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What: LISTE 16 – The young art fair in Basel
Where: This amazing old brewery in Basel near Wettsteinplatz
When: June 14-19, 2011

I am not writing things in order here because my days are completely filled to the brim, and so whatever I feel like writing about I will. There is SO much to do here in Basel for art fair week that it might just be possible that I will get sick of looking at art even before getting to the Venice Biennale. Hmm… doubt it!

Yesterday I made it out to both VOLTA and LISTE, two of the many other satellite fairs that are occuring this week alongside Art Basel. This post is going to be a quick one on LISTE. LISTE is a dedicated art fair for galleries no more than 5 years old and artists under 40. It claims to be one of the most important art fairs for the discovery of young art.

My visit to LISTE was rushed but I did manage to work my way around all the galleries. I wished I had more time to spend there, but I have learnt that if I did, I could be there all day and I just didn’t have the time. The art was generally pretty good. Some very outstanding work, some not so much. Such a mixture of quality is something you would expect from a fair such as this. Although there were a few clever things, nothing really screamed out to me that was very exciting or different. Maybe it is because it is a fair after all, where things tend to get a bit more commercial.

What fascinated me the most at Liste was not so much the art, but the building it was in and the way the galleries occupied the space. In stark contrast to the clean white walls of Art Basel, Liste is in an old brewery and as you can see from the photos below, it is an amazing space! Galleries occupied every nook and cranny of the building, working with its odd spaces and left over equipment. There was also random things in the toilets such as buckets of cabbage, and random art posters stuck near the ceilings. The whole place, in my mind, was a work of art. I could not think of a better location to host a young art fair.

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Despite the place being aesthetically informal (labels for art were often written by hand on a sticker or directly on the walls), I found the gallery staff just as haughty as some over here at Art Basel. Okay, that was a bit of a generalisation – there was a sprinkling of down to earth, friendly ones. But compared to Volta, which I will post about at a later time, the people at Liste seemed to be rather self-important. The art world is generally very elitist afterall and so I guess this comes as no surprise, but that is what peeves me. You don’t have to be a snob to be elitist. And no, that is not a paradox.

Ok, rant over. I will now leave you with some more photos from the fair. I am at Art Basel right now and just about to head down to the exhibition hall to check out more of the art before heading to Tonson Gallery’s booth for Rikrit Tiravanija’s installation at noon – he is cooking us chicken curry today!

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