Gagosian Gallery Is Expanding Its Footprint in Basel With a Pop-Up Show on the History of Abstraction During This Summer’s Fair

The ambitious exhibition is the latest example of the gallery growing its sales opportunities during the fair.

Joe Bradley, City at Dawn (2019). © Joe Bradley. Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy of Gagosian.
Joe Bradley, City at Dawn (2019). © Joe Bradley. Photo: Rob McKeever. Courtesy of Gagosian.

Gagosian Gallery isn’t content to merely hold court in a booth in the main sector of Art Basel, sponsor numerous artists participating in the Unlimited platform, or help coordinate a mid-career survey for gallery artist Rudolf Stingel at the Fondation Beyeler. At this year’s Art Basel, in a space located just down the street from a handful of Basel’s most popular hotels, the mega-gallery is also hosting a pop-up exhibition that traces the evolution of abstraction in painting.

Titled “Continuing Abstraction,” the show includes 17 artists ranging from postwar masters such as Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, and Helen Frankenthaler to contemporary artists including Mark Grotjahn, Albert Oehlen, and Joe Bradley. It will be accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by art historian Sydney Stutterheim. Most of the works will be for sale, but the gallery declined to comment on the pricing.

“We are presenting an exhibition this year because we found the right space, both in size and location, to present a show of the caliber expected in Basel,” a spokesperson for the gallery said in a statement. “While the idea of abstraction itself is not new, our exhibition looks at its trajectory beginning from the immediate post-war era, both in the United States and in Europe.”

Mary Weatherford, <i>Ruby, Ruby</i> (2011). © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilson. Courtesy of Gagosian.

Mary Weatherford, Ruby, Ruby (2011). © Mary Weatherford. Photo: Fredrik Nilson. Courtesy of Gagosian.

Art Basel has become something of a testing ground for Gagosian’s new strategies as it continues to diversify its approach to fair season. At last year’s fair, the gallery introduced its first online viewing room, a project that brought in an additional $2 million in sales.

The abstraction show will be housed in a building overlooking the Rhine at Rheinsprung 1—about a 15-minute walk from the fair and just a few minutes from many of the hotels popular with out-of-town collectors, such as Les Trois Rois, Hotel Teufelhof, and Hotel Kraff. (The website for the show has a link for directions to the venue from Les Trois Rois.)

Continuing Abstraction” opens at Rheinsprung 1 from June 11-16, 2019.


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