ABOVE: Art Basel 2018, running June 12-17, in Basel, Switzerland, features artwork by Katharina Grosse. (Courtesy: Art Basel)

Art Basel 2018 opened in Basel, Switzerland, today, June 12, with the traditional champagne breakfast. It was followed by throngs of invited collectors and other private visitors filing into the grounds of the Swiss exhibition site Messe Basel at Messeplatz 10 to get an initial look at more the 4,000 works from 290 exhibitors.

Katharina Grosse, untitled.

Katharina Grosse, untitled (Courtesy: Art Basel)

The annual show in the town of 175,000 — situated along the Rhine River in central Switzerland — opens to the general public on Thursday, June 14, and runs through June 17. Nearly 100,000 people are expected to attend.

The Galleries sector is the main component of the show in which a vast range of works by historical, established and emerging artists can be viewed and purchased.

A sample of heavyweight artists includes: Ai Weiwei, Josef Albers, John Baldesarri, Matthew Barney, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Joseph Beuys, Louis Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Willem de Kooning, Marcel Duchamp, Robert Maplethorpe, Tracy Emin, Lee Friedlander, Ellsworth Kelly, Per Kirkeby, Ana Mendieta, Carl Andre, Jeff Koons, Shirin Neshat, Pablo Picasso, Kara Walker and Andy Warhol.

Ouyang Chun, A Fly Sweeps over The Slums. Courtesy.

Ouyang Chun, “A Fly Sweeps Over The Slums” (Courtesy: Art Basel)

Part of Art Basel’s attraction is that its size and scope allows the space to spotlight up-and-coming talents and well-established artists who continue to rise in notoriety, such as abstract German painter Pia Fries and Berlin-based Katharina Grosse, whose large-scale, often site-specific works are typically executed through various spraying techniques.

Works by Portuguese multimedia artist Juliao Sarmento; Brazilian sculptor and performance artist Tunga, who died in 2016; Egypt-born multimedia artist Ghada Amer; and Canadian environmental photographer Edward Burtynsky are included in the show.

Alex Katz, Alba (Women in Jackets). Courtesy.

Alex Katz, “Alba (Women in Jackets)” (Courtesy: Art Basel)

White Space Beijing and Essex Street Gallery of New York will be among the 16 galleries debuting at this year’s fair. 

The Feature sector includes gallerists-curated projects by established or historical artists. Olivier Mosset, Gerhard Richter, Irving Penn, Helen Chadwick and Max Beckmann are among the 43 artists selected for the 2018 exhibition.

The Kids Lounge offers a space for children older than 4 years of age to engage in art and recreational programs while their parents or guardians browse the show. The Young Artist Studio is a paid program available for children ages 7 years and older, and sector tours geared specifically for children are also available.

Under the direction of Marc Spiegler, Art Basel has established itself as the world’s pre-eminent modern and contemporary commercial art show since it began in 1970. Along with the Switzerland event, it produces Art Basel shows in Miami Beach — which began in 2001 — and Hong Kong, which launched in 2013.

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