Art Basel Announces in Hong Kong its new initiative: Art Basel Cities

3 years ago

Today My Art Guides joined the conference chaired by Marc Spiegler where Art Basel announced its new Art Basel Cities initiative, a project that will expand Art Basel’s engagement in the art world from staging art fairs to working with cities to develop cultural events with international resonance.

The introduction by Marc Spiegler focused on the development of Art Basel during the past 15 years: starting as art market, Art Basel became a global art event and it gradually started to expand its activities and cultural initiatives.
Presenting the new Art Basel Cities Initiative, Spiegler said: “We need a step more in making broader the notion of art worldwide: places as Baghdad, Bogotà, Sidney, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, haven’t done yet and they deserve to join such initiatives. Cities themselves should have this opportunity: they deserve to develop cultural events, to promote and bring in their reality international artists, art institutions and patrons. This is the new direction of Art Basel”.

The main goals of this new initiative were explained by Art Basel’s Director of Business Initiatives, Patrick Foret.

Previously Head of Sponsorship for Art Basel, Patrick Foret played a key role in shaping partnerships to produce meaningful and valuable contributions to the art world, such as the BMW Art Journey and the Davidoff Arts Initiative. He was also the lead figure behind the creation and successful launch of Art Basel’s Crowdfunding Initiative with Kickstarter, the first opportunity for Art Basel to contribute on a large scale to the wider art world beyond its three shows.

Art Basel Cities will offer the art world new opportunities to discover and engage with cultural scenes across the world. As part of this initiative, Art Basel will work with selected partner cities to develop vibrant and content-driven programs specific to the city, connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel’s network.

Art Basel will use its expertise, network, and communication channels to support cities in developing their individual cultural landscape. In addition to hosting unique art events in the partner cities, the program will bring projects from these cities back to the Art Basel shows, providing them with additional platforms to engage with Art Basel’s international audience.

“Art Basel has a significant experience in staging premier art events”, said Patrick Foret, “We are excited to bring our expertise and network to new partner cities, and to work with them to amplify their commitment to arts and culture.”

Once Art Basel has decided to collaborate with a city, there will be a consultative process with key stakeholders from the local art scene as part of an in-depth audit of the city’s cultural assets, infrastructure, and resources, and how they align with its urban, economic and cultural development vision. As part of the audit process, Art Basel will work with global advisory firm Creative Class Group, founded by urbanist Richard Florida.

Art Basel aims to work with cities that have either an emerging or an already established cultural scene and a strong commitment to establishing themselves internationally as a cultural destination. A newly formed advisory board, consisting of prominent art world figures with expertise across various disciplines, will work alongside Patrick Foret, to develop this new strategic initiative. Members of the board include: David Adjaye, Füsun Eczacibaşi, Richard Florida, Jacques Herzog, Sam Keller, William Lim, Simon Mordant AM, Lars Nittve, Anne Pasternak, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Dennis Scholl, Uli Sigg and Michael Tay.

To explain the importance of a city role in the art world, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo described the reality of her city, Turin. Traditionally known as an industrial city, Turin became the core of Italian Contemporary Art, especially thank to the cultural initiatives promoted by Castello di Rivoli, founded in 1984. In her words “My Foundation in Turin has three main goals: promoting artists, making the public closer to contemporary art and establishing partnerships with art institutions to share knowledge and resources. This is also what I’m expecting from Art Basel Cities Initiative: through our strong expertise cities will better know the art world and Art Basel will create engagements with new cultural destinations. This will be an important investment for cities: in this way they will increase their economy and the citizens will benefit of new cultural activities. Culture can change the image of a city. This what I believe we can do for cities”.

Finally David Adjaye said: “I’m lucky to work with important art institutions but now these big realities have to support small communities. This will be a challenge for cities which have strong ambitions and deserve to play a new role in the art world”.

My Art Guides Editorial Team

  • Art Basel press conference announcing Art Basel Cities initiative. Photo: My Art Guides Art Basel press conference announcing Art Basel Cities initiative. Photo: My Art Guides
  • Courtesy of Art Basel Courtesy of Art Basel