Here’s Your Go-To Guide to This Week’s Art Fairs in Basel, Switzerland, From the International Heavyweights to the Cozy Local Affairs
Here's all the practical information you need to know.
Before the art world takes a collective vacation later in the summer, there’s one final fling: a week chock-full of art fairs taking place in the idyllic city of Basel, Switzerland. From veteran blue-chip galleries to first-timers, an international cohort of exhibitors ensures there’s something for art lovers of all kinds. Here’s the practical information to get you through the last leg of fair season.
June 14–18, 2023
When: VIP day: Tuesday, June 13: 11 a.m.–8 p.m. (invitation only, timing per cardholder status) |Vernissage (invitation only): Wednesday, June 14: 5 p.m.–8 p.m. | Public hours: Thursday, June 15–Sunday, June 18: 11 a.m.–7 p.m.
Where: Messeplatz 10, 4058 Basel
What to Know: The tentpole event for the week returns to the Messeplatz, where an outdoor installation by Moroccan artist Latifa Echakhch will greet visitors, and inside some 285 international galleries—including 21 newcomers—will be on site. This year, the Kabinett sector, which is dedicated to thematic presentations within galleries’ booths, makes its debut at the Basel edition with 13 projects. Outside of the fair, the Parcours section will feature its largest array of public projects yet, with 25 dotted across the city center.
June 13–18, 2023
When: VIP opening: Monday, June 12, 6 p.m.–8 p.m. Public hours: Tuesday, June 13 and Wednesday, June 14, 10 a.m.–7 p.m.; Thursday, June 15–Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday, June 18, 11 a.m.–6 p.m.
Where: Hall 1 Süd, Messe Basel
What to Know: The 17th edition of the fair brings together 26 galleries showcasing collectible designs in an intimate setting that provides much-needed breathing room from the sprawling main exhibition. Look out for Galerie Patrick Seguin’s presentation of works by design icon Jean Prouvé on one end of the spectrum, and Friedman Benda’s exploration of 80 years’ worth of contemporary design through the lens of ten visionary designers, titled “Iconoclasts and Icons,” on the other.
June 12–18, 2023
When: VIP preview: Monday, June 12, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Public hours: Monday, June 12, 6 p.m.–8 p.m.; Tuesday, June 13–Saturday, June 17, 12 p.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, June 18; 11 a.m.–4 p.m.
Where: Messe Basel, Hall 1.1 Maulbeerstrasse / corner Riehenring 113, 4058 Basel
What to Know: The beloved upstart-satellite fair is returning this year with 88 galleries—20 of which are newcomers—hailing from 35 countries. Special mentions include Jakarta’s ROH Projects and Bangkok’s Nova, who return after pandemic-related delays; and Kyiv’s the Naked Room and Voloshyn, as well as Ukrainian collective Understructures, who exhibited last year as part of a solidarity program. After years of artists who “seemed to have taken inward-looking gazes,” fair director Joanna Kamm said, “we’re noticing a reversal to outward-facing gazes.” She noted that “immersive installations, time-based media, AI and computer-generated images” will all be on display, along with “strong positions in painting and photography.”
June Art Fair
June 12–18, 2023
When: VIP preview: Monday, June 12, 1 p.m.–8 p.m. Public hours: Tuesday, June 13–Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m.–7 p.m.; Sunday, June 18, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: Riehenstrasse 90B, 4058 Basel, Switzerland
What to Know: This free (!) art fair was conceived of as a gallery-led enterprise that offers an “alternative, intergenerational, fair-week experience” to the bigger events on the Messeplatz. Taking place in a former concrete bunker revamped by starchitects Herzog & de Meuron, the boothless fair gives each presentation ample space to breathe without worrying about the confines of partitions or being relegated to a dead end by the bathroom.
June 12–18, 2023
When: VIP preview: Monday, June 12, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. Public hours: Monday, June 12, 2 p.m.–8 p.m.; Tuesday, June 13–Saturday, June 17, 11 a.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, June 18, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: 610 Klybeck, Gärtnerstrasse 2, Basel 4057
What to Know: This year’s Volta is debuting a new venue, an “architectural jewel” designed by architects Suter + Suter in the heart of the Klybeck neighborhood, just a five minute shuttle ride (provided to visitors every 30 minutes) or a 20-minute stroll from the Messeplatz. The collaborative enterprise features a curated selection of 30 galleries from around the world. The fair’s name comes from the Italian word for “turn,” according to the website, which also notes that “in a sonnet, a volta is a rhetorical shift or dramatic turn of thought, argument or emotion.” Perhaps this year’s edition will instigate some exciting pivots.
June 13–18, 2023
When: Tuesday, June 13–Saturday, June 17, 12 p.m.–8 p.m.; Sunday, June 18, 12 p.m.– 6 p.m.
Where: Volkshaus Basel, Rebgasse 12-14
What to Know: The small-scale fair, the only dedicated to photography on the lineup, returns to Switzerland this year for another edition. A self-proclaimed “family-like organization,” the event prides itself on bringing a wide-range of photographic works to visitors. Special exhibitions include a presentation of work by the late Swiss photographer Alex Kayser, organized by Galerie Esther Woerdehoff in collaboration with the Alex Kayser Foundation, and “Pure Photography: 20th-Century Floral Masterworks,” presented by WBB Gallery and featuring works by American photographers spanning 100 years.
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