“There are important museums in Basel, but the city is divided between the more established Gross-Basel and the more experimental Klein-Basel”
Plus, it has a much less explored suburban industrial fringe zone, with occasional club-like establishments and all kinds of nightly happenings.
Traditionally Kunsthalle Basel is dedicated to present emergent artists, in which way do you pursue this mission?
At the moment we have a show by Ahmet Öğüt, a Turkish artist born in 1981, and another one by Aleana Egan, who was born in Dublin in 1979. Neither of them have had an important institutional solo show before. At the same time, we often look retrospectively towards some major artists who escaped the attention of museums or were too radical to be shown when they were making work. For instance, two years ago we organized the first European retrospective of American artist Lee Lozano (1930-1999), who moved from painting to conceptual statement and then decided to leave the art world entirely, while changing name to “E”, for “energy”.
Basel holds a very particular position in the international art world thanks to Art Basel, along with an impressive number of museums and private foundations. What kind of impact do all these realities have on the city?
Art world invades the city once during the year, in early June, for Art Basel but there is also a constant and slower flow of international visitors, who come to see exhibitions and cutting-edge architecture throughout the whole year.
“There is also a great art-loving local audience, who makes it a pleasure to run the Basler Kunstverein, with its almost 2,000 members”