Art Wide Open – Highlights & Trends From Basel 2018 – Switzerland


Art Basel 2018 seemed bigger this year with satellite events popping up daily in Basel, Switzerland.

And there were many new events to be seen, including Photo Basel, Paper Position, the Frame Art Fair, the Rhy Art Fair, the Outsider Art Fair, and I Never Read, Art Book Fair.

During the fair, extraordinary galleries tried to outdo each other with caviar, bubbles, and sublime works of creativity and skill.

Meanwhile, illustrious museums in Basel put on their best shows for the year, from Bruce Nauman at Schaulager, to Giacometti/Bacon at Beyeler, to Gerda Steiner and Jorg Lenzlinger at Tinguely.

Other institutional stand-outs? The Kunstmuseum, Kunsthalle, Kunstraum, Alsace’s CRAC, France’s Fondation Fernet-Branca, and 40 years of collecting by Geneva’s David Brolliet.

Overall, the spectacle of Basel didn’t disappoint.

Here, collectors arrived in private jets; curators from Red Bull and Pushkin looked to fill in new initiatives; power brokers gathered at the Trois Rois Hotel bar; and aficionados rushed from the “Conversations to Film” program to the Parcours displays around the city.

Below are some of our favorite highlights and trends from Basel 2018.



What pieces captivated the crowd?

carlos cruz diez tranluscent chromointerferent environment
Carlos Cruz-Diez, “Translucent Chromointerferent Environment,” 1974/2009, installation, mixed media, 375 x 1186 x 1187 cm. Courtesy of Galeria Raquel Arnold.

[NOTE: Carlos Cruz-Diez — who’s 95-years-old — stole the show with his geometric elliptical light box at Art Unlimited. The exclusive UBS lounge also featured his works in their collection.]

Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt, two British artists known as Semiconductor, came up “HALO,” a piece of dynamic “data artwork,” after participating in an artist residency program at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research). Words and images courtesy of Monica Bello, head of Arts at CERN, curator of the 2018 Audemars Piguet Art Commission; Audemars Piguet; and the 2018 Audemars Piguet Art Commission.

raf simons quilt chairs miami design
Calvin Klein’s Raf Simons celebrated American quilt patchwork with these unique chairs — all sold out the first day at Design Miami.



It’s true that all that glitters isn’t gold, but shimmery stuff was trending at Basel.

jim hodges moments are forever
Jim Hodges, “moments of forever I,” 2018, Glitter, acrylic medium and pastel on canvas, 120 x 99 x 2 inches (304.8 x 251.5 x 5.1 cm). Courtesy of Anthony Meier Fine Arts.

rudolf stingel untitled 2007
Rudolf Stingel, “Untitled,” 2007, Oil and enamel on canvas, 95 1/4 x. 76 in. (242 x 193 cm). Courtesy of White Cube.

Leonor Antunes Discrepencies with a Caucasian Textile
Leonor Antunes, “Discrepencies with a Caucasian textile (2),” 2018, 3 elements: brass; i. 194 7/8 x 18 1/8 in. (495 x 46 cm); ii. 194 1/2 x 18 1/8 in. (494 x 46 cm); iii. 194 7/8 x 23 5/8 in. (495 x 60 cm.); Courtesy of Marian Goodman Gallery.



Also on display? Themes of decay, reuse, transformation and sustainability.

jorge peris claro de luna 2018
Jorge Peris, “Claro de Luna para un instrumento innombrable,” 2018, Modified found wooden furniture pieces, 320 x 185 x 110 cm. Courtesy of MAGAZZINO.

r.m. fischer 2018
R.M. Fischer, “RMF5742,” 2018, wood, wood stain, steel, stainless steel, vinyl, fabric, thread, polyester, fiberfill, brass, copper wire, electric light, cable, 129.5 x 94 x 61 cm (51 x 37 x 24 in). Courtesy of Southard Reid; Shown at LISTE, Wartek Brewery.

daniel jacoby tecnopor
Daniel Jacoby, “Tecnopor,” 2017, Foam, cotton fabric, metal structure. Courtesy of Maisterravalbuena; Shown at LISTE, Wartek Brewery.

lara favaretto birdman 2018
Lara Favaretto, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance),” 2018, Installation, Colored confetti; 10 elements, 90.0 × 90.0 × 90.0 cm (35.4 × 35.4 × 35.4 Size in). Courtesy of Galleria Franco Noero; Shown at Art Unlimited.

porky hefer leonardo di caprio foundationAt the Design Miami showcase, South African designer-activist Porky Hefer created several endangered animal pieces — including this Orangutan — for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation through the SFA Advisory and Southern Guild. Communities in Africa produced the works – with the sale proceeds benefiting the foundation. For more information, please click here.



Basel’s street art scene is colorful, international, and ever-evolving.

art basel switzerland 1

a wake up call art basel switzerland

art basel switzerland 2

string art basel switzerland

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Well, maybe it is…

eddie hara this is not street art
Indonesian artist EddIE haRA stood in front of one of his paintings, “911. Destroy Bad Art,” 2018, acrylic on canvas, 150x150cm. The piece was part of Hara’s stand-alone exhibit, “This Is Not Street Art,” presented by the Artstübli Gallery.



Okay, you got us, the Vitra Campus is not in Basel – but close enough!

Based in Switzerland, Vitra is a leading furniture and design company. But across the Rhine River, in Weil am Rhein, Germany, Vitra has built a special campus — where the public can learn about the latest in design and architecture.

This month, Vitra unveiled three new installations: the “Blockhaus” building by German artist Thomas Schütte, plus two nice landscaping touches, the “Ruisseau” fountain and the sitting “Ring” by Ronan Bouroullec and Erwan Bouroullec.

blockhaus vitra campus

ruisseau vitra campus

ring vitra campus



Below, symbols of empowerment, equality, and calls for respect.

Olga KoshelevaUkranian artist Olga Kosheleva seen throughout Basel wearing brush earrings and her own painted sunglasses.

Markus-Lupertz-art-basel-2018Markus Lüpertz, “Sirene Märkisch I ( Sirene ‘Märkisch’ I),” 2017, Mixed media on canvas in artist’s frame, 39 1/4 x 32 in. (100 x 81 cm). Courtesy of the Michael Werner Gallery.

Albert Oehlen art basel 2018
Albert Oehlen, “I 35,” 2013, Paper on canvas, 2 panels, 230.3 x 360.5 cm. Courtesy of Galerie Max Hetzler.

Douglas Gordon art basel 2018
Douglas Gordon, Self Portrait of You + Me (Double Debbie), 2018, Burned print, smoke and mirror, unframed dimensions 91.5 x 183 cm (36.02 x 72.05 in). Courtesy of Kamel Mennour.

alice neel art basel 2018
Alice Neel, “Nancy and the Twins (5 Months), 1971, Oil on canvas, 112.1 x 152.7 cm (44 1/8 x 60 in). Courtesy of Xavier Hufkens.

Andro Wekua art basel 2018Andro Wekua, “Portrait Wave Holder,” 2018, Oil paint, silkscreen ink and varnish on aluminum panel, 102 x 72 cm (framed). Courtesy of Sprüth Magers.



Galleries thanked in individual captions.

Video by Audemars Piguet.

All photographs by Alice Lonfat-Chu.


open wide art basel 2018 embed
As mentioned above, South African designer-activist Porky Hefer created several endangered animal pieces — including this Great White Shark — for the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation through the SFA Advisory and Southern Guild. Communities in Africa produced the works – with the sale proceeds benefitting the foundation. Once again, for more information, please click here.