‘Moonrise, East’ by Ugo Rondinone, a cast aluminum, drawn enamel, and wooden plinth sculpture welcoming visitors to the Art Basel art fair in 2008. These pieces are now permanently on display next to 101 2nd Street in the financial district of San Francisco.
Greetings Art Lovers!
Today marks the day just about everyone has been anxiously awaiting for over four years: the start of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. In just a few more days, the event the art world prepares for all year will also kick off. Art Basel, the biggest international contemporary art exhibition and fair in the world, opens its doors in Basel, Switzerland on June 16th. Along with the Venice Biennale, Art Basel has been called “the Olympics of the art world.” It is where a lot of money meets a lot of art and dealers battle to lure affluent collectors to purchase their priciest works.
Over 50,000 visitors visit the five-day fair each day. The art world’s elite collectors are given special security passes, allowing them to cruise past the ticket line. Fifty-six top tier galleries await them inside, all of which have paid close to $400 per square meter for their booth spaces.
But it’s the secretive deals, not the jaw-dropping art, that makes the event oh so compelling. Tom Horan of the Telegraph UK wrote:
The fair may offer the chance to see an array of post-1900 artworks that would put virtually any gallery in the world to shame, but it is the intricate, courtly dance of a thousand discreet business deals that makes the event so gripping. Descending on escalators from a labyrinth of cordoned-off anterooms and hospitality bays on the upper floors, come the collectors. The antennae of the gallerists begin to quiver as they sense the arrival in their territory of a rather special kind of person. The word “rich” being considered in this milieu the height of vulgarity, they are known in the trade as “individuals of high net worth”.
This year marks the 41st year of the art world’s biggest meat market. We will have to wait and see what inspired works will pop up at the fair this month. For now, here are some highlights from Ugallery’s Modern Dwelling and Contemporary Home collections that would fit in seamlessly at Art Basel, if not for their obscenely low price tags.