A New Foundation Is Opening in Basel, Switzerland, This Summer With a Blowout Show of Caribbean Art

The institution's debut exhibition will open during Art Basel, bringing the most exciting art from the region to a new audience.

Adolf Steiler, West Inden (1830). Courtesy of Colección Cartográfica del Centro León.

In June 2020, the city of Basel, Switzerland, will welcome the addition of yet another contemporary art space to its cultural landscape with the opening of the Kulturstiftung Basel H.Geiger (KBHG). 

Due to be unveiled during the week of the Art Basel fair, the new venue—housed in a former factory in the city center—will be overseen by director Raphael Suter, and is being billed as a permanent forum for year-long, temporary exhibitions. To sweeten the deal, all visitors will enjoy free entry and complimentary catalogues.

For its inaugural presentation, KBHG has teamed up with the Caribbean Art Initiative (CAI), a newly-founded independent nonprofit that aims to bring Caribbean art and culture to a global audience. The debut exhibition will be curated by Yina Jiménez Suriel and Pablo Guardiola, who were selected via an open call, and whose participation marks CAI’s first partnership with outside curators. 

Since 2018, Suriel has held a curatorial position at Centro León in the Dominican Republic. Guardiola, who is an artist as well as a curator, co-directs Beta-Local in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Curators Yina Jiménez Suriel, left, and Pablo Guardiola. Courtesy of the Kulturstiftung Basel H.Geiger and Caribbean Art Initiative.

Working in collaboration with CAI’s curatorial advisors, Suriel and Guardiola will organize a group exhibition comprised of new and existing works by yet-to-be-announced artists from across the Caribbean. In particular, the show aims to highlight the contemporary political and geographical changes of the region.

The choice to stage a Carribean-based exhibition in Basel during the world’s most famous art fair is striking; the founders and curators are hoping to engender a conversation about an otherwise overlooked facet of the international art community.

In a statement, Albertine Kopp, founder of the Caribbean Art Initiative, elaborated on the idea, saying: “[Basel] is not only known as a global cultural hub but also as a point of intersection for progressive ideas and global networks. Our aim is to weave Caribbean artists from various parts of the region more deeply into the unfolding international narrative about art.”

‘We are hoping to bring new perspectives by providing a platform for art that is not often otherwise shown in Basel,” Raphael Suter told Artnet News. “We hope it will shine a light on what we perceive as a still little-understood and under-appreciated segment of the international art community, providing a snapshot of the contemporary art scene in the region.”

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