey is co-curating the show—billed as Hockney’s largest ever exhibition of works on paper—with Mam’s artistic director, Shai Baitel. The pair met at the premiere of the TV drama Feud: Capote vs The Swans in New York. But why choose Tovey to curate? “I felt that his eye was very sharp and young,” Baitel says. Tovey chips in: “I want to make an exhibition that is really fun, accessible and non-academic; something that people can immerse themselves in and come out feeling better.” Tovey has not yet been immortalised by the man himself but surely a Hockney painting of the actor is in the offing?

Enrico Marone Cinzano’s Rosa Tank Lamp (2023) is on show at Design Miami/Basel

Cinzano’s lamp tanks—but in a good way

The Italian artist Enrico Marone Cinzano is letting the light in at Design Miami/Basel with a lamp made from some unexpected materials that recall the Second World War. Cinzano is showing the Rosa Tank Lamp (2023)—the clue is in the title of the work, readers—with Friedman Benda gallery as part of a group presentation focused on sculptural design. The lamp incorporates a large slab of pink onyx sourced in Italy, which forms the eye-catching translucent rock base. So, where is the military element? The piece also comprises a hand-painted steel structure encased with recovered tank prisms, illuminated with glittering LED lights. Cinzano outlines his vision online, saying that “marketing gimmicks…make us want what we don’t need”. One day we may indeed all need a tank lamp.

The bard of Basel’s verse could be worse…

An unnamed art adviser is having fun at Art Basel by playing, as she puts it, the “silliest game ever” at an art fair. This puerile pastime involves (quite simply) finding artists that rhyme with their works. “This is the best example ever: Furry Fleury,” she says, pointing out Sylvie Fleury’s fur-trimmed piece at Thaddaeus Ropac gallery (Composition with Blue, Yellow, Red and Black, 2021). “Then there’s Sheila Hicks with her Talking Sticks (2023-24) at Alison Jacques gallery,” says the japester. Finally, no art fair would be complete without a thumping Jeff Koons piece. His Hot Dog (2002) splash at Skarstedt gallery shows an array of balloons (so the rhyming thing rolls on). We said it was silly.

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