Tickets to the Art Basel Inside Conference in Abu Dhabi, a ‘New Kind of Experience,’ Cost $15,000 (Without Airfare)

That's more than TED's marquee conference—but less than Davos.

Sharjah,UAE - February 10: The view of Sharjah Skyline at Sunset on february 10, 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Rustam Azmi/Getty Images)
Sharjah,UAE - February 10: The view of Sharjah Skyline at Sunset on february 10, 2019 in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Rustam Azmi/Getty Images)

Want to go to Art Basel’s new “immersive” conference initiative in Abu Dhabi this February? It will cost you a hefty $15,000. 

The art fair company announced the launch of the three-day event, called Art Basel Inside—which happens to coincide with the second edition of competitor fair Frieze Los Angeles, running from February 14 to 16—earlier this week.  

A representative for the fair says that the hefty ticket price covers “access to all elements of the three-day program as well as luxury accommodation and curated culinary experiences.” Flights, however, are not included. 

The ticket is $5,000 more than it costs to attend TED’s marquee conference, an application-only event that hosts speakers ranging from blockbuster film producer J.J. Abrams and U2 frontman Bono to Microsoft’s Bill Gates and Google co-founder Sergey Brin. (First-timers can attend TED for even less, $5,000 a head.) 

It is also just $4,000 less than admission to Davos, the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting, which brings together the world’s most powerful political and business leaders. (Though, to be fair, that $19,000 ticket is just one part of the cost; in order to be invited to Davos, you must be a member of the World Economic Forum, which has various tiers of membership that can run anywhere from around $50,000 to more than $600,000 annually.)

Art Basel is aiming to attract a group of around 300 people for its event—which, if they all paid full price, would result in a cool $4.5 million in revenue for the company. 

What can participants expect to receive in exchange for their hard-earned $15,000? According to a statement, the three-day event is a “framework for discoveries” that will include “dynamic dialogues and workshops with visionary guest speakers from the worlds of technology and science, addressing topics such as intelligence, environments, sustainability, and the role of the arts.” 

Veteran curator and art historian Marc-Olivier Wahler, who is organizing Art Basel Inside, told ARTnews the platform is neither art fair nor museum nor summit, but will offer “art lovers a kind of experience that doesn’t exist elsewhere.” He says site-specific installations will simulate the “feeling involved in the elements,” adding, “This is in the desert, but you can walk underwater and listen to poetry.”

The fair declined to disclose a lineup of speakers or events, but a spokesperson said more information will be made available later this fall. 


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