45th Art Basel: an interview with Marc Spiegler

Mara Sartore: Art Basel is today the leading fair in Europe, Americas and Asia, which are in your vision the challenges for the next future?

Marc Spiegler: The art world is changing so rapidly that like everyone we have to sprint to stay on top of what’s going on with the newest art scenes, galleries and artists. What’s particular to Art Basel is that we’re in the middle of building a bridge that spans between the cultural scenes of East and West. It’s endlessly exciting to watch what flows across that bridge.

Mara: Could you briefly tell us the main characteristics of each one of the 3 Art Basel?

Marc: What makes each show unique is the region in which they take place. In Hong Kong over 50% of our exhibitors have galleries in Asia and the Asia Pacific. In Miami Beach there is a definite American and Latin American flavor, and at our show in Basel you see a majority of the galleries coming from Europe. Each show’s individuality becomes most obvious outside of the exhibition halls, as the cities also greatly influence the character of our shows. Hong Kong is a metropolis, Miami Beach has a distinctly Latin edge and Basel is very European, with its rich cultural history and tradition and with its incredible array of museums and art institutions.

Mara: In which specific area of interest you see the future development of Art Basel, to say it in a simpler way, in which direction you think you still want to grow?

Marc: We don’t have plans to establish any more Art Basel shows. Our fair focus is on really establishing the Hong Kong show as we look to its third year in March 2015. 

Mara: Could you tell us 3 things we shouldn’t miss this year at Art Basel?


1) The Statements sector, dedicated to younger galleries, which this year moves into Hall 2 alongside the Galleries sector, giving this younger generation a more prominent placement within the show. The Lower East Side of New York and Berlin are – not surprisingly – very well-represented.

2) Unlimited is always ‘not to be missed’, and this year will feature 78 large-scale projects, including Anthony Caro’s very last sculptures ‘River Run’ (2013), Carl Andre’s 100-meter long floor work ‘Steel Peneplain’ (1982) and Hanne Darboven’s historically super-significant work ‘Kinder Dieser Welt / Children of the World’ (1990-1996).

3) ‘14 Rooms’, our collaboration with the Fondation Beyeler and Theater Basel, a perfomative exhibition two minutes from Messeplatz, right behind Unlimited. Curated by Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist. The 14 artists cover four continents and five generations: Marina Abramović, Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, Ed Atkins, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Damien Hirst, Joan Jonas, Laura Lima, Bruce Nauman, Otobong Nkanga, Roman Ondák, Yoko Ono, Tino Sehgal, Santiago Sierra, and Xu Zhen. Two more works join the architectural environment conceived by Herzog & de Meuron. Jordan Wolfson’s acting as an epilogue, John Baldessari’s as an archival documentation. Both challenge the very notions of live art and the human experience as set out for ’14 Rooms’.

  • Web:
    Art Basel
  • Photo credits:
    Marc Spiegler Director Courtesy Art Basel


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