Art Basel 2015: The Review

One of my very good clients is fortunate to live in Basel, Switzerland. A firm collector of Walter Dolphyn’s paintings, he has supported both our gallery and Walter for many years and as a result the relationship between the three of us is now one of good friendship involving a lot of laughter and deep respect.

On our latest trip to Basel, Walter and I planned our visit to coincide with Art Basel, the world’s leading international art fair for modern and contemporary works. On Monday evening, clutching our VIP tickets, we headed off to the preview for Unlimited, the section of the fair dedicated to artworks ranging from the large to gigantic and including video projections and sculptural installations. Wholly immersive with colourful installations, Unlimited is ‘fun’ – hammocks to swing in whilst drinking tea, parachutes billowing above our heads, excellent video installations – Darren Bader’s “The Vagrant” about the development of sculpture in space (we watched as a giant piñata in space was smashed open by a rocket launched from earth, releasing cubes of iced milk which, when entering the earth’s atmosphere, turn into milk rain) particularly caught our attention.

The following day, having escaped being ‘gin and tonic’ed’ – a very real threat if you have ever met Walter – we set off for the VIP preview to Art Basel. WOW. The frenzied energy, excitement and tangible buzz of this art fair were unlike any I have ever experienced. The sights and sounds were pretty overwhelming and having found a place for coffee, we scanned the floor plan and made our attack.

We saw everything from Picasso to Giacometti through to Rauschenberg (Pace Gallery sold out immediately) and Martin Creed. It was fascinating going around with Walter – how we would pick up on completely different elements, most of which would make us chuckle, our imaginations firing. Who knows what we might see at his next exhibition in 2016!

With US$ 3.4 billion having been spent already at Art Basel 2015, it looks like contemporary art market sales just keep on growing.


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