5 Local Museum Exhibitions to Visit During Art Basel

Rachel Lebowitz
Jun 11, 2015 1:51PM

It’s just one short week from now that some 300 galleries will come together across Art Basel’s eight sectors—including the emerging-artist-centered Statements section; Unlimited, for unwieldy pieces that need a little more space to breathe; and Parcours, which overflows the modern and contemporary fair’s physical bounds to fill the Swiss city with sculpture and performance. Also awaiting outside the fair in Basel (and its environs) is a bevy of museum exhibitions that are must-sees for locals and visitors alike—here are Artsy’s top five.

Scottish artist Martin Boyce’s exhibition at the Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel, organized by Kunstmuseum Basel, includes a restaging of Do Words Have Voices, the installation that won him the 2011 Turner Prize. Interested in space and our perception of it, and inspired by 20th-century modernism, Boyce renders mundane items—such as stones and leaves—strange and uncanny in his installations and sculptures. The Basel exhibition additionally includes 14 years of his collage work and photography.

Also exhibited are Frank Stella’s sketched-out ideas for future works from the beginning of his career, his pioneering geometric abstractions that anticipated Minimalism, and his later collages in aluminum.

Martin Boyce is on view Apr. 25 – Aug. 16, 2015. A public reception for the exhibition will take place June 17, 6 pm.

“Frank Stella: Paintings & Drawings” is on view May 9–Aug. 30, 2015.

Museum für Gegenwartskunst Basel is located at St. Alban-Rheinweg 60, 4010 Basel, open from 10 am to 6 pm Tues.–Sun. Hours during Art Basel, June 15: 10 am–6 pm; Jun. 16: 10 am–5 pm; Jun. 17: 10 am–8 pm; Jun. 18: 11 am–6 pm; Jun. 19: 10 am–6 pm. Free admission through the end of 2015.

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden and Paul Gauguin at Fondation Beyeler

The Widow, 2013
"Marlene Dumas" at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen (2015)
Contes Barbares (Primitive Tales), 1902
"Paul Gauguin" at Fondation Beyeler, Riehen, (2015)

The Renzo Piano-designed Fondation Beyeler boasts not one but two hard-hitting exhibitions during the fair—both of which abound with eroticism and enigmatic intrigue, albeit in very different forms. Fresh from Tate Modern, the most comprehensive European exhibition of Marlene Dumas’s fascinatingly unsettling work makes its final stop of a three-leg jaunt across Europe (which began at the Stedelijk Museum last September). The show includes more than 100 of the South African artist’s politics- and pop culture–inspired works from the past 40 years.

Meanwhile, the Fondation has also assembled some 50 works by preeminent 19th-century Post-Impressionist Paul Gauguin. From sculptures to self-portraits to exoticized images of scantily clad Tahitian women, the pieces come together to narrate Gauguin’s yearning for a pre-modern utopia.

“Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden” is on view May 31–Sept. 6, 2015.

Paul Gauguin is on view Feb. 8–Jun. 28, 2015.

Fondation Beyeler is located at Baselstrasse 101, CH-4125 Riehen/Basel, open from 9 am to 6 pm Mon.–Sun. and until 8 pm Wed. Open until 7 pm Sat., Jun. 13–Sun., Jun. 21. Adults CHF/ €28, ages 11–19 CHF / €6, Students under age 30 CHF / €12, children under 11 free admission.

Anicka Yi: 7,070,430K of Digital Spit at Kunsthalle Basel

After making waves this spring at The Kitchen in New York City, Anicka Yi transforms Kunsthalle Basel’s entire first level into a “retrospective” on the last five years of her practice—achieved entirely through new works. Continuing to use impermanent materials and examine less-than-happy subjects, Yi has partnered with the Fondation d’entreprise Galeries Lafayette to produce an artwork/book that is intended to be burned after it’s read. The publication also contains the “exhibition-specific smell” that helps disseminate (literally, as it passes through the gallery space) the show’s overarching theme of forgetting.

“Anicka Yi: 7,070,430K of Digital Spit” is on view June 12–Aug. 16, 2015.

Kunsthalle Basel is located at Steinenberg 7, CH-4051 Basel, open from 11 am to 6 pm Tue., Wed., Fri., from 11 am to 8:30 pm Thurs., and from 11 am to 5 pm Sat.– Sun. During Art Basel (Jun. 15–21, 2015), open from 10 am to 8 pm Mon.–Tues. and Thurs.–Sun. and from 10 am to 10 pm Wed. Adults CHF 12, reduced CHF 8 (also permits entry to the Swiss Architecture Museum).

Lara Almarcegui at Kunsthaus Baselland

A former factory building poised between the city of Basel and its adjacent countryside, Kunsthaus Baselland is currently home to Rotterdam-based Spanish artist Lara Almarcegui’s first Swiss solo show. Almarcegui’s practice focuses on the construction and deconstruction of cities over time. Known for her 2013 Venice Biennale installation—in which she filled the Spanish Pavilion with smashed bricks, roofing tiles, and other industrial detritus from demolition projects within the city of Venice—she presents a similar project at the Kunsthaus, this time sourcing her urban materials from Basel.

Also on view is Swede Alexander Gutke’s first major museum show, which features new works that continue the artist’s interest in using film projection to sculpt viewers’ experiences of the gallery space.

Lara Almarcegui and Alexander Gutke are both on view May 22–Jul. 12, 2015.

An artist talk and book launch with Lara Almarcegui will take place on June 18th, 10 am.

Kunsthaus Baselland is located at St. Jakob-Strasse 170, 4132 Muttenz/Basel, Schweiz, open from 11 am to 5 pm Tues. and Thurs.–Sun. and from 2 to 8 pm Wed. During Art Basel (June 15–21, 2015), the Kunsthaus is open from 10 am to 6 pm Mon.–Tues, Thurs.–Sun. and from 2 to 8 pm Wed. Standard admission Sfr. 9, discounted admission Sfr. 6.

Installation view of “Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design” at Vitra Design Museum, courtesy of Vitra Design Museum

Ponte City, Windows, 2009
"Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design" at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein (2015)
Lethabo Tsatsinyane , 2010
"Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design" at Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein (2015)

Just a short jog across the German border, this polyphonic exhibition at the Frank Gehry–designed museum brings together more than 120 African designers and artists, each with his or her own voice, yet all representing a generation steeped in the rapidly developing global information exchange. Encompassing works ranging from fashion to furniture to photography—including vibrant images from up-and-comer Omar Victor Diop—the show sheds light on the continent’s (often liberally interpreted) design practices and the ways in which modern-day African creators interact with local political and economic development.

“Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design” is on view Mar. 14–Sept. 13, 2015.

Vitra Design Museum is located at Charles-Eames-Strasse 2, D-79576 Weil am Rhein, Germany, open from 10 am to 6 pm Mon.–Sun. General admission €10, reduced price €8.

Rachel Lebowitz
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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019