Everything You Need To Know About Art Basel 2012

by Daniel Reynolds · June 14, 2012

    Called the "Olympics of the art world" by The Daily Telegraph, Art Basel is considered the world's leading contemporary art fair. Each year, nearly 300 international galleries -- chosen from a pool of 1,000 -- flock to the Swiss metropolis to showcase over 2,500 works, including paintings, sculptures, drawings, installations, photographs, videos, and performances. Thus, for a few days each June, Basel becomes a mecca of modern and contemporary art, including works by Picasso, Warhol, Koons, Christo, Hirst, and much more. Now in it's 43rd edition, Art Basel is expecting over 65,000 visitors over the course of this year's fair. Will you be among them? If so, here's a few facts that will help you navigate the weekend.

    [Photo via]

    When: June 14 - 17, 11am-7pm

    Where: Halls 1 and 2 of Messe Basel, Messeplatz, 4005 Basel, Switzerland

    Tickets: CHF40 for one day, CHF70 for two days, CHF20 after 5pm. Reduced passes for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased HERE, or at the fair. The train station also offers a discount transportation package HERE.

    Exchange: 1 Swiss franc (CHF) = 1.0458 US dollars

    Map: Want to familiarize yourself with the floorplan? View the map PDFs HERE.

    Galleries: For the full list of galleries, go HERE. For the full online catalogue of works on display, go HERE.

    [Acquavella Gallery New York at Art Basel, via]

    Sectors: Art Basel is divided into numerous "sectors" that divide exhibitions by type and location. "Art Galleries," for example, is the main gathering of 300 galleries located in Hall 2. You'll most likely want to start there. Hall 1 contains "Art Unlimited," the sector for oversized sculptures and video projection, as well as "Art Statements," one-person stands for emerging artists. There are also sectors for Film, Magazines, and more.

    And some sectors venture outside the Halls. "Art Parcours" presents site-specific artworks and performances in 13 different historical locations in Basel.

    [Photo via]


    -Everyone is buzzing about First Point, a "surfer" film by artist Richard Phillips starring Lindsay Lohan. Also check out Exodus by Jeremy Deller a 3D movie of millions of flying bats. (Art Unlimited, Hall 1)

    -Austrian artist Franz West's "Gekroese." (Art Unlimited)

    -Marlborough Fine Art is exhibiting the fair's most expensive piece: "Untitled 1954," a large abstract painting by Mark Rothko, valued at $78 million.

    -Gerhard Richter's “A.B. Courbet” at New York’s Pace Gallery, valued at $20 million.

    -Reclusive artist Cady Noland hasn't had an exhibition in 10 years. She'll be on display (against her own wishes) at New York’s D’Amelio Gallery, making this a rare, if controversial, opportunity to see one of the world's most talented female artists.

    Events: Here's the general format: Talks are held in the morning and early afternoon, films are screened in the evening, and parties are celebrated at night. For a complete list of events, go HERE.

    Around town: Check out some stellar exhibitions outside the fair, including Jeff Koons at the Beyeler and Renoir at the Kunstmuseum Basel. The City of Basel has an informative website (in English!) with a list of events, and also provides guidance on local restaurants, tours, and other highlights.

    App: The fair offers a free app for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry users that lists detailed information on events and exhibitions. There's even a 3D map that allows users to virtually navigate Basel's halls and view its artwork. Download it HERE.

    Excited yet? So are we! For more information on Art Basel, visit the fair's website HERE.