ART BASEL, DAY 2, June 12

David Smith, installation view, Galerie Gmurzynska, Art Basel

Art Basel now has two VIP days before the public opening tomorrow.  Many people completed their visit in one day so today was less crowded but no less intense. I scoured the booths I missed yesterday and made return visits to others I had already seen. Despite the most thorough viewing, it is not possible to see everything. Reports for business are strong and much activity is still anticipated.

Ethnographic installation (detail), Museum for Culture, Basel

After departing the fair, I was looking forward to two museums visits, the Kunstmuseum and the Museum of Cultures (Museum der Kulturen).  Specializing in ethnographic collections of artifacts from Europe, the South Pacific, Mesoamerica, Tibet and Bali, the Museum of Culture is one of my favorite places in Basel. The current exhibition focuses on material from the Amazon, addressing the relationship between permanent collection holdings and historical events in the Amazon region. The Museum has one of the most comprehensive Amazon collections in Europe, with an emphasis on the period between 1950-2010.

Picasso painting at Kunstmuseum, Basel

The Kunstmuseum is presenting a significant Picasso retrospective drawn exclusively from institutional and private collections in Basel, including paintings, drawings, prints and a few sculptures. While the selection of work is very fine, even more impressive is the fact that such extensive holdings are drawn from within the community. Having just come from the Culture Museum, Picasso’s ethnographic influence was in high relief for me.

Thomas Schutte, bronze sculpture, Zurich

I headed to the train station and popped on the IC to Zurich, a 53 minute trip from Basel. The day had turned warm and whenever the weather is lovely, it seems all of Zurich heads to the outdoor cafes and the lakefront. As I strolled the tree-lined promenade, I discovered a powerful Thomas Schutte sculpture installation. Courtesy of the Beyeler Foundation, who supports outdoor sculpture around the city, Schutte will be featured in an exhibition at the Foundation opening shortly.

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