Art Basel Rejects Dealer To Be Honored with Lifetime Award

For the first time in over 40 years, Galerie Klüser will not participate.

Art Basel in Basel 2015 | General Impression. Photo: © Art Basel

Presented annually at Art Basel, the Faega Lifetime Award distinguishes the exemplary work of European galleries. This year’s winner, Bernd Klüser, should be thrilled about the prize—if it weren’t for the fact that this year’s distinction comes with the bitter aftertaste of being excluded from the fair itself for the first time in 40 years.

In an ironic twist of fate, the Munich-based gallerist won’t be represented with a stand at the prestigious art fair when he accepts his lifetime achievement award on June 15, on the mezzanine of Basel’s Halle 1.

Art Basel’s vetting process and selection criteria is among the most stringent in the art world, and every year some galleries will inevitably be disappointed to have been rejected by the selection committee.

Galerie Klüser is only one of several long-time exhibitors and big-name galleries that didn’t make the cut this year, including Peter Blum Gallery and Barbara Mathes Gallery, both from New York.

Last week, Galerie Klüser demonstratively uploaded a photo to Instagram depicting the founder Bernd Klüser sitting on shipping crates next to legendary German artist Joseph Beuys at Art Basel in 1984.

Meanwhile a press release announcing Klüser as the winner of the award featured a photograph of the dealer sitting with Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, and fellow gallerist Hermann Wünsche. The message was clear—the gallery feels hard done by.

The surprising omission on this very special occasion will definitely be a talking point for art historian and museum director Armin Zweite, who will present Klüser with the award.

Art Basel in Basel

Photo: Courtesy Art Basel in Basel.

Other winners of the Faega Lifetime Award, which has been awarded since 2005 by the Federation of European Art Galleries Association, include Ernst Beyeler, Anneli Juda, Soledad Lorenzo, Kaj Forsblom, Leslie Waddington, and Gisela Capitain.

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