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Art Basel #17, reconfiguring the market around essentials

Art Market | The art scene´s recent tendency has been to develop hyper-specialized alternative fairs, often devoted to one specific culture. In this context, Art Basel #17 confirms a new trend observed in 2016 in Art Cologne, the Frieze Art Fair and the FIAC : the reemergence of Western essential works of art. This has led to a reconfiguration of both the market and recent art history.

Franz Erhard Walther, Der Genauigkeit wegen nur lose angelehnt, 1980-83 © Galerie Jocelyn Wolff
Franz Erhard Walther, Der Genauigkeit wegen nur lose angelehnt, 1980-83
© Galerie Jocelyn Wolff

In its 2017 edition, Art Basel is presenting predominantly Western galleries, although it is worth noticing that a great number of “label” or “leader” galleries have become intercontinental with branches in strategic cities around the world. Out of 227 selected galleries, 148 are based in Europe and 59 in the USA and Canada, while there are only 9 Asian and 3 African galleries, all categories combined.

The fair, which represents a leading market thermometer, has carried out this reconfiguration through the integration and reintegration of pioneering artists or deceased artists’ estates that are currently under the spotlight in the market.

At the heart of these issues, the David Zwirner gallery (which manages numerous artists’ estates) is presenting emblematic works by Joseph Beuys’ student, German artist Blinky Palermo (deceased in 1977). Meanwhile, the Perrotin gallery has partnered with the Simon Lee gallery in order to exhibit some of Hans Hartung’s historical works. The Leila Heller gallery (New York, Beyrouth) displays trash cans (1962) by French artist Arman (deceased in 2005), a historical and radical ensemble in line with contemporary issues such as armed conflicts, displacements and remains. The Kamel Mennour gallery (Paris/London) and the Annely Juda gallery (London) have chosen a monumental work by François Morellet (deceased in 2016) for the Unlimited sector, in anticipation of a substantial exhibition at the DIA Foundation in New York.

Other notorious artists are reappearing in major fairs after long years of absence. It is the case of Scottish landscape artist Ian Hamilton Finlay (deceased in 2006), represented by three primary market galleries at the fair : Kewenig (Berlin), David Noland (New York) and Stampa (Basel). Following an emblematic exhibition at the renowned Dijon Consortium in 2015/2016, Swiss conceptual painter Rémy Zaugg (deceased in 2005) is presented by the Nordenhake gallery (Berlin). At 81, German sculptor Franz Erhard Walther reinvests in the organic market; the artist, who won a Venice Biennale Golden Lion this year, has been represented by the Jocelyn Wolf gallery (Paris) for 10 years.

Finally, in the context of a more alternative market, women from historical avant-garde movements keep strengthening the path of their reintegration to art history and to the market. It is the case of Léa Lublin, represented by Déborah Schamoni (Munich) and especially of the Italy-based German artist Irma Blank, who was spotted in Frieze and at the Fiac in 2016 and is currently represented by the following galleries : Gregor Podnar  (Berlin, Ljubljana), Alison Jacques
(London) et P420  (Bologna).

Nina Rodrigues-Ely
Publié le 27/06/2017
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Version française

Franz Erhard Walther, Der Genauigkeit wegen nur lose angelehnt, 1980-83 © Galerie Jocelyn Wolff

Franz Erhard Walther, Der Genauigkeit wegen nur lose angelehnt, 1980-83
© Galerie Jocelyn Wolff

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