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MIAMI BEACH, FL – DECEMBER 01: A patron views art at Luhring Augustine during Art Basel Miami Beach 2010 at the Miami Beach Convention Center on December 1, 2010 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Elizabeth Burks/Getty Images)

Bringing the International Artworld Together

“In Switzerland this past week, Art Basel – the world’s premier fair devoted to modern and contemporary art – tested whether wealthy collectors were as willing to buy from galleries as auction. They were.”

Scott Reyburn
The New York Times

The Show

008_art-basel-miami-beach_theredlistAt the nexus of North America and Latin America, Art | Basel Miami Beach show presents artworks from across the globe. Over 250 of the world’s leading galleries participate, drawing over 70,000 visitors each year.

With miles of sandy beaches dotted with classic Art Deco architecture, world-class art museums, and a glittering nightlife, Miami Beach ranks among America’s most iconic cities. During Art Basel, it embraces the art world with special exhibitions at museums and galleries across the city, transforming the week into a dense and dynamic cultural event.

Art Basel stages the world’s premier Modern and contemporary art fairs, staged annually in Basel, Miami Beach, and Hong Kong. A driving force in supporting the role that galleries play in nurturing the careers of their artists, Art Basel frequently expands its platforms to include the newest developments in the visual arts.

Art | Basel History

In 1970, three Basel gallerists put their passion and determination behind an ambitious vision to form an international art fair. Now, Art Basel stages the premier international art shows, providing platforms for galleries and artists from around the world.

Explore our timeline to see the highlights of Art Basel’s history.



Art gallerists Ernst Beyeler, Trudi Bruckner and Balz Hilt of Basel create an international art fair that proves to be a success from the start. More than 16,000 visitors attend the inaugural show to see 90 galleries and 30 publishers from 10 countries.


American Art after Jackson Pollock’ is the first special exhibition at Art Basel, followed by a series of other “one-country” exhibitions.


The new sector Neue Tendenzen (‘New Trends’), aims at promoting young artists. 50 galleries take part, including Castelli from New York, Sonnabend from Paris, Sperone from Turin, and Verna and Ziegler from Zurich.


Only five years after its founding, the Basel show reaches its current size of almost 300 exhibitors. The participating galleries come from 21 countries, attracting 37,000 visitors.


Perspective replaces the Neue Tendenzen sector, featuring solo shows of 16 then-little-known artists. Among them are John Armleder, Tony Cragg, Peter Fischli and David Weiss, Beat Streuli and Martin Disler, Julian Opie, Jean-Frédéric Schnyder, Helmut Federle, and General Idea.


To celebrate 150 years of photography, 16 galleries from the International Association of Photography Art Dealers present top-quality images spanning the entire history of the medium. Due to the following five thematic Art Photography exhibitions, Art Basel becomes one of the artworld’s leading platforms for promoting the medium.


After two years as a separate fair, Edition is integrated as a sector, with 15 top international galleries taking part. The new Young Galleries sector promotes galleries offering a collection by young artists not yet firmly established in the market.


The Art Video Forum platform debuts. Pipilotti Rist and Enrique Fontanilles are the first recipients of the video art prize endowed by the main partner the Swiss Bank Corporation (which later merged with Union Bank of Switzerland to become UBS, now our Lead Global Partner).


Young Galleries is replaced by Statements, presenting 23 solo shows by young artists, establishing this sector as a springboard for international recognition. Emerging from their first appearance in Statements are major names such as Ghada Amer, Kader Attia, Vanessa Beecroft, Pierre Huyghe, William Kentridge, Mariko Mori, Ernesto Neto, João Onofre, Jorge Pardo, Manfred Pernice, Elisabeth Peyton, Ugo Rondinone, Hans Schabus, Gregor Schneider, Kara Walker and Gary Webb.


The Film sector – devoted to films by and about artists – debuts at the Stadtkino Basel.


The Unlimited platform revolutionizes the classic exhibition booth by creating an open-plan environment that plays host to all types of ambitious contemporary media: installations, monumental sculptures, large-scale paintings, video works, and performance arts.

First special exhibition devoted to Artist Books, an art form ordinarily accorded marginal attention at art fairs.


Art Basel debuts in Miami Beach. It immediately establishes itself as the premier show in the Americas, and ranks among the favorite winter events of the international artworld. Positions introduces a radical new sector, with galleries exhibiting young artists near the beach in temporarily converted shipping containers.


The Nova sector begins its long run in Miami Beach, focusing on recent works by artists of all generations.


A series of panel discussions were introduced with leading members of the art world providing exclusive access to first-hand information on collecting and exhibiting art. Panelists include prominent art collectors, museum directors, biennale curators, artists, art critics, and architects.

Under the title of Public Art Projects, projects of an institutional scale are presented in the spacious, revamped exhibition area on Messeplatz.


The new Kabinett sector, which gives the Galleries sector’s exhibitors a chance to create special exhibitions within their booth, proves to be a favorite among artworld connoisseurs.


The Ball of Artists, an aural and visual artwork, is experienced by 1,200 attendees at the Vizcaya Museum and Gardens in Miami, thus beginning a dialog between the historic house and gardens and the contemporary artworld. Several semi-permanent installations remain on site after the event for park visitors.


For its 40th anniversary, Art Basel presents ‘Il Tempo del Postino’, a visual arts “opera” of time-based art, directed by curator Hans Ulrich Obrist and artists Philippe Parreno, Anri Sala, and Rirkrit Tiravanija. The presentation, which premiered at the 2007 Manchester International Festival, was organized by Art Basel in cooperation with Fondation Beyeler and Theater Basel.


Debut of the Parcours sector, expanding the show beyond Messeplatz, presenting site-specific public artworks and performances in the historical neighborhoods of Basel.

The new Feature sector, replacing Art Premiere, offers gallerists a chance to participate in the show with historical material, solo shows by artists of all ages and precise curatorial juxtapositions.

Art Basel hosts Creative Time’s Oceanfront Nights, a nightly program sited in an open-air pavilion, in Miami Beach.


The show in Miami Beach celebrates its 10th edition with the first visual arts-related event held at the New World Symphony building: a vertical one-night event created by Performa, to engage all three floors of the building designed by Frank Gehry.

The Art Video program is screened on the building’s 7,000-square-foot outdoor projection wall, while the Public sector is consolidated in a new location, Collins Park, and co-produced with the Bass Museum of Art.


Art Basel launches its inaugural show in Hong Kong. Half of the participating galleries come from Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, confirming Art Basel’s desire to build a cultural bridge between the long-established Western artworld and the vibrant new scenes of the entire region.


Curators Klaus Biesenbach and Hans Ulrich Obrist invite international artists to each activate a room, and explore the relationship between space, time and physicality, giving life to ’14 Rooms’, a collaboration between Fondation Beyeler, Art Basel and Theater Basel.

Art Basel partners with Kickstarter to create the Crowdfunding initiative aimed at funding non-profit visual arts organizations worldwide.

Together with JRP Ringier, Art Basel publishes ‘Art Basel | Year 44’ the first book that covers all three shows on three continents, showcasing 527 participating galleries.


BMW and Art Basel collaborate to reward the most promising artistic talents from Discoveries in Hong Kong and Positions in Miami Beach with the inaugural BMW Art Journey award.

The executive-education program ‘Collecting Contemporary Art’ in Hong Kong is launched by Art Basel, HKU SPACE Centre for Degree Programmes (CDP) and Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design (CSM).

By IDS Promo

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