Guiseppe Bernstein

Giuseppe @ ART BASEL in BASEL

By Guiseppe Bernstein

Just as I thought I would catch my breath, another flight across the globe has me surveying one white cube filled with art after another. Where am I these days? Oh yeah, I’m at Art Basel in Basel, Switzerland, the original one.

With over 300 leading galleries from North America, Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa showing everything from great masters of Modern and Contemporary Art to the latest generation of emerging artist. It’s the reason the parties are so libatious. If I weren’t properly lubricated yours truly would catch a rug burn from dragging myself down yet another carpeted corridor. Every artistic medium is represented at this Basel: paintings, sculpture, installations, videos, multiples, prints, photography, and performance.

Here are the staple names of artist we all know and buyers love:  Bourgeois, Close, Koons, Pettibon, Murakami, Weiwei . The European and American markets are showing up in full force this week as the fair opened to the public today.

(LEFT) Eugene Atget Cabaret de l'homme armé, rue des Blancs Manteaux, c. 1900  (RIGHT)Edward Steichen Matches and Match Boxes. Fabric Design for Stehli Silk Corp., 1926 Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery

(LEFT) Eugene Atget
Cabaret de l’homme armé, rue des Blancs Manteaux, c. 1900
(RIGHT)Edward Steichen
Matches and Match Boxes. Fabric Design for Stehli Silk Corp., 1926
Courtesy of Howard Greenberg Gallery

Among the first to enter the fair of course, I was stopped in my tracks several times. Seeing the beautiful photography at  Howard Greenberg Gallery, such as this portrait by Eugene Atget and still life by Edward Steichen, offered a balance to the other photography shown at fellow New Yorker, Bruce Silverstein Gallery. Todd Hido at Silverstein holds up nicely beside the photographic greats and add something that was missing on the showroom floor – a bit of risk taking. (more…)

Art Basel Hong Kong in Review

By Guiseppe Bernstein

Art Basel | Hong Kong 2013 | Dominique Lévy Gallery

Andy Warhol works at Dominique Lévy Gallery

With Swiss-like punctuality and clock-time accuracy, everything ran extremely smooth. Galleries were perhaps second guessing what the Chinese buyers were looking for and as such the risks we associate with Art Basel in Miami Beach and Art Basel in Basel were missing. Video and installation works were lacking, instead there was an overwhelming amount of painting and sculpture. Having been to the VIP previews for art fairs across the US, I notice a hustle and hurry atmosphere in which American and European collectors are rushing to booths to buy pieces from their favorite artists. Most sales happen within the first 3 hours! But instead, ABHK seemed to be relaxed as the Ruinart champagne flowed. With over 60,000 visitors by the events end and sales just as strong from public offerings as those of the VIP, one would say this fair was a real crowd pleaser as consensus has been that its opening edition “ABHK played it safe.” That’s not to say sales weren’t happening, on the contrary. Opening in 2008 as ART Hong Kong to a city with relatively no art fair experience, it is now under Swiss management and the art festival set high standards for gallery selection. With fewer galleries admitted into the fair, the buyers that did come had a lot more space than accustomed to and new art collectors had time to walk booth to booth, go home and research, and then come back to purchase art throughout the duration of the fair as sales continued strong until the last day. (more…)