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Art What!: Art Basel unveils further show highlights for its 2021 edition in Basel

The 2021 edition of Art Basel will feature 272 leading galleries from across the globe presenting the highest quality of works across all media, from rare and historical masterpieces to new works by today’s emerging artistic voices. In addition to showcasing exceptional art within its Galleries, Features, Statements, and Edition sectors, the fair will also present 62 large-scale artworks in Unlimited; 20 site-specific projects as part of Parcours; two performative interventions by artists Monster Chetwynd and Cecilia Bengolea; an ambitious Film program; as well as the fair’s renowned talks series, Conversations.

‘The scale and ambition of this year’s Unlimited and Parcours are testament to the dedication of our participating galleries,’ said Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel. ‘They are boldly presenting complex projects, many conceived before the pandemic, which now take on new meaning.’

Unlimited, Art Basel’s unique platform for large-scale projects, provides galleries the opportunity to showcase expansive installations, monumental sculptures, vast wall paintings, extensive photographic series, and video projections that transcend the traditional art fair stand. Taking place once again in Hall 1, Unlimited will be curated for the first time by Giovanni Carmine, Director of the Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen.

Highlights include:

  • Carl Andre’s sculpture ‘Mastaba’ (1978) presented by Konrad Fischer Galerie
  • Robert Rauschenberg’s large-format painting ‘Rollings (Salvage)’ (1984) presented by Thaddaeus Ropac;
  • Urs Fischer’s installation ‘Untitled (Bread House)’ (2004-2006) presented by Jeffrey Deitch;
  • Lebanese artist Etel Adnan’s work titled ‘Le Soleil Toujours’ (2020) presented by Sfeir-Semler Gallery;
  • Guyanese artist Frank Bowling’s painting ‘Samson’s Circle with Lila’s dress made in Africa of imported Chinese fabric: and the rest’ (2019) presented by Hauser & Wirth
  • ‘After Russell Lee: 1-60’ (2016), a photographic series by Sherrie Levine presented by David Zwirner;
  • Carrie Mae Weems’s ‘Repeating the Obvious’ (2019) presented by Jack Shainman Gallery and Galerie Barbara Thumm;
  • ‘Entrare nel linguaggio’ (2019-2021), a textile installation by Marion Baruch, completed especially for Unlimited 2021, presented by Galerie Urs Meile; and
  • David Hockney’s photographic drawing ‘Pictures at an Exhibition’ (2018/2021) presented by Gray and exhibited at Unlimited for the first time.

Giovanni Carmine said: ‘The pandemic has amplified our need for direct engagement with the ‘originalsʼ. Our encounters with art have intensified: our attention and lust for discussion is on the rise. In this context, Unlimited turns out to be the ideal stage to experience these feelings in a real space – to relish in them, to reflect upon them.’

A limited-edition catalog, published by Hatje Cantz, will accompany Unlimited, including descriptive texts and images of each artwork. The catalog will be on sale at the show as well as in bookshops for CHF 60.

Parcours will return to the city of Basel, featuring 20 site-specific installations and performances throughout the city center. Once again curated by Samuel Leuenberger, founder of the non-profit exhibition space SALTS in Birsfelden, Switzerland, this year’s Parcours will take place across civic and private spaces, as well as new venues under the theme ‘Can We Find Happiness Together Again?’. Some of the many highlights include: 

  • 12 large-scale paintings and performances by Claudia Comte presented by Gladstone Gallery and König Galerie at the Stadtcasino, Basel; 
  • An open-floor-based composition by Jason Dodge at the Kunstmuseum Basel presented by Galleria Franco Noero;
  • A public walk by Hamish Fulton titled ‘Walking in Every Direction’ on Basel’s Marktplatz presented by Galerie Tschudi;
  • ‘Neopets’, a large-scale sculpture by Bunny Rogers presented by Société;
  • ‘Mudmen’, a site-specific installation by Augustas Serapinas presented by Emalin; and
  • Sculptural installations by Pedro Wirz at the Kunsthalle Basel presented by Galerie Nagel Draxler.

Samuel Leuenberger says: ‘Through a focus on care and congeniality, this edition aims to cultivate commonalities and allied thinking across the more invisible layers, ones of deep friendship and trust, where its participants as well as visitors can find their rightful joy in participating.’

As part of Art Basel Live, Art Basel’s digital initiative amplifying its in-person shows to engage online audiences worldwide, Unlimited and Parcours presentations will be featured in dedicated Online Viewing Rooms specifically developed to give additional insight into these large-scale projects. Presentation will be contextualized with a curator audio guide.

Art Basel takes place from 24th to 26th September 2021. More information available here

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