Interview with Peter Bläuer, Director of LISTE 17

by Mara Sartore
January 22, 2013
Mara Sartore

How would you describe the fair selection policy? How do you select your galleries?

We are continually looking for new, internationally interesting galleries. We travel frequently to different cities and have excellent advisors and consultants across the globe. It is, first and foremost, about artistic quality and not about the market. To define a focus in the selection process as well, our jury is made up exclusively of museum people, which makes it unlike other fairs.

How many in the end get selected?

Out of approximately 350 applications, we choose 64, and of those 350, about 50 are the same as the preceding year. From the remaining 300, we choose around 10 new galleries. We are in the enviable position of being able to cherry pick, so to speak. Every interesting young gallery applies; we don’t have to beg anybody to participate.

What makes Basel special as a location?

Basel is a relatively small city in which you can orient yourself quickly. It’s a friendly place, clean and safe, and our museums are outstanding. During Basel’s art week, the entire art world meets up here – in restaurants in the evening, in bars and on the street. There is a very personable, family feel to it.

The building hosting LISTE is very beautiful and has a strong identity, but at the same time it seems a different place for a fair. Tell us about the choosing process of the location.

It’s difficult to find a building in this small city. So I was very pleased to find this particular work space with its unmistakable and distinctive identity and charm so close to Art Basel.

In your opinion, what is the most important task for a fair director?

First, I am there for my “customers”, the galleries and their artists as well as collectors and museum people. I am in constant contact with them and listen to their issues, needs and concerns. LISTE has a special concept – we present only young galleries with young artists under 40 years of age. I’m not concerned with selling the greatest number of spaces possible and earning money in that way. That’s why we have only 64 galleries and not more than that. If we had 100, the quality would visibly decline.

So I understand that you will maintain this number…

The number is not my first concern. The first concern is quality. I want to maintain a certain level. As is so often the case: less is more!

What’s new this year in LISTE? Do you have some special things you would like to highlight?

We have again a large number of solo shows. We especially value solo shows because, when it comes to young, less known artists, they are particularly helpful in understanding the work. LISTE is also known for newcomers – like those who show at Documenta or Manifesta. At LISTE there are always discoveries to be made. That’s what we are famous for – and infamous – ha-ha… There are also a number of very exciting performance artists who perform during the week…


Keep up to date with My Art Guides
Sign up to our newsletter and stay in the know with all worldwide contemporary art events