Art Basel – the multifaceted universe of art

It all started in a small Swiss town Basel – a city rich in museums and galleries, one of the capitals of contemporary art. It was here, in 1970, that three gallerists, Bayeler, Trudel and Belz founded an international art fair.
At first, they organized major modernist exhibitions in the Basel Modern Museum. Nowadays, Art Basel is held in the Art Capitals of the World, with a market turnover of tens of billions of dollars. But we’ll get to that a little later.

Just imagine, on the first day some 5’300 people visited the fair. Thousands of people came to see the ground-breaking and at the same time bold event of the 70s.
After the many wars and coups, society in 1970 was invigorated and a new, unbridled atmosphere dominated; a sexual revolution, new, audacious avenues of art. Art Basel’s founders took advantage of this: they wanted to attract collectors and enthusiasts to a society rich in time, money and new means of communication.

Has this parallelism survived to this day?
In ten years of exhibitions, popularity has increased several times over. As well as creating a sensation on the 150th anniversary of photography, Art Basel created a great public relations campaign. Sixteen exhibitions dedicated to the history of photography were organised. They were then known all over the world and that made Art Basel a pioneer in the art world.
The 1990s, a time of computer innovation, audacity and extravagance. That’s what makes Art Basel not stand still.
A new direction, Art Film, took over the media space. From that moment on they established their dominance in the world market.
A decade later a grand opening was held in Miami Beach attracting 30,000 guests. Art Basel, having risen to a new level, would create something new and, let’s be frank, wildly unrestrained – Art Unlimited.

Now, on entering the open-air pavilion, the viewer becomes part of the art. An atmosphere of boundless creativity and personal inspiration. A wave of discovery led to the creation of Art Basel Conversation – a special privilege at the fair; guests were able to talk to famous collectors and museum curators, and feel closer to art in a Publick Talk format. It was a clever move on the part of the organizers.
In the 2010s there is the first exhibition in Hong Kong and 20’000 people attend on the first day. A record-breaking 956 contemporary artists and sculptors are involved in the exhibition and they present their vision of art to the astonished visitors.
Art Basel 2023 recently held in Miami Beach, featured artists of our time: Judy Chicago, Jonathas de Andrade, Richard Deacon, Devan Shimoyama, Simon Denny and many more. Contemporary art is an integral part of their work.

Jonathas de Andrade – Brazilian visual artist

What is fairly new to humanity in the 21st century art form?
Emotional expression, extremes, immersion into the problems of different countries, politics, and denial of the past, all these aspects are inherent in contemporary art. Art of the 21st century speaks to us about important issues of the present, engaging in all possible forms of expression. This complex and multi-faceted concept is on full display at Art Basel. Jonathas de Andrade’s work exemplifies this.
For the Brazilian pavilion, the artist created an immersive installation about the body. Popular idiomatic expressions such as: “wooden face”, “eye of the hurricane” or “from guts to heart” served as inspiration for the exhibition “With heart coming out of mouth” . These idioms speak to the personal and collective weaknesses, virtues, attitudes and failures of the Brazilian people.
The exhibition includes photographs, sculptures and videos created especially for the Brazilian pavilion.

Jonathas de Andrade “With the heart coming out of the mouth” 2022

De Andrade’s work, like these expressions, is replete with strange and awkward gestures, sudden jerks and jerks, like wayward puppets or characters from the Theatre of the Absurd.
This one gives us a chance to reflect on present-day problems, to take an interest, to influence the decision, starting with ourselves. A platform that tells and explains, through art, problems, public opinion, politics and as much to solve them. One becomes immersed in the atmosphere and gets an insight into one’s own being, solving conflicts not only inside, but also outside.
On the other hand, art has changed so much that it takes people to extremes and general absurdity.

Jonathas de Andrade “With the heart coming out of the mouth” 2022

In 2012, South Korean artist Miru Kim stripped down to hang out with pigs. Miru is a young Korean-American artist living in New York. In her new project, she explores the similarities between humans and pigs. She visited a number of industrial pig farms to create these photographs.

Miru Kim – Korean-American artist

She managed to speak at the fair without even setting foot on its main stage. Instead she set up shop in a Primary Projects gallery window where she spent exactly 104 hours naked in the company of two pigs she rescued from the slaughterhouse. The hype surrounding I Love Pigs and Pigs Love Me continued for quite some time.

Miru Kim “The pig that therefore I am”

More and more modern art is being detached from aesthetic contemplation. After all, the current state of society cannot enjoy art for art’s sake, pleasure for pleasure’s sake. There are no longer obsolete notions of the past; instead there is the unrestrained new.

Miru Kim “The pig that therefore I am”

Author: Max Khropatyi

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