Umělec magazine 2007/3 >> Art/Basel/Etiopia List of all editions.
Umělec magazine
Year 2007, 3
6,50 EUR
Send the printed edition:
Order subscription


Umělec magazine 2007/3


Thomas Haemmerli | pesto sauce | en cs de es

Weaving through the crowds at Art Basel 2007, you catch a glimpse of the entire artistic universe of the last one hundred years. Amidst all of the fanfare a new trend has definitively emerged: hypertrophy. Sales figures are increasing, the crowds of visitors are growing, parallel events are mushrooming; and riding in the slipstream of Basel new fairs emerge every year that want to benefit from the current buying frenzy. At Art Basel, both the journalist and the curator seem to be most concerned with highlighting the galleries that are already establishments unto themselves. They become participants in the spectacle, swept up by the distinct social atmosphere of the event and its ability to cultivate a desire for big name artists with signature styles. At times the Art Basel makes you feel like you’re taking part in an arty quiz night, a ‘Whowants- to-be-an-art-millionaire?’ competition that tests your knowledge of all the players in the contemporary art world. In this game fame is rewarded; those that are the loudest emerge as the winners. As you wander around, there is a second-market Schiele here, a second- -rate Picasso there, three-slit Fontanas, lots of Warhol leftovers; an Andre is lying around on the floor, a Judd has been screwed into the wall of a booth. A monochrome Damien Hirst with perished butterflies pops up, its gesture still powerful. Two years earlier though you could have seen the dead butterflies stuck on a pink heart, a work that was even better: more harsh and cynical. Opie comes up once again with sequences of lightly clad, street-walking women. You can’t help but become slightly melancholic when you see any number of artists who continue to copy an idea that made them famous twenty or thirty years ago. These are the ‘one-hit-wonders’ of the art market – people who reproduce their hits again and again for buyers who seek to stock their collections with familiar material. In any case, the buyer – I’m sorry, the collector – is part of the spectacle; and it is precisely this character that adds zest to the Art Basel. On First Choice Day, it is quite a scene to witness the multimillionaires crowding the courtyard and lining up for bubbles and bratwurst, perching on staircases and posing on the lawn, visibly worn out from the artistic drumfire. There is ample time to take a good look at the ‘trophy wives’ with their unconvincing face-lifts and designer outfits, equal parts extravagant and eccentric, until 6pm when the gates open to the pariahs. These pariahs, who have been invited to the official opening, enter only once the best deals have gone and the real elite crowd has fled to the hotel. Still, being invited to the official opening is much better than having to buy a ticket with the riffraff. Even on First Choice Day, however, there are subtle differences between people’s VIP status. What really matters is the number of evening dinners you’ve been invited to, and if the major gallery owners spot you and immediately drop everything in order to joyfully exclaim: Sara! Bob! Haemmerli! In comparison, no one would like to be in Lukas Mühlemann’s shoes. Mühlemann, the former head of McKinsey Switzerland and the fallen boss of the Credit Suisse Group, was co-responsible for the insolvency of the national airline Swissair, effectively turning the man into an untouchable in Switzerland. Bravely standing about in the courtyard, everyone pretends not to know who he is. Nobody, of course, wants to be seen with that sort of person regardless of how many Rauschenbergs he has bought. In short, the Art Basel’s function as a social event is at least as important as its function as an occasion for art shopping. Art features most importantly in the question: have you bought anything? The ideal answer should be “Oh, of course!” And for many it is, thus on the second day you come across plenty of happy gallery owners who are quick to reassure you, as the spectacle roars on behind them, that “things are going brilliantly!” This year the other topic on everyone’s mind was the question of who would succeed Sam Keller as director of Art Basel. Keller, who is set to take over the Museum Beyeler, catapulted the event into a new league when he established the Art Basel Miami Beach – a stroke of genius that enabled him to forestall a rival fair in the USA. Keller is perfectly suited to orchestrate Art Basel as he is acquainted with everyone who is anyone. Known as the life of the party, Keller runs on adrenaline and will probably keep his famed reputation as Mr. Art long after he is replaced. Three people are set to inherit his directorial position; another case of hypertrophy. The establishment of the Art Basel Miami Beach has had a surprising cross-marketing effect: since its establishment, more people have been traveling to Basel, not fewer. The emergence of more art fairs geared towards specific crowds is therefore an exciting, not daunting, prospect. Currently there is the List, a fair founded for off-galleries, and the Local Fair, for whose taste the List isn’t ‘off’ enough. For renowned galleries that do not quite make it to Basel, there are now Volta and Scope, and the Latin American fair scene centers around the Balentîna. At these fairs, there is a common complaint that at Art Basel “people buy anything” or that they “buy blindly.” This envy and fascination which surrounds the spectacle of Art Basel has led some artists to make Basel itself the subject of artworks. The paintings of the Chinese artist Zheng Guogu, for example, immortalize views of the fair, including its director Sam Keller. The Spaniard Eugenio Merino, in his vitriolic and taunting style, has created works that borrow from the corporate design of illuminated advertising signs of the Art Basel and the Art Basel Miami Beach.



There are currently no comments.

Add new comment

Recommended articles

Tunelling Culture II Tunelling Culture II
Magda Tóthová Magda Tóthová
Borrowing heavily from fairy tales, fables and science fiction, the art of Magda Tóthová revolves around modern utopias and social models and their failures. Her works address personal and social issues, both the private and the political. The stylistic device of personification is central to the social criticism emblematic of her work and to the negotiation of concepts used to construct norms.…
Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King Medimon Acts, Misdemeanors and the Thoughts of the Persian King Medimon
There is nothing that has not already been done in culture, squeezed or pulled inside out, blown to dust. Classical culture today is made by scum. Those working in the fine arts who make paintings are called artists. Otherwise in the backwaters and marshlands the rest of the artists are lost in search of new and ever surprising methods. They must be earthbound, casual, political, managerial,…
African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation African Vampires in the Age of Globalisation
"In Cameroon, rumours abound of zombie-labourers toiling on invisible plantations in an obscure night-time economy."
27.07.2014 19:39
Where to go next?
out - archeology
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
S.d.Ch, Solitaires and Periphery Culture (a generation born around 1970)
Josef Jindrák
Who is S.d.Ch? A person of many interests, active in various fields—literature, theater—known for his comics and collages in the art field. A poet and playwright foremost. A loner by nature and determination, his work doesn’t meet the current trends. He always puts forth personal enunciation, although its inner structure can get very complicated. It’s pleasant that he is a normal person and a…
out - poetry
THC Review and the Condemned Past
THC Review and the Condemned Past
Ivan Mečl
We are the fifth global party! Pítr Dragota and Viki Shock, Fragmenty geniality / Fragments of Charisma, May and June 1997. When Viki came to visit, it was only to show me some drawings and collages. It was only as an afterthought that he showed me the Czech samizdat publication from the late 1990s, THC Review. When he saw how it fascinated me, he panicked and insisted that THAT creation is…
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
To hen kai pán (Jindřich Chalupecký Prize Laureate 1998 Jiří Černický)
birthing pains
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Who’s Afraid of Motherhood?
Zuzana Štefková
Expanding the definition of “mother” is also a space for reducing pressure and for potential liberation.1 Carol Stabile The year was 2003, and in the deep forests of Lapák in the Kladno area, a woman in the later phase of pregnancy stopped along the path. As part of the “Artists in the Woods” exhibit, passers-by could catch a glimpse of her round belly, which she exposed especially for them in…
Books, video, editions and artworks that might interest you Go to e-shop
Limited edition of 10. Size 100 x 70 cm. Black print on durable white foil.
More info...
75 EUR
Falling Stairway, 1991, acrylic painting on canvas, 122 x 99 cm, on frame
More info...
3 200 EUR
Limited edition of 500 large posters for Mike Diana's show in London, 2012. Size 100 x 70 cm. Printed on fine coated paper.
More info...
20 EUR
More info...
2,50 EUR


Divus and its services

Studio Divus designs and develops your ideas for projects, presentations or entire PR packages using all sorts of visual means and media. We offer our clients complete solutions as well as all the individual steps along the way. In our work we bring together the most up-to-date and classic technologies, enabling us to produce a wide range of products. But we do more than just prints and digital projects, ad materials, posters, catalogues, books, the production of screen and space presentations in interiors or exteriors, digital work and image publication on the internet; we also produce digital films—including the editing, sound and 3-D effects—and we use this technology for web pages and for company presentations. We specialize in ...

Citation of the day. Publisher is not liable for any mental and physical states which may arise after reading the quote.

Enlightenment is always late.
CONTACTS AND VISITOR INFORMATION The entire editorial staff contacts

Kyjov 36-37
407 47 Krásná Lípa


Gallery, Bookshop and Cafe
open from Wednesday to Sunday between 11am to 10pm

and on appointment at, +420 606 606 425


Divus Perla
Gábina Náhlíková,, +420 604 254 994

Divus Publishing
Ivan Mečl,, +420 602 269 888

Design, Pre-Press and Printing Studio Divus

Magazine Umělec
Palo Fabuš,

Cafe & Bookshop Perla, +420 606 606 425

Arch 8, Resolution Way, Deptford
London SE8 4NT, United Kingdom, +44 (0) 7526 902 082







Divus We Are Rising National Gallery For You! Go to Kyjov by Krásná Lípa no.37.