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Indepth Arts News:

"Art Basel: the El Dorado of the art world"
2000-06-21 until 2000-06-26
Basel, , CH Switzerland

Art 31 Basel will take place in Basel (Switzerland) from June 21 to 26, 2000. It is the world’s most important art fair and the annual meeting place of the international art world. 271 galleries from Europe, North and Latin America, Asia and Australia will participate and present about 5000 works by more than 1000 artists of the 20th and 21st century. Individual exhibitions by young artists, photography, printed graphics and film will be on display in special sectors. Art Unlimited, a new exhibition project for extraordinary works of art, will be making its debut. About 50,000 visitors and 1,000 media representatives are expected. On the occasion of Art 31 Basel, events will be held in the city’s cultural institutions and remarkable exhibitions shown.

In June, art collectors, gallery owners, artists, curators and art lovers from all over the world will meet at Art Basel for the 31st time. This is the largest and most important fair for modern and contemporary art. Its reputation is based on the high quality and unique variety of the works of art presented as well as the inter-national character of its visitors. The 271 exhibiting galleries were selected by the admissions committee from a record num-ber of over 800 applications. About 15% of the galleries will be participating for the first time. The most strongly represented countries are: Germany (61), the USA (45), Switzerland (41), France (27); England (22), Italy (18) Belgium (8), Spain (8) and Holland (4). The number of galleries and artists from East Asia (9), Scandinavia (6) and Latin America (4) has also increased. Despite the continuously growing demand, the number of par-ticipants has not been increased. This competitive pressure guarantees painstakingly presented exhibitions and a varied selection of high calibre works of art. Traditionally, rare museum masterpieces of the Classical Moderns and classic contemporary art works are exhibited, purchased and sold at Art Basel. Many of the works are by the most recent generation of artists, who are placing their stamp on the beginning of the 21st century.

The successful tradition of special sectors at Art Basel to support young art as well as areas of art that are still under-established continues this year. In Art State-ments, young artists pre-sent themselves in 27 individual exhibitions. Art Photography gathers 19 leading specialists in photography, while 22 interna-tional editors display their printed graphics and multiples in Art Edition. Art Magazine introduces 64 art publications from all over the world, while in the evenings, in Art Film, in the Stadtkino in the Kunsthalle Basel, a thematically organised programme pre-sents new film productions by artists. As a new service for ex-hibitors and visitors, the Art Loss Register database listing 100,000 missing and stolen works of art, will have a stand of its own for the first time.

With Art Unlimited, Art Basel is opening a new hall and introducing an innovative platform. This is where extraordinary art projects are presented in the form of an open exhibition that is not divided into gallery stands or sectors. Visitors can see and purchase works of art that could hitherto rarely be displayed at fairs because of spatial, technical, temporal, financial or conceptual limits. This includes, in particular, outsize installations and sculptures, video projections, acoustic works of art, large-scale wall paintings, performances, Internet art and room-specific works. This new concept aims to provide art with more leeway through an ideal infrastructure and minimal participation fees. For Art Unlimited, the Art Committee (admissions board) selected 77 works from 150 submitted applications. The quality and quantity of the submitted projects by far exceeded all the expectations of the Fair Management. Leading contemporary artists as well as numerous young talents have been selected by the Art Committee. The well-known exhibition organisers Simon Lamunière and Martin Schwander are responsible for the layout of the exhibition. A videotheque, a mediatheque as well as an e-lounge are all integrated into the 12,000m2 large exhibition in the newly constructed glass hall by top architect and art collector Theo Hotz. This hall is directly connected to the Art Basel building and can also be reached through a new entrance on Messeplatz. Art Unlimited is generously supported by UBS, which has been a committed sponsoring partner of Art Basel since 1994.

Art Basel is the most important annual marketplace for the art world and offers visitors interested in art the largest «temporary museum». This is where experts can discover coveted works and new talents, compare prices and trace trends. For the artists themselves it is a prestigious platform with worldwide influence. The warm weather in June and the intimate atmosphere in the art city of Basel – itself so full of tradition – add to the appeal of the event. Special exhibitions and events in local museums form further attractive meeting points. The Art Club in the Kunsthalle with its bar, lounge and DJs forms a nightly meeting place. On the night of June 24, 2000, 30 cultural institutions in the histori-cal part of Basel are organising a large cultural festival with ex-hibitions, concerts, theatre, film, fashions shows and parties that are open free of charge to all visitors.

Art 31 Basel is open daily from June 21 to 26, 2000 from 11 to 19 h (to 18 h on the last day). The Vernis-sage for invited guests will take place on June 20, the evening before the fair opens. Full admission to the fair costs CHF 25.-, and student and senior citizen tickets cost CHF 10.-. After 17 h, an evening ticket can be purchased for CHF 5.-. The Art 31 Basel catalogue is avail-able at a price of CHF 45.- (tel. +49 89 12 69 46 for orders).

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