Art Basel has catapulted itself from times of crisis back into the top league of art fairs. However, it must be careful not to make the same mistakes as in the past.
Legendary art fair Art Basel has succeeded again. It launched a fair in the French capital Paris under the heading Paris+, which can be described without exaggeration as a coup.
After Art Basel Miami, Art Basel Hong Kong, and now Art Basel Paris, the Basel people had a nose for success. Visitors and, above all, important trade visitors such as museum directors, traveled to Paris in droves from America and Asia.
Many galleries at the Paris+ fair, which ended last Sunday, were sold out on the first day, visitors reported. There is even talk of multi-million-dollar sales from the many backroom deals.
The inaugural edition of Paris+ par Art Basel brought together 156 leading French and international galleries to present exceptional artworks in all categories.
The record number of applications already shows how great the interest was: From over 700 applications, those responsible for the Grand Palais Éphémère selected only the 156 galleries for reasons of space.
The ranks of sponsors was also impressive, and some are even well-known from Basel. Associate partners of Paris+ par Art Basel, for example, are luxury company Louis Vuitton and crypto provider Tezos. Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet is a show partner.
Paris+ is also supported by David Yurman as Official Partner of the Sites sector. Groupe Galeries Lafayette as Official Partner of the Galeries Émergentes sector. BMW as Official Automotive Partner and Vitra as Official Furniture Partner.
The art, actually the most important thing at the new fair, ranged from painting and sculpture to photography and digital works. Beyond the Grand Palais Éphémère, Art Basel had expanded the program through collaborations with Parisian cultural institutions and their locations.
Place Vendôme with Art
Thus, almost the entire French capital was involved. Among them are works open to the public in such emblematic places as the Jardin des Tuileries – Domaine national du Louvre, Place Vendôme, right next to the renovated luxury Ritz Hotel or the hotel classic Park Hyatt, the Musée national Eugène-Delacroix and Chapelle des Petits-Augustins des Beaux-Arts de Paris.
So everyone notices that something is happening again on the art scene in Paris. Online shows and photo and video presentations are also being offered digitally on the Internet, which is quite an exciting concept.
Money is not everything
This is precisely what appeals to many. Karsten Greve, for example, who owns a gallery in St. Moritz as well as a branch in Paris, spoke positively about the new art fair to the press and even welcomed the boost that the event has given the French capital.
However, he sees the danger of American-style commercialization, because exorbitant prices are sometimes paid for the art objects.
The orange banners of Art Basel Paris+ seen in many places across Paris. (Image: media service)
And this is exactly where the fair itself has to watch out. Last but not least, Basel’s trade fair provider, MCH, lost the Baselworld watch and jewelry trade fair, and the response to Art Basel in Switzerland was down because the prices for the exhibition spaces, for hotel rooms in the city on the knee of the Rhine, and just for renting a coffee machine from the fair were outrageously high.
Art Basel Miami is waiting
So let’s hope that Art Basel doesn’t lose its grip on the ground despite its success with Paris+.
In 2024, the Paris+ fair will take place in the renovated Grand Palais, which offers even more space. So everything will be even bigger.
But there is still a lot of time before then. First of all, Art Basel Miami Beach will take place at the beginning of December, and visitors are sure to look forward to that.