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Art Basel opens amid volatile economic situation

a large crowd of people wait to enter the Art Basel fair
Despite slightly weaker market conditions last year, the organisers of Art Basel are very optimistic about the upcoming days of the fair. Keystone / Georgios Kefalas

The world's most important art fair, Art Basel, opens its doors on Monday for its 54th edition. Despite slightly weaker market conditions last year, the organisers are optimistic about the success of the upcoming fair.

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The 4% slowdown in the global art market was expected following the post-pandemic upswing, according to the latest art market report by Art Basel and UBS. For Art Basel Director Maike Cruse, the upcoming edition of the art fair will serve as a benchmark for the current state of the market.

The Art Basel director is optimistic. The galleries’ programmes are excellent and many important collectors have registered, she told the Keystone-SDA news agency.

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Art Basel, at its birthplace in the city of Basel in northwestern Switzerland, is still the largest and most important of a network of fairs with offshoots in Miami, Hong Kong and, for the past two years, Paris. A total of 285 galleries from 40 countries were selected, including major art trade groups. This year, 22 galleries will be taking part for the first time. “It is very important to me to implement a generational change,” said Cruse.

Bonus points: intimacy and art affinity

The fair director also attaches great importance to anchoring the fair firmly in the city of Basel. She sees the intimacy and simultaneous affinity with art as a major plus for Basel. “It’s a combination that is otherwise only found every two years at the Art Biennale in Venice and every five years at the Documenta in Kassel”, she said. The international art scene also appreciates this very much.

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Art Basel opens on June 10 and 11 for VIP guests. After the exhibition day on June 12, the fair will be open to the general public from June 13-16. Starting today, the so-called, “Art Parcours,” a free trail of exhibitions from the Mittlere Brücke [bridge over the Rhine River] to the Messeplatz will be open to the public.

Adapted from German by DeepL/dkk/sb

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