Happening now: Art 43 Basel

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Humid rainstorms are rolling around again, coinciding with the incoming flurry of international visitors at the 43rd edition of Art Basel in Switzerland. Part mega-collector showdown, part art educational programming, several specially-selected curatorial features will accompany Art 43 Basel. The annual fair runs from June 14-17 in Basel, Switzerland.

Art Parcours promises to be an exciting assortment of site-specific artistic interventions, recalling the many satellite events of the Venice Bienniale.

A medieval printing shop and hidden water-pumping station are among the historical Basel-centric locations chosen for these public events. On Wednesday, June 13, from 8 pm-12, Los Angeles-based artist Kathryn Andrews will be taking the art circus outside the fair for a variety of Vaudevillian performances along the River Rhine – make it a point to be present for actual clowns and magicians!

Maria Nordman’s Actions in Real Time with any person(s) Arriving that sounds most like an authentic Happening: persons met by “chance and choice” will be active participants in her characteristic “time-specific sculpture”. It’s quite satisfying to see a conceptual performance artist direct attention to social sculpture during the biggest art fair in the world: where the art world converges, everyone is subject to positioning and reconfiguring within the realm of their relationships.

The daily afternoon Art Salon series will feature international curators and art insiders leading quick half-hour conversations about contemporary topics. At this year’s Art Unlimited, 62 galleries will be showing their star artists’ large-scale artworks. Art Statements will showcase 27 solo artists’ projects, and Art Features looks to be a smaller-scale Art Unlimited.

It’s clear that Basel’s organizers don’t see education and business as mutually exclusive motivations, and they should be applauded for their efforts to make a fair more of a festival: one where spontaneity and actual dialogue might occur.

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