13 Must-See Museum and Gallery Exhibitions in Basel to Catch When You’re Done With the Fairs

Here's our go-to guide.

Rudoph Stingel, Untitled (2013). Photo courtesy of the Fondation Beyeler.

Let’s be honest: no one is heading to Basel this month to see museum exhibitions. But if you’re already there for the fairs, why not see what else the city has to offer? Here’s our round-up of the most essential museum and gallery exhibitions to see while you’re in town.


The Young Picasso: Blue and Rose Periods” at the Fondation Beyeler

Through June 16, 2019

Pablo Picasso, Famille de saltimbanques avec un singe (1905). Photo: © Göteborg Konstmuseum.

This exhibition of the young Picasso’s work focuses on his Blue and Rose periods (1901–06), and is the most comprehensive such show in Europe to date. The show aims to reveal his steady discovery of the principles of Cubism, which he developed with Braque beginning in 1907.

Fondation Beyeler is located at Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Basel


Lake Verea: Paparazza Moderna” at the Vitra Design Museum

Through July 7, 2019

Lake Verea shooting the VDL House by Richard Neutra. © Lake Verea.

The Mexican photographers Francisca Rivero-Lake and Carla Verea, who comprise the artist duo Lake Verea, slink through bushes and topiaries like paparazzi, sneaking up on buildings designed by some of the world’s foremost architects. Buildings by Walter Gropius, Richard Neutra, Marcel Breuer, and Philip Johnson have all been the subjects of their work, on view in this first solo show for the duo in a European museum.

The Vitra Design Museum is located at Charles-Eames-Straße 2, 79576 Weil am Rhein


Dora Budor: I am Gong” at Kunsthalle Basel

Through August 11, 2019

Installation view of Dora Budor, “I am Gong,” at the Kunsthalle Basel. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel.

For the Croatian-born, New York-based artist Dora Budor’s first institutional solo exhibition in Europe, the artist is looking at the architectural history of the Kunsthalle. She is implementing sound, dust, and other data taken from the surroundings to make a unsettling scene for her tiered sculptures.

Kunsthalle Basel is located at Steinenberg 7, CH-4051 Basel


Geumhyung Jeong: Homemade RC Toy” at Kunsthalle Basel

Through August 11, 2019

Geumhyung Jeong’s work at the Kunsthalle Basel. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel.

In another subtly disturbing exhibition at the Kunsthalle, South Korean artist and choreographer Geumhyung Jeong is showing a cast of DIY robots. They are scrappy and pathetic, and with their slow and limited movements, the artist questions the blurred lines between inanimate and animate and dominance and submission.

Kunsthalle Basel is located at Steinenberg 7, CH-4051 Basel


Entangled Realities: Living with Artificial Intelligence” at the House of Electronic Arts Basel (HeK)

Through August 11, 2019

Jenna Sutela, <em>nimiia cétiï</em> (2018).

Jenna Sutela, nimiia cétiï (2018).

With the creep of artificial intelligence into everyday life, this new show at the House of Electronic Arts in Basel is appropriate. It focuses on interactions between humans and the intelligent systems they create—and the new realities these relationships reveal.

The House of Electronic Arts Basel is located at Freilager-Platz 9, 4142 Münchenstein, Basel


Rebecca Horn: Body Fantasies” at Museum Tinguely

Through September 22, 2019

Rebecca Horn, Pencil Mask (1973). Rebecca Horn Collection © 2019: Rebecca Horn/ProLitteris, Zürich.

A collaboration between the Museum Tinguely and the Centre Pompidou-Metz has given rise to this long-overdue survey of artist Rebecca Horn. One of the early practitioners of performance art, Horn’s work touches on the mechanized body, and the artist often pushes and transforms herself through additive extensions that are themselves works of art.

The Museum Tinguely is located at Paul Sacher-Anlage 2, 4002 Basel


Rudolf Stingel” at the Fondation Beyeler

Through October 6, 2019

A work by Rudolf Stingel.

A work by Rudolf Stingel.

Rudolf Stingel, a veteran of international art fairs and biennales, is being feted at the Fondation Beyeler, where many of his new paintings will be on view for the very first time. Stingel’s exploration of textiles, specifically carpets and insulation, will also be on display in new site-specific installations in the galleries and the museum restaurant.

Fondation Beyeler is located at Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Basel


 “Gina Folly: Fashion, Sex and Death-Science-Sports, Gardens and Conspicuous Consumption” at Kunsthaus Baselland

Through December 31, 2019

Gina Folly, annual exterior project (2019). Photo: Gina Folly.

The exterior of the Kunsthaus Baselland presents a picture by photographer Gina Folly that’s familiar to many: a bookcase messily packed full of texts. For the artist, who shot this picture while staying with a friend in New York during her residency at the Swiss Institute, it “implies something universal, it is a placeholder for friendship, love, past, future, and imagination.”  

Kunsthaus Baselland is located at St. Jakobs-Strasse 170, 4132 Muttenz


Chen Wei: Drifting Along” at Büro

June 8–July 9, 2019

A work by Chen Wei.

A work by Chen Wei.

New photographs and installations from Wei’s series exploring metropolitan nightlife will be presented in this solo exhibition. The photos and life-sized stage sets of dance halls constitute the final chapter of Wei’s six-year series capturing “a pantomime of revelry” as well as “a group portrait of the exhaustion and hollowness after urban nightlife ends.”

Buro is located at St. Johanns-Vorstadt 46, 4056 Basel


 William Kentridge: A Poem That Is Not Our Own” at Kunstmuseum Basel

June 8–October 13, 2019

Film still, William Kentridge, The Head & the Load, 2018.

The South African artist, whose varied practice spans animation, drawing, prints, and design, has a massive exhibition across three floors of the Kunstmuseum Basel opening just in time for the fair week. This show focuses on Kentridge’s early works from the 1980s and 1990s, juxtaposed with selections from his most recent project, The Head & The Load, a meditation on Africa’s role in World War I, and In Praise of Folly, making its debut in Basel.

Kunstmuseum Basel is located at Kunstmuseum Basel-St. Alban-Graben 16, 4010 Basel


Karim Noureldin: Equinoxat von Bartha Gallery

June 11–July 27, 2019

Karim Noureldin, <i>Equinox </i> (2018) in studio. Photo: Ariel Huber, courtesy of the artist and von Bartha, Basel.

Karim Noureldin, Equinox (2018) in studio. Photo: Ariel Huber, courtesy of the artist and von Bartha, Basel.

Geometric abstraction is the focus of Swiss artist Karim Noureldin’s practice. Via drawings, and wall and floor textiles, the artist explores elegantly simple shapes and colors, and also harnesses the nearly extinct Panza rug-making technique from India.

Von Bartha Gallery is located at Kannenfeldplatz 6, 4056 Basel

Klara Lidén: Now Two Three” at Weiss Falk, Basel in collaboration with Reena Spaulings

June 12–July 27, 2019

Klara Lidén, A Walk in the Park (still) (2019) Courtesy of Weiss Falk, Reena Spaulings Fine Art NY/LA and the Artist.

Klara Lidén, A Walk in the Park (still) (2019). Courtesy of Weiss Falk, Reena Spaulings Fine Art NY/LA and the Artist.

For Klara Lidén’s first solo show in Switzerland, the gallery Weiss Falk (in collaboration with Reena Spaulings Fine Art) will show four recent videos on new site-specific installations. Lidén’s performative interventions explore city infrastructure and social fabric, question society’s rules and conventions, and subtly offer a liberating alternative to oppressive restrictions.

Weiss Falk Basel is located at Rebgasse 27, 4058 Basel

Tobias Spichtig: Still Fridge & Mind” at Salts

June 13–August 24, 2019

Tobias Spichtig, installation view “Fridge & Mind” at Malta Contemporary Art, Valletta (2018).

Tobias Spichtig employs used domestic objects like fridges, couches, and mattresses, and adopts these previously owned items into his vocabulary. Plus, sometimes there are keyboards! Keyboards, that’s something else.

Salts is located at Hauptstrasse 12, 4127 Birsfelden 

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