An interview with Marina Meijer, president of Kunsthaus Baselland

by Mara Sartore
Mara Sartore
Marina Meijer
MS Since 2017, you have been the president of Kunsthaus Baselland, a renowned art institution located in Münchenstein, just near Basel in Switzerland. Kunsthaus Baselland is a platform for artistic experimentation and cultural dialogue. Can you tell us more about the role that plays Kunsthaus Baselland in the territory, and which are your main goals as an institution?

MM The Kunsthaus Baselland is among the leading exhibition venues for regional, national and international contemporary art in the Basel region. From 1998 to 2023 a repurposed factory building in Muttenz and since April 2024 the new building in the Dreispitz area has offer (young) artists a platform of more than 1’400m² for artistic exchange in the framework of solo, group or thematic exhibitions. Numerous regional, and some international artists have had their first institutional showing in Switzerland or in Europe here.

The curatorial program is focussed on contemporary art in the Basel region positioned within an international discourse through accompanying international and national exhibitions. The Kunsthaus Baselland supports and promotes the creation of new works that enter into dialogue with the Kunsthaus architecture and/or that of the Basel region. Under the current director many of the invited local, national and international artists have been encouraged to develop new, sometimes large-scale works and work series specifically for the site.

In order to create access to art, the Kunsthaus Baselland has set itself an educational goal. Age appropriate programs are offered for children, young people and adults.

The Kunsthaus Baselland aims to be a place for exchange and informed encounter with contemporary art. The exhibition programme is therefore, despite limited means, augmented by publications, talks and conversations with artists, creators and figures from business, politics and education. The Kunsthaus opens its doors for the study of artists and their works of art through collaboration with neighboring, internationally active education institutions.

MS Art Basel is a crucial event for the contemporary art world, attracting collectors, curators, and enthusiasts from all over the globe. Each year, during Basel Art Week, the city transforms into a vibrant cultural hub, offering a myriad of high-level events and exhibitions. What is your perspective on this year’s edition of Art Basel, and what are the expectations for Basel Art Week? What events, exhibitions, or venues would you absolutely recommend visiting during this week? 
MM In general, there have been somewhat pessimistic views on the health of the art market worldwide. However, Art Basel has been a very robust platform for modern and contemporary art and I would expect another successful fair, both for collectors and gallerists.
My “musts” are:
Kunsthaus Baselland, which is now in its brand new building in an up-and-coming cultural are (Dreispitz). It is surrounded by other cultural institutions such as HEK, HGK, ateliers Mondial. The traditional brunch on Wednesday at the KHBL is included in the VIP program of Art Basel and shuttles are available from the Art Basel venue.

Kloster Schönthal (, located outside Basel in the upper part of the canton Baselland presents an exhibition with works by Gerda Steiner and Jörg Lenzlinger, one of their works is included in the present exhibition of the Kunsthaus Baselland

Basel Social Club (, another exhibition combining art with landscape.
The Dan Flavin exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel (, a fascinating show bringing together key works of the artist
Hebel_121. A small gallery in the city showing a selection of abstract-geometric works by Michael Rouillard. (
Of course, the Beyeler Foundation, the Kunsthalle Basel, the Tinguely Museum, and the Vitra Design Museum remain main  attractions in the area.

MS Let’s talk about the city of Basel and all it’s surrounding area. How do you think the art and cultural scene in Basel has changed in recent years? What have been the main developments and transformations? How Kunsthaus Baselland has contributed to these changes, and which role do you see the foundation should have in the future?

MM The gallery scene in Basel is healthy, with representation of some of the largest names in this sphere in addition to a number of healthy traditional galleries. The Kunstmuseum Basel houses the world’s oldest public art collection. It is now headed by a new director Elena Filipovic, formerly director of the Kunsthalle Basel. The Beyeler Foundation, which is the most visited art institution in Switzerland is going from strength to strength and is in the middle of a major expansion project. The Dreispitz area is a new center for cultural activities with the new KHBL as one of its mainstays. In this cultural landscape the Kunsthaus Baselland forms an integral part of the total.

You are also known for being an art collector. Which contemporary artists do you find particularly interesting, what you look forward buying this year? How does your personal taste and artistic vision reflect in the acquisitions you choose for your private collection?

I am very interested in Abstract Geometric. I am looking forward to seeing works by artists already known to me and to discover new ones.

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