The “King” of art fairs is fertile ground for fresh perspectives — and ripe with opportunities for smart collectors, explains Natalie Hegert, who spoke to this year’s newest participants.
Galleries roll out their best for Art Basel — a fair often cited as the world’s most distinguished and important. Despite its lofty status, however, the event is fertile ground for those seeking fresh talent. Each year, first-time exhibitors bring new artists from across the world, with special projects tapping into new perspectives, or offering a fresh take on historic moments in art history. For smart collectors, these new participants are worth keeping an eye on.
This year’s edition of Art Basel, open to the public from June 15 to 18, features 17 new galleries, some of which have already participated in editions of the event in Miami Beach or Hong Kong.
A platform for art world trailblazers?
For some, the honor of participating in Art Basel is historic. “I am honored to be one of the first African American galleries to exhibit at Art Basel,” remarks San Francisco gallerist Karen Jenkins-Johnson, whose gallery is celebrating its 21st year. Inclusion in Art Basel marks not only “an exciting milestone” for the gallery, but offers an opportunity for her to “be a trailblazer for gallerists of color to participate in the world’s most important art show,” she says.
In the Feature sector, Jenkins Johnson Gallery is presenting a solo presentation of civil rights-era photographs by Gordon Parks, which he described as “a weapon against all the things I dislike about America – poverty, racism, discrimination.” In the Film sector, Jenkins Johnson presents work by Mohau Modisakeng and Carlos Javier Ortiz. “There is no better time than now for us as a global society to discuss the important issues impacting our fellow man,” Jenkins-Johnson says of Parks’ work — proof that Art Basel can provide a platform for more than just placing art in collections.