Every edition of Art Basel is accompanied by a batch of satellite fairs. Here’s a brief look at the events worth dropping by for a few hours.
Scope. Tough year.
Three years ago, Scope organisers purchased a building just 15-minute walk from Messeplatz: a move that they thought would be interesting from all vantage points. But the following editions would unfortunately prove their hunch wrong. The problems: a distance that worked against them, and above all, neighbours that one might describe as… hot and spicy! After a very difficult 2017 that drew few visitors and sales, most exhibitors moved onto other events. Hence a list of galleries that was finalised and unveiled less than three weeks before the opening – a very limited selection (57) that doesn’t exactly set the heart thumping. But here’s wishing the best of luck to Alexis Hubshman and his team.
Volta. A high-voltage edition.
Taking advantage of Scope’s hassles, Volta is staying strong this year with, once again, 75 carefully selected galleries. The programme is ambitious, with solo or duo shows organised on nearly 50% of the stands. 27 countries from the 5 continents are represented, showing highly diverse and rich creations. 2018 brings a new address that – in some way – takes Volta back to its roots: a former COOP factory – purchased and renovated by the city of Basel – less than five minutes’ walk from the inaugural site that gave its name to the fair. Still at the helm, Amanda Coulson has once again made the trip over from her museum in the Bahamas. This 14-th edition looks like a very fine year. Shuttle buses are available for visitors to travel to and from Basel. One to keep at the top of yours list.
Liste. Passing the torch.
Things are shifting around the team behind Liste. Peter Blauer supervised the fair ever since Basel’s outset for the past 23 years (as well as its Berlin sibling), but the world learned a little over a month ago that he now wishes to pass the torch in order to embark on a well-deserved retirement. As of next year, Liste will be organised by a foundation that will oversee the interests of this now venerable institution. This 23rd edition is therefore the last one to be organised by the grand man with a perpetual smile. Once again, the best of “very” contemporary art can be discovered in this surreal spot where you’d better get used to the idea that you’re going to get lost. 15 new arrivals join the fairs this year – making a total of 79 galleries and over 170 artists – are to be discovered over the building’s seven floors.
Design Miami. Lighting ideas.
In the same venue as Art Basel, just opposite the Unlimited Hall, Design Miami can sometimes be taken for another MCH fair. Big mistake! Design Miami is headed by an American team strong on girl power, led by the fantastic Jen Roberts. For this thirteenth edition, same place, same formate: 47 galleries from 13 countries with a conspicuous over-representation of the United States and France… to our greatest delight. Five newbies join the regulars: Caterina Togno (Italy), Mitterrand (France), Regis Mathieu (France), The Future Perfect (United States) and Side Gallery (Spain). Beyond a very highe-quality selection – big names only – you’ll find an ambitious talks programme on different subjects ranging from “Woman Design” and a round table on “Smart Living”.
Frame. The newborn.
At the same site which hosted YIA last year, a brand-new fair is settling down. Frame is unabashedly designed as a satellite fair, offering opening hours adapted to visitors whose first priority is Art Basel. A focus is clearly placed on content, with – as this of inaugural edition – a curated section that covers the same surface area as its commercial section, panels, encounters with artists, concerts and so on. The fair assumes a business aspect while also seeking to engage visitors in experiences and discoveries. A dozen very international galleries have already been seduced by this first edition, expected to scatter all over the world…
Small size, big ambition.