Art Basel 2022: under brighter skies as the art market rebounds

Art Basel, the great art fair, opens Tuesday for its 2022 edition in a more favorable market climate, after two years turned upside down by the pandemic.

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Some 289 galleries, among the most prestigious and from around forty countries, will present their finest pieces to wealthy collectors for whom the Art Basel fair is one of the major events not to be missed.

The greatest signatures of contemporary art, including the Franco-American sculptor Louise Bourgeois and the German painter Gerhard Richter, will be exhibited for sale alongside works by young artists such as the British Thomas J. Price, the American Theaster Gates or his compatriot Kennedy Yanko.

The Russian feminist collective Pussy Riots will also be part of a punk concert on Tuesday evening organized with the support of the fair to give a voice to these activists who are very critical of the regime of Vladimir Putin, the donations collected during the event being donated to a children’s hospital in Ukraine.

Reduced to an online edition in 2020, then pushed back to September 2021 due to health restrictions, the Basel art fair should this year approach its pre-pandemic splendor, once again becoming the showcase for the art market. ‘contemporary art.

“I expect a very enthusiastic atmosphere,” predicted Hans Laenen, client manager for Asia Pacific and Europe at Axa XL, the insurance group’s branch specializing in the art market during from an interview with AFP.

art basel
Jeff Koons, ”Moonfaces, Leonardo da Vinci”, Art Basel, Basel, June 14 iunie, 2022. Photo: Profimedia

This edition will be “the first real fair”, “without restrictions”, where visitors will be able to take full advantage of the entertainment, he underlines, noting that “the feeling among gallery owners is rather optimistic”.

After a fall of 22% in 2020, the art market experienced a sharp rebound of 29% in 2021 to rise to 65.1 billion dollars (62.4 billion euros), according to Clare McAndrew, a specialist in art market, which publishes an annual report for the Art Basel fair.

Safe investment

While this rebound mainly benefited auction houses, art galleries also saw their sales recover by 18%, to $34.7 billion, while remaining below their 2019 levels.

But according to Hans Laenen, auction records help create a climate of confidence for collectors who also buy from major galleries, at a time when art could also regain its status as a safe haven in the face of war. in Ukraine, the stock market shocks and the tightening of monetary policies in an attempt to curb inflation.

“All the ingredients are there for the Art Basel fair to be a great success”, according to him.

Basel is the historical cradle of this fair which has since expanded by organizing an event each year in Hong Kong and Miami, and is due to take over from the Fiac in Paris next October.

This edition in Basel, the city where the artist Jean Tingely grew up, will be an opportunity for the organizers to demonstrate their know-how while the change of organizer has had the effect of a thunderclap in the world. of Parisian art.

During the event, the city on the banks of the Rhine always vibrates to the rhythm of the fair, with numerous artistic events being added to take advantage of the arrival of wealthy collectors. Among other things, the Beyeler Foundation, named after a famous Basel art dealer, will pay tribute to Ukrainian artists by displaying works by photographer Boris Mikhailov across the city.

The Art Basel fair will open its doors to the public from the 16th to the 19th after two and a half days reserved for collectors.


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