Art Basel fair breathes life back into moribund market

Art Basel fair breathes life back into moribund market

Art Basel, the world’s top contemporary art fair, has returned to the Swiss city after a year’s gap due to Covid-19 curbs, drawing hordes of wealthy buyers and breathing life into a market devastated by the pandemic. Despite the near-total absence of US collectors — a key client base for artists and galleries — big-money buyers were back from Tuesday to preview the works before the event opens to the public for three days from Friday. After last year’s cancellation, some 272 galleries from 33 countries returned to showcase both emerging artists and major contemporary art figures such as David Hockney, Frank Bowling and Olafur Eliasson. Exhibitors were impatiently awaiting Art Basel’s return, but at the end of August, the United States advised against travel to Switzerland, raising fears that the pandemic would spoil the comeback. “We had an environment which was suddenly very tense,” Art Basel’s global director Marc Spiegler told AFP. But he said the fair had tried to remove all trac
Art Basel, the world’s top contemporary art fair, has returned to the Swiss city after a year’s gap due to Covid-19 curbs, drawing hordes of wealthy buyers and breathing life into a market devastated by the pandemic. Despite the near-total absence of US collectors — a key client base for artists and galleries — big-money buyers were back from Tuesday to preview the works before the event opens to the public for three days from Friday. After last year’s cancellation, some 272 galleries from 33 countries returned to showcase both emerging artists and major contemporary art figures such as David Hockney, Frank Bowling and Olafur Eliasson. Exhibitors were impatiently awaiting Art Basel’s return, but at the end of August, the United States advised against travel to Switzerland, raising fears that the pandemic would spoil the comeback. “We had an environment which was suddenly very tense,” Art Basel’s global director Marc Spiegler told AFP. But he said the fair had tried to remove all trac