Our Guide to All 7 Art Fairs Coming to Basel This Year, From the Blue-Chip to the Tongue-in-Cheek

Seven fairs are descending on Basel this month. Here's what to see.

Art Basel in Switzerland, 2018. Courtesy of Art Basel.

The global art calendar’s most sophisticated fair, Art Basel, is upon us again. That means dealers will be bringing their best and brightest to the picturesque Swiss city, and not just at the main event, but at the many satellite fairs orbiting it. Here’s a rundown of all the fairs coming to town—with the notable absence this year of the Scope Art Show—so you won’t miss a thing.


Art Basel
Thursday, June 13–Sunday, June 16

View of Franz West, <i>Test</i> (1994). Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner.

View of Franz West’s Test (1994). Courtesy of the artist and David Zwirner.

The big kahuna of the week is without a doubt Art Basel, set in its native Switzerland city with 290 exhibitors coming to show. Among the highlights are Romanian artist Alexandra Pirici’s ongoing work Aggregate (2017-19), which will take place on Basel’s Messeplatz, where performers will spontaneously pick from a list of rehearsed enactments and engage with the audience, and octogenarian artist Joan Semmel’s monumental new eight-by-24-foot painting in the Unlimited sector, Skin in the Game.

Also on display in the Unlimited sector, curated for the final year by the Hirshhorn Museum’s Gianni Jetzer, will be works by Andrea Bowers, Kerry James Marshall, Hélio Oiticica, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Franz West.

Vernissage (by invitation only): Wednesday, 4 p.m.–8 p.m.; Thursday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; General admission CHF 58 ($58)

Art Basel is located at Messeplatz 10, 4058 Basel


LISTE Art Fair
Monday, June 10–Sunday, June 16

LISTE Art Fair, 2018.

The art fair skewed toward promoting young artists and galleries is going through some changes this year, most notably with the passing of the torch from co-founder and longtime director Peter Bläuer to former Berlin gallerist Joanna Kamm. The upcoming edition of LISTE features 77 galleries from 33 countries, 21 of which are newcomers to the fair.

There are also several new initiatives debuting in June, including Impact, a grant sponsored by a private Swiss foundation that provides funding over the course of three years to a gallery that is presenting for the first time outside of its home country. This year’s recipient is Lodos Gallery, based in Mexico City, which will show works by Noah Barker, Emanuele Marcuccio, and Diego Salvador Rios at LISTE.

Public opening: Monday, June 10, 6 p.m.–9 p.m.; Tuesday–Saturday, 1 p.m.–9 p.m.; Sunday, 1 p.m.–6 p.m.; General admission: CHF 20 ($20)

LISTE Art Fair Basel is located at Burgweg 15, 4058 Basel


Basel in June
Monday, 10 June–Friday, June 14

Basel, Switzerland. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images.

Conveniently located just a two-minute walk from Art Basel, in a building designed by renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, June is a brand new independent fair and exhibition platform. The fair is hoping to be a calmer setting to digest art: for its first edition, June will feature fourteen exhibitors from five countries.

The VIP preview will be held Monday, June 10 from 3–9pm, with public opening days beginning Tuesday, June 11.

June in Basel is located at Riehenstrasse 90B, 4058 Basel.


Monday, June 10–Saturday, June 15

Primo Marella with guests at Primae Noctis gallery booth. Courtesy of VOLTA.

Primo Marella with guests at Primae Noctis gallery booth. Courtesy of VOLTA.

For its 15th year, VOLTA is returning to the Lysbüchel cultural center with 79 galleries presenting works from artists in four continents. This year, some of the highlights include gigantic tufted carpets that resemble fungus and moss by Lizan Freijsen and exhibited by NL=US Art, a Rotterdam-based gallery; the raucous paintings by South Korean artist Jongmin “Joy” Kim, exhibiting with SPACE 776 of Brooklyn; and the confounding interior scenes by Fabian Treiber, who combines acrylic, ink, and resin on canvas to create works that blend computer-generated imagery with painted brushstrokes, exhibited by KANT gallery of Copenhagen.

Public opening: Monday, June 10, 2 p.m.–7 p.m.; Tuesday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; General admission: CHF 15 ($15)

VOLTA Basel is located at Elsässerstrasse 215, 4056 Basel. 


Design Miami
Tuesday, June 11–Sunday, June 16

Piano Guillermo Santomá, 2019, presented by Etage Projects. Courtesy of Etage Projects.

This year’s theme for Design Miami’s fair in Basel is “Elements: Earth,” which will be explored in the Design at Large program, situated at the entrance of the fair. Under the curatorial eye of Aric Chen, nine galleries will address the current climate crisis, sustainability through design, and, as Chen said in a statement, “re-imagining how we use the planet’s resources.”

Public hours: Tuesday & Wednesday, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.;Thursday–Sunday, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; General admission: CHF 32 ($32)

Design Miami is located at Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel


Photo Basel
Tuesday, June 11–Sunday, June 16

Cortis & Sonderegger, <i>Making of 'Tsunami' (by unknown tourist, 2004)</i> (2015). ©Cortis & Sonderegger, courtesy The Ravestijn Gallery.

Cortis & Sonderegger, Making of ‘Tsunami’ (by unknown tourist, 2004) (2015). ©Cortis & Sonderegger, courtesy of The Ravestijn Gallery.

The only fair dedicated exclusively to photography, Photo Basel is a hallmark of the week’s art bonanza—and it’s celebrating its fifth anniversary this year. For the first time, the exhibition will take over two floors of the Volkshaus Basel, with the work of 41 exhibitors from 15 countries.

For the second time, the fair is presenting a special Master Cabinet section, where vintage prints from participating galleries, curated by Daniel Blochwitz, are for sale. This year’s Master Cabinet will explore “Tender Moments” captured in photography—a range of candid and staged images that show emotion and vulnerability in human relationships.

Public hours: Tuesday, 12 p.m.–9 p.m.; Wednesday–Saturday, 12 p.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m.–6 p.m.; General admission: CHF 23.80 ($24)

Photo Basel is located at Volkshaus Basel, Rebgasse 12-14, 4058 Basel


I Never Read Art Book Fair
Wednesday, June 12–Saturday, June 15

Photo courtesy of the "I Never Read" Art Book Fair in Basel.

Photo courtesy of the “I Never Read” Art Book Fair in Basel.

If you need a break from the six- and seven-figure prices at the big fairs, check out the always surprising and fun displays at the I Never Read Art Book Fair, now returning for its eighth edition. More than 100 independent and institutional publishers come together with oodles of printed ephemera. In addition to the printed matter, expect musical interludes, a radio station, sporting activities, and a film section.

Public hours: Wednesday, 6 p.m.–10 p.m.; Thursday & Friday, 3 p.m.–10 p.m.; Saturday, 12 p.m.–7 p.m.; Admission is free

The Book Fair is located at Kaserne Basel, Klybeckstrasse 1b, 4057 Basel

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