The #MeToo Movement Will Headline Art Basel Unlimited This Year With Andrea Bowers’s Epic Account of America’s Harassment Reckoning

The artist's account of the first 100 men accused in the #MeToo movement will likely draw crowds to Art Basel's Unlimited section.

Andrea Bowers, Open Secrets (Part I) (2018) at Capitain Petzel. Production, writing, editing, graphic design, printing: Angel Alvarado, Kate Alexandrite, Ian Trout, David Burch, Miriam Katz, Ryan Beal © the artist, photo: Jens Ziehe.
Andrea Bowers, Open Secrets (Part I) (2018) at Capitain Petzel. Production, writing, editing, graphic design, printing: Angel Alvarado, Kate Alexandrite, Ian Trout, David Burch, Miriam Katz, Ryan Beal © the artist, photo: Jens Ziehe.

If the art world had its own version of Universal Studios, surely it would look like Art Basel’s massive Unlimited section, the ambitious platform for large-scale projects that are typically too massive or complex for a traditional fair booth display. It’s art—on steroids.

This year, the biggest conversation piece is likely to be Andrea Bowers’s installation Open Secret (2018), which documents the development of the international #MeToo and Time’s Up movements against sexual harassment and assault. The work, which debuted last summer at Capitain Petzel gallery in Berlin, comprises 100 pieces of text on long strips of paper covering both sides of a 62-foot-long wall. Each strip of paper contains the name and profession of an individual accused of misconduct, followed by their apologies (or non-apologies, as the case may be), an up-to-date summary of the allegations they face, their current employment status, and the status of any legal action taken against them.

Bowers first began building a #MeToo database in February 2018; by the time her exhibition opened at Petzel that June, it had swelled to 355 entries. It has grown further since. In Basel, viewers will be able to sit in office chairs to read the text up close—as long as they can stomach the eerie reference to workplace harassment.

Curator Gianni Jetzer, who is organizing the section for his eighth and final year, called  Bowers’s work “a stunning artistic monument to one of the most important women’s movements globally.”

Bowers isn’t the only artist with work in the section that addresses political and cultural upheaval. An interactive installation by Rivane Neuenschwander titled Bataille (2017) delves into the power of words taken from protest banners in France. Meanwhile, Alicia Framis’s Life Dress (2018) consists of a clothing line made of airbag materials that is designed to protect women from harassment.

Other highlights include Indonesian artist Fiona Tan’s Elsewhere (2018), a meditation on urban dystopia, and Korean artist Do-Ho Suh’s life-size textile version of his former home in Seoul.

Can we expect more or less Insta-bait this time around? “There seems to be a certain Insta-fatigue these days,” Jetzer told artnet News. “We know by now that the reality of the screen has little to do with the world out there.”

And what does he make of his near decade-long unique curatorial stint? “Unlimited is a starfield, it is about the eccentricity of each artistic position. But even the shiniest star can become part of a larger constellation… I aimed at the Milky Way.”

In all, there will be 75 large-scale projects by renowned and emerging artists alike (well, somewhat emerging—this is Basel, after all). See the complete list of participating artists and the galleries presenting their work below.

Andreas Angelidakis, The Breeder
Larry Bell, Hauser & Wirth
Guy Ben Ner, Sommer Contemporary Art
Sadie Benning, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects
Huma Bhabha, Salon 94
Camille Blatrix, Balice Hertling, Andrew Kreps Gallery
Anna and Bernhard Blume, Buchmann Galerie  Peter Freeman, Inc.
Monica Bonvicini, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Andrea Bowers, kaufmann repetto, Andrew Kreps Gallery, Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects Marc Brandenburg, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Mircea Cantor, Magazzino
Valentin Carron, kamel mennour, Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Vajiko Chachkhiani, Daniel Marzona
Chen Chieh-jen, Long March Space
Edgar Cleijne and Ellen Gallagher, Gagosian
Bruce Conner, Paula Cooper Gallery, Kohn Gallery
Jonathas de Andrade, Galleria Continua
Lucy Dodd, David Lewis Gallery, Sprüth Magers
François Dufrêne, Galerie Georges-Philippe & Nathalie Vallois
Belu-Simion Fainaru, Galeria Plan B
Sam Falls, 303 Gallery, Galleria Franco Noero, Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Lucio Fontana, Magazzino, Galleria Tega
Alicia Framis, Galería Juana de Aizpuru
Coco Fusco, Alexander Gray Associates
Abdulnasser Gharem, Galerie Nagel Draxler
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, David Zwirner
Antony Gormley, Galleria Continua
Laurent Grasso, Sean Kelly, Perrotin
Duane Hanson, Gagosian
Kiluanji Kia Henda, Goodman Gallery Carsten Höller, Galleria Continua
Suki Seokyeong Kang, Kukje Gallery / Tina Kim Gallery
Kapwani Kiwanga, Goodman Gallery
Daniel Knorr, Meyer Riegger, Galerie nächst St. Stephan Rosemarie Schwarzwälder
Jannis Kounellis, Galerie Karsten Greve
Kaarel Kurismaa, Temnikova & Kasela
John Latham, Lisson Gallery
Lawrence Lek, Sadie Coles HQ
Jochen Lempert, ProjecteSD
Zoe Leonard, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Galleria Raffaella Cortese, Hauser & Wirth
Liliane Lijn, Rodeo
Renata Lucas, A Gentil Carioca, neugerriemschneider, Galeria Luisa Strina
Sarah Lucas, Sadie Coles HQ
Ari Marcopoulos,Galerie frank elbaz, Fergus McCaffrey
Kerry James Marshall, Jack Shainman Gallery, David Zwirner
Anthony McCall, Sean Kelly, Sprüth Magers, Galerie Thomas Zander
Paul McCarthy, Hauser & Wirth, Xavier Hufkens
Fausto Melotti, Hauser & Wirth
Senga Nengudi, Lévy Gorvy, Sprüth Magers
Rivane Neuenschwander, Stephen Friedman Gallery
Olaf Nicolai, Galerie Eigen + Art
Hélio Oiticica, Galerie Lelong & Co.
Jorge Pardo, neugerriemschneider
Steven Parrino, Gagosian
Giuseppe Penone, Gagosian
Vaclav Pozarek, Galerie Francesca Pia, Barbara Wien
Bunny Rogers, Société
Ugo Rondinone, Gladstone Gallery, Galerie Eva Presenhuber
Mika Rottenberg, Hauser & Wirth
Jacolby Satterwhite, Mitchell-Innes & Nash
Joan Semmel, Alexander Gray Associates
Do Ho Suh, Lehmann Maupin, Victoria Miro
Fiona Tan, Peter Freeman, Inc., Frith Street Gallery
Blair Thurman, Peres Projects
Thu Van Tran, Galerie Rüdiger Schöttle
Francisco Tropa, Gregor Podnar, Galerie Jocelyn Wolff
VALIE EXPORT, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac
Brent Wadden, Peres Projects
Tom Wesselmann, Gagosian
Franz West, Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner
Pae White, neugerriemschneider
Martha Wilson, mfc – michèle didier, P.P.O.W
Sislej Xhafa, Galleria Continua
XU ZHEN®, Perrotin
Akram Zaatari, Thomas Dane Gallery, Sfeir-Semler Gallery

 

Art Basel 2019 will take place from June 13 to 16 at the Messe Basel in Switzerland.


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