The world has once again been hit by the devastating news of a mass killing and the global economy continues to experience foreshocks, suggesting a crack in the market could be around the corner. But spirits among the collectors and art aficionados who flocked to the Monday evening preview of Art Basel Unlimited
remained strong. The sector for institutional-scale artworks too large or otherwise unfit for a traditional fair format kicks off a week of art-world events here. And it was one of the most crowded previews since Unlimited’s inception in 2000.
The Hirshhorn Museum’s Gianni Jetzer curates Art Basel Unlimited for the fifth year in a row. The often-copied but unparalleled platform boasts a record 88 monumental artworks this year—14 more than last year—ranging from paintings and sculptures to installations, moving image works, and performance art. So, while foot traffic was high, the extra art also helps to explain why the 16,000 square meters of exhibition space at the Messe Basel seems to be significantly tighter this time around.
This year’s Unlimited brings together six decades of artists’ work from around the globe, attempting to create dialogues across generations and borders. Asian artists have been given a particularly strong platform, with a number of those on view being lesser-known to the Western art world yet rubbing shoulders at Basel with blue-chip international names.