In this year without a Documenta or a Venice Biennial, Art Basel seemed somewhat directionless. The Whitney Biennial in New York, the most important group show this year, did not really have a strong impact on the art featured here in Basel.
Eye-catching was the strong presence of large black canvases at four gallery booths by Wade Guyton. His great works did not only make a great contribution to last year’s Venice Biennale, there was also intense speculation at this year’s spring auctions in New York. His ‘paintings’ sold for 7 digit numbers there. Obviously, the dealers want their share from this hype. That’s fine with me, at least Wade Guyton is an excellent artist, who will continue to do great work, whatever collectors are willing to pay for it.
My personal favorite of this year’s Art Basel was William Kentridge’s video ‘Second-hand reading’ at the booth of Goodman Gallery, South Africa. Kentrdige drew all sketches directly in an old book, flipped the pages and thus made an animated film about himself walking around thinking. It is really brilliant!
Already at the first day of the preview sold this wonderful sculpture by Dutch-Iranian artist Navid Nuur at the booth of Galerie Max Hetzler. It is made of floral foam blocks and bears the finger imprints of the artist on it.