Art Basel 2023 Opens With A Buzzy Buying Atmosphere

Art Basel

Art Basel, which takes place in Messeplatz in Basel, is known as the fair that unites the international art world. Yesterday, the VIP preview opened to a gathering of familiar faces darting from one end of the convention centre to another, buying work straight off the wall, an art adviser at hand. The fair is mounted all under one roof in a small town the size of Peterborough. It features over 200 leading galleries and over 4,000 artists from five continents. Many high-quality satellite exhibitions also occur concurrently in and around Basel, creating a city-wide art week.

The priciest work to have sold during the VIP preview yesterday was a 1996 Louise Bourgeois bronze sculpture at Hauser & Wirth, which spun off the wall for $22.5m to a US collector. While a painting by The Irish American painter Sean Scully is said to have sold for £850.000. Also, David Zwirner and Sprüth Magers jointly sold a Barbara Kruger for $1.3 million and a Gerhard Richter for $2.5 million. 

Art Basel is still one of the most important international art fairs. Each June, the fair unveils an array of rare works of art, which acts like a barometer showing how well the market is holding up. The fair showcases modern and contemporary art from galleries and artists worldwide.

Each Art Basel event attracts collectors, art enthusiasts, curators, and industry professionals, offering a platform for galleries to exhibit and sell artworks. The fair features various artistic mediums, including paintings, sculptures, installations, photographs, videos, and digital art.

Art Basel Basel: This is the original edition of the fair and typically takes place in June. It is held at the Messe Basel exhibition centre in Basel, Switzerland. Art Basel Basel has a long history, dating back to 1970, and is considered one of the most prestigious art fairs globally.

Art Basel is divided into sectors. Each sector has a specific focus, from monumental works to solo presentations by emerging artists. Discover them below.


View the galleries participating in the fair’s primary sector, where works by Modern masters are neighbour pieces by the world’s most prestigious contemporary artists and young talents.


Immerse yourself in the sector for monumental projects that transcend the classical art fair booth. Giovanni Carmine curates unlimited. 


Explore the sector for precisely curated, historical solo presentations by 20th- and 21st-century artists.


Discover the bold solo projects in the sector dedicated to emerging artists, eligible for the renowned Baloise Art Prize. 


View the galleries and publishers participating in the sector for editioned works, prints, and multiples.


See the projects featured in Parcours, the sector for site-specific works unfolding in Basel’s Old Town. Parcours is curated by Samuel Leuenberger. 


Discover the sector for curated selections displayed by galleries in a separate section of their booth, including thematic group exhibitions, art-historical showcases, and solo presentations. The 2023 projects will be announced soon.


Learn more about the works featured in the sector dedicated to FilmFilm by artists and about artists. FilmFilm is curated by Filipa Ramos with Marian Masone.

Messeplatz Project

Learn more about this year’s Messeplatz project – a site-specific presentation by Moroccan, Swiss-based artist Latifa Echakhch, curated by Samuel Leuenberger, Curator for Parcours at Art Basel. 


With free admission to the public, Conversations brings over 50 of today’s most inspiring cultural figures across 12 panels. Experience live debates and learn from thought leaders as they exchange on the key topics shaping the world of art and culture. This year’s Conversations program focuses on care, collectivity, and connectivity and is curated by Emily Butler.

The Art Basel fair features a curated selection of galleries, and participating galleries often present solo shows or themed group exhibitions. In addition to the gallery booths, there are usually specialised sections and projects, such as curated sectors focusing on specific themes, presentations by emerging artists, and large-scale installations.

Art Basel has become an important meeting point for the global art community, facilitating networking, knowledge exchange, and the discovery of new artistic trends. The fairs also include a program of talks, panel discussions, and events that explore various aspects of contemporary art and its market.

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