Art Basel (the venerable Swiss original) is, to many, the mother of all international art fairs. The most recent edition in June attracted buyers from over 80 countries and hosted over 93,000 art seekers and merchants, offering up — booth by booth (over 290) in its gargantuan main building — this season’s cream of gallery inventories so that VICs (Very Important Collectors) could forage for their newest acquisitions on Preview Day Zero and leave the rest of the browsing world whatever they passed over. The smiley-face murmur of the hustle was everywhere, and if you were merely a journalist wafting through without the scent of conspicuous consumption, you were left, invisibly, to cherry-pick highlights undisturbed. In search of the epiphanic frissons that a potent work of art can deliver, one began to mentally curate one’s greatest hits du jour. So I have settled upon 20 from an exhausting three-day walkabout that felt not only worthy of sharing but sufficiently translatable into photographic evidence. Some work is just too thematically subtle to convey on a page, others too chromatically or texturally fugitive.
Then there’s the sheer subjectivity of the scheme: No two humans will choose the same 20, and the categories begin to take prejudiced directions. I finally, for instance, had to admit to a sort of jaded fatigue around much of the abstract painting on view, bordering on the heretical, so there’s only one here that would qualify. It was the human form, the most protean of projects, that consistently seduced. At the least, these are 20 artworks that may well disappear into the private sanctums of the wealthy, here spotlighted and savored.
Top 20 Gallery Highlights
title='<i>Untitled</i>, 1970. Galerie Frank Elbaz.'
data-description="<i>Untitled</i>, 1970. Galerie Frank Elbaz."
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Untitled, 1970. Galerie Frank Elbaz.