Art Basel

The World’s Most Influential Modern Art Shows

By Alona Abbady Martinez

Art Basel, the international art show that began in Basel, Switzerland in 1970, has grown to be one of the biggest worldwide influencers of the international art scene, hosting three thriving shows each year:  Art Basel in Switzerland, Art Basel Hong Kong, and Art Basel Miami.  Providing a platform for galleries to show and sell their work to collectors, museum directors, and curators, it also attracts a large international audience of art spectators and students, making it one of the most anticipated events for art enthusiasts. Established and emerging artists showcase their contemporary art, and galleries wanting to exhibit their work must undergo a strict review by an international selection committee. In addition to the artworks shown by participating galleries, all three shows offer parallel programming produced in collaboration with the host city’s local institutions. All works of art are for sale, with many priced for only those with the highest budgets. Here is a brief highlight of this year’s Art Basel Events:


ART BASEL HONG KONG – March 21st – March 25th

Yaoi Kusama’s Infinity Nets series piece above sold for $450,000 through the David Zwirner Gallery.

The David Zwirner Gallery sold two of three $1.5 million works from Belgian painter Luc Tuymans, including K (2017).

With half of the participating artists coming from Asia and the Asia-Pacific, Art Basel Hong Kong is committed to promoting the region’s diversity and artistic talent in Modern and contemporary art.  Although this is only Hong Kong’s fifth year, they already boasted more than 240 art dealers from 34 countries.  Dealers noted a rapid increase in interest in the region, with wealthy Chinese collectors becoming savvy art experts by visiting museums overseas, reading and learning through social media and other collectors, and becoming fixtures in the art world’s international circuit of fairs.  Galleries, such as David Zwirner found immediate success, selling two of three $1.5 million works from Belgian painter Luc Tuymans within the first hour of the show. The gallery also sold a medium-sized work from Yaoi Kusama’s  “Infinity Nets” series for $450,000, a small Michaël Borremans  Michaël canvas for $420,000.



ART BASEL SWITZERLAND – June 15th – June 18th

The sale of an untitled Eva Hesse work from 1961 sold to a Chinese museum for $2.5 million.

Philip Guston’s Scared Stiff (1970) sold for a price in the region of $15 million.

This year marked the 48th celebration of the annual art fair in its originating city Basel, Switzerland. Presented by its leading partner, UBS, Art Basel Switzerland hosted 291 renown galleries from 34 countries and six continents, presenting works from early 20th century to contemporary artists. Garnering the prize as the most expensive piece sold was Philip Guston’s Scared Stiff (1970), selling for a price in the region of $15 million.  The sale of an untitled Eva Hesse work from 1961 to a Chinese museum for $2.5 million is a testament to the growth of demand from Asian collectors in Art Basel.



ART BASEL MIAMI – December 7th – December 10th

Storm, 1963 by Lee Krasner, sold for $6 million at Art Basel Miami (December 2016).

Mach II, 1964 by Kenneth Noland, sold for approximately $1.25 million at Art Basel Miami (December 2016).

Miami offers pristine beaches, trendy nightclubs, and incredible restaurants, but it is the vibrant and growing art scene Art Basel provides since it was first introduced in 2001 that has elevated the Magic City’s reputation to one of sophistication and culture. This year, over 200 of the world’s leading international Modern and contemporary art galleries will display artworks by over 4,000 artists, including paintings, sculptures, installations, photography, film, video, and digital art ranging from pieces by young artists to museum-caliber masterpieces.  The show highlights Miami’s cultural diversity, with an elite younger generation of gallerists like Altman Siegel (U.S.), GALLERYSKE (India), Labor (Mexico) and Gregor Podnar (Germany), presenting last year for the first time as well as established names like Galerie Greta Meert (Belgium),  Bergamin & Gomide (Brazil), Di Donna (U.S.) and Menconi + Schoelkopf (U.S.), all specializing in Modern art, returning.



Art Basel