Beyond Arting at Art Basel 2013

The 2013th edition of Art Basel closed its doors yesterday after five days of exceptional art display. Two weeks after opening the Venice Biennial, art buyers and investors swap Italy for Switzerland in order to see the top galleries and artists in the market and buy ‘the piece of the year’. Once again, Art Basel becomes the meeting point in the international art world, by attracting  approximately 70.000 visitors. The total works on sale add up at to over $2 billion at the ‘Olympics of the Art World’.  Sales during this event represent a large portion of the annual sales for the world’s leading galleries, which even hold back the best works for a year to bring them to Art Basel. It is to mention that already after opening its doors on Tuesday, the number of sales was extremely high and, as the Art Basel director mentioned a few hours after the opening,  I notice a lot of frustration among collectors because the things that they want to buy are already sold. Some highlights of these sales are, a Gerhard Richter sold by the Pace Gallery for over $20 million, an Alexander Calder for $12 million and two pieces from Lucio Fontana at $2.5 million each by Helly Nahmad Gallery, a Takashi Murakami sold by Blum & Poe Gallery for $900.000, and an Yves Klein for $2.8 million and a Joan Miró for $1.6 million by the Swiss gallery Gmurzynska. The amount of works sold and the prices achieved during this fair are a clear reflection of Art Basel’s success, and at the same time, a proof of continuous growth of the global art market. Simultaneously, Art Basel offers a 11,500 sqm exhibiting space, called Unlimited, for large three-dimension sculptures and installations,that cannot be exhibited at a regular gallery stand, and that are not on sale. It is a space to enjoy breathtaking creations apart from the main pavilion’s hubbub. Amazing art projects were presented by 79 different artists,such as Ai Weiwei, Meschac Gaba, Sean Landers, Lygia Clarck or Thomas Shütte, that invited the public to participate in such an engaging art display. One of the most attractive pieces in this section was Citroyen du Monde: balloon, by the Beninese artist Meschac Gaba. This artwork is composed by the integration of every national flag currently in use into a large spherical shape, representing solidarity among nations. When looking at the audience standing by the balloon, we truly believe this artwork successfully achieved the artist intention, because as he mentioned, When the audience comes in, I want them to be pulled in by my humor. Maybe later, when they start thinking about the work, they see more serious issues, but they don’t have to.  Unlimited From Beyond Arting we certainly wanted to share such an extraordinary experience. Have a lovely week!

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