Art Basel’s Online Viewing Rooms opened today for VIPs and will open to the public June 19-26. While we are puzzled by the need for VIP days for a fair accessible online—in which any sales inquiries must be made directly with the gallery—we managed to find ourselves a VIP password to get a peek at what’s on offer.
In total, there are 282 galleries from 35 countries participating in the digital fair, presenting over 4,000 works of painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, and video. Following the first edition of the Online Viewing Rooms for Art Basel in Hong Kong, this iteration features a new option to like and share artworks and for galleries to embed videos.
Galleries like Jack Shainman, Urs Meile, OMR, David Kordansky, and Simon Lee have put together curated and thematic presentations addressing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goodman Gallery, Sikkema Jenkins & Co., Yancey Richardson, and Company Gallery are showing work by artists addressing political and social issues related to identity, intersectionality, race, place, and belonging.
Many Berlin-based galleries have parallel presentations, with over 20 participating in “BaselbyBerlin” wherein they’re using their physical space to install works featured in the online booth for those collectors able to visit in person.
Also of note is a robust event program, including conversations between Sanford Biggers and Franklin Sirmans, Rana Begum and Kate MacGarry, Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi and Tšhegofatšo Mabaso, and Ali Banisadr and Patricia Hickson.
“In addition to the exceptional presentations of the highest-quality works by our galleries, the second edition of the Online Viewing Rooms will also feature a range of programs throughout the duration to foster conversations and provide greater context to the galleries’ presentations,” said Marc Spiegler, Global Director of Art Basel. “While we know that the digital platform cannot replicate completely what our physical shows offer, we hope it will provide strong support to our galleries and their artists as the art world continues to navigate these difficult times.”