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What: Art 42 Basel
Where: Basel, Switzerland
When: Public show day 1, Wednesday 15 June 2011

Okay, my haste post yesterday did not really talk much about all the other just as important things that are going on here at Art Basel. I briefly mentioned Art Statements, Art Unlimited and the talks. I’ll have a special post just for Art Unlimited in due course. Still extremely busy… I have 20 mins here at a cafe to type something before I head over to Cinema Rex for Art Film, a series of art films programmed by Art Basel. Tonight they are showing at The Cave of Forgotten Dreams by Werner Herzog. I can’t wait! I also should mention that John Baldessari is sitting right opposite me as I am typing this. I didn’t think I would see him in the flesh again in only less than 6 months since his visit to Sydney in January this year. I’m trying my best not to stare. Blogging is a pretty good distraction.

Today I went to the first instalment of Art Basel Conversations, a series of 1 hour talks starting at 10am every morning of the fair. They feature distinguished artists, curators, collectors, critics, gallerists, and museum directors in an open conversation about current aspects of the international art world. This morning we had the forefather of conceptual art Allen Ruppersberg in conversation with Jay Sanders, curator of the Whitney Biennial. They discussed his work that is currently showing in Art Unlimited and his practice more generally. Like many conceptual artists, Allen loves collecting things, including vintage rock and roll paraphernalia from flea markets. For a recent art project he attempted to reconstruct the history of rock n roll just through these items found in the “real world” selling for dirt cheap, without resorting to eBay or other collectors of such material. We share the same approach to our art making and that is that the idea drives what the art looks like and how it is made. Like him, most of my artwork never takes similar form. He put it eloquently, “There is no signature style, but signature ideas.”

Then I went to two Art Salon discussions in the afternoon. Art Salon is a series of half hour panel discussions, a cut down version of Art Conversations, also featuring the various art world players. The first one I went to was called “Museum and Biennale: The incredible everyday”, featuring Susanne Gaensheimer, the curator of the German Pavilion at the current Venice Biennale (which won the Golden Lion) and German artist Tobias Rehberger. I was hoping they would discuss the difference between biennales and museums, the different roles they play, as well as their similarities, but they ended up just talking about Rehberger’s work and the MMK in Frankfurt. Dazzle seems to be quite fashionable right now… so many artists are using it. Dazzle revival.

After that I went to another Art Salon talk: “The future of the physical gallery in the digital world”. It featured Josh Baer, art advisor from New York and James Cohan, gallerist and founder of the VIP Art Fair discussing the role of the physical gallery in the art market. This was a very interesting conversation which I will discuss in further another time. No time right now.

It was already 3.30 by the time I finished up with the talks. I was going to head over to Liste, another art fair but decided to stick around to check out Art Statements. I was a bit disappointed to be honest. I’ve seen better emerging work in Melbourne. There were a few strong pieces that I liked, in particular Alexandre Singh and Ben Rivers. Apart from these however, my overall excitement level for Art Statements is rather muted.

Ok well I’m off now to catch Art Film. Sorry no photos today, I left my camera adapter back at the hostel!

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