Each and every summer, the art world glitterati descend onto the Swiss city of Basel for the annual Art Basel fair. This year saw the world’s top collectors, curators, and artists converge at the mega fair. This year galleries made sure to bring the best of the best from their rosters. Galleries decided to take advantage of the recent publicity from the Venice Biennale, and show artists who participated there this year. Many of the finest modern and contemporary art works on the market were on display. The fair was also a huge money maker for the galleries present, with seemingly all galleries making spectacular sales by the end of the second day.
In terms of Middle Eastern artists, the ‘usual suspects’ were strongly present this year. New York’s Sperone Westwater brought beautiful works by Ali Banisadr and Nabil Nahas. The Banisadr sold within the first few minutes of the fair, with no available Banisadr’s currently on the market. All of Banisadr’s gallerists have long waiting lists for his highly in-demand works. Ropac and Galerie Perrotin brought several works by Iranian legend Farhad Moshiri. Beautiful, delicate works by Shirazeh Houshirary were also on display at both Lehman Maupin and Lisson, and were sold by the end of the fair. Walid Raad was displayed prominently at the fair, with 3 galleries each dedicating an entire wall for his work.
Galerie Sfeir Semler, the only Middle Eastern-based gallery to participate in the main fair, saw brisk sales. The gallery had beautiful works by Akram Zaatari (who represented Lebanon at this year’s Venice Biennale), Timo Nasseri, Walid Raad, and Lebanese legend Etel Adnan on display. The work at the stand was beautifully selected, and it turned out to be one of my favorite booths.