Liste Fair, Art Parcours in St. Johann, the Beyeler Foundation and Vitra
I have always enjoyed the Liste fair where I usually find some unexpected gems. Before I went to this year’s edition, I had heard some negative things about the fair. When I finally made it there, I wondered what people had been talking about. I thought there was some really strong work on view. And I enjoy the maze-like quality to the building that annoys some people. You never know what you will find as you turn a corner or ascend a set of stairs. Though around 70 galleries participate, here are just a few highlights:
My favorite work in the show was the installation at Jeanine Hofland Gallery. Maarten Overdijk’s work makes art historical references while presenting in a fresh manner. One canvas appeared to be peeking out form the back closet. I wondered if it had already sold but in fact, that was the artist’s intent to have half of the canvas hidden from view.
The Greek gallery The Breeder had these amazing large scale works with exquisite details drawn in ink. I could have looked at them for hours.
The Scottish gallery Mary Mary had a delicate sculpture by Sara Barker on view.
Art Parcours in St. Johann
I have to tell you that my favorite part of coming to Basel is exploring the historic parts of the city by visiting the site specific works on view created for Art Parcours. This year, they decided to keep all of the works within a short walking distance in an area called St. Johann. This work by Leveque is found at the entrance to a small park.
A take on Gabriel Orozco’s altered Citroën, Mir has altered a Fiat. But instead of refining finishes, she shows the scars of the process. I loved that it was just parked on the street, accumulating tickets as locals weren’t sure what to make of it.
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I saw this piece. Taking advantage of individual chairs versus pews in a church, the artists “dressed” each chair to reflect the individuality of the worshippers who enter.
Althamer is interested in figural sculptures, often of those close to him. This sculpture, on view in a sculpture hall that is part of the Basel Museum of Ancient Art, is of his eldest son, Bruno. The work was begun when Bruno was still a young boy, the work was unfinished until this year when the artist finished the work with the assistance of his son, a student of art. A reference to St. Bartholomew is made with the child holding his own skin.
We had the pleasure of meeting the artist while visiting this installation inside an old building along the riverfront. Three large pieces move in space through the use of internal motors, visitors initially uncomfortably wonder what could be trapped in the bags in a suspension of disbelief.
There is no prettier spot in Basel than just outside of town at the gorgeous Beyeler Foundation. On view currently is a Jeff Koons exhibition. Nothing feels more foreign to me than vacuum cleaners and large steel hearts and balloons in this space where Brancusis and Giacomettis have been on view previously and looked amazing. I suppose since I am not a huge fan of Koons’ work to begin with, I had set my expectations low. I much preferred the installation, video and room of drawings by Philippe Parreno. But here are my two favorite works from the Koons show.
Anything would look beautiful in this setting and this, I think, is the perfect place for one of these large stainless steel works.
Oddly enough I liked this work and some of the other paintings in that gallery. It reminds me of Subodh Gupta’s paintings of similar subjects, dishes and the reflective material they are made of.
Philippe Parreno is presenting two new films at the Beyeler. I only saw a portion of his film, Marilyn, which is a “portrait of a ghost.” In a suite at the Waldorf in NYC, the video conjures up the ghost of Marilyn. In this work we see the world through Marilyn’s eyes (the camera), a computer generated proximation of her voice, and recreated handwriting. I entered the video gallery and a sweet voice was stating what was in the room: an armchair, a coatrack, a suitcase all while piano music played. Then you see someone writing with a fountain pen. Visitors receive a DVD upon entering the museum that contains both films, taking the exhibition outside of the gallery space. However, after the DVD is viewed, the films erase themselves leaving only the memory of what the viewer saw. I LOVE this idea! A gallery upstairs in the permanent collection has around 50 drawings related to the films on view and they are beautiful.
What is there not to love about Monet’s late version of his Water Lilies on view right next to the window looking out on the lily pond at the Beyeler. Perfection!
Vitra Design Museum
Our evening visit to the Vitra Design Museum began with rain but turned out to be gorgeous. I loved this building where barn is stacked upon barn.
And as we made our way back on the Vitra compound, fresh bread was being given away with mounds of butter for dipping. Yum!
I smoke a cigar about once every ten years and when in Basel and someone offers you a Davidoff, why not?
Everything about the Swiss is orderly. Look at this window installation of men’s shirts!!! Love it!
Why me?! Are there no normal men out there in the world who find me attractive?