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Fondation Beyeler

Best Basel Exhibitions: Toyin Ojih Odutola, Dan Flavin, and More

While attending Art Basel, be sure to explore these enthralling exhibitions opening across the picturesque city at leading art spaces including Kunsthalle Basel, Fondation Beyeler, and Kunstmuseum Basel.

While in town for the fairs taking place this week, be sure to check out the best Basel exhibition son view, showcasing work by Toyin Ojih Odutola, Dan Flavin, and more.

Toyin Ojih Odutola: Ilé Oriaku 

Kunsthalle Basel 

Toyin Ojih Odutola Toyin Ojih Odutola, “Always in a Hurry,” 2023, installation view, in: Toyin Ojih Odutola, Ilé Oriaku, Kunsthalle Basel, 2024, photo: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel.

June 7—September 1, 2024

Steinenberg 7, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

On the occasion of New York-based artist Toyin Ojih Odutola’s inaugural solo presentation in Switzerland, “Ilé Oriaku,” which translates to “House of Abundance,” is a surreal and soulful journey through human gesture, expression, and evolution. 27 bold drawings illuminate life’s most hypnotic moments, with characters searching for their own distinct language in overcoming personal suffering. 

Diverse and effervescent materials of chalk, charcoal, and pastel radiate on linen, paper, and canvas, while graphite and colored pencil on Dura-Lar film evoke a lit-from-within glow of ethereal performance. Some beguiling figures are camouflaged by light or material, while others are exposed, and immersed in rest, conversation, or contemplation. The sheen of bare skin, abstract surroundings, and theatrical garments culminate in an engaging and illusive set of individual stories. 

What we love: The gallery space is transformed into a fictional Mbari house, a divine realm of the Nigerian Igbo community where the goddess Ala and deities safeguard and preserve the tribe. 

Cloud Chronicles

Fondation Beyeler

Fondation Beyeler Installation view of Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, 2024, of Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, “Untitled (nuage),” 2024 LED screen, courtesy of the artist © Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, photo by Mark Niedermann.

May 19 — August 11, 2024

Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Riehen, Switzerland

In an inaugural group presentation that is spread across the interior of Fondation Beyeler as well as its exterior, idyllic park spaces, “Cloud Chronicles” unites 30 visionaries in the diverse realms of art, poetry, architecture, music, philosophy, and science for an exploratory symphony of contemporary art. In close partnership with the LUMA Foundation, and thoughtfully developed by Sam Keller, Mouna Mekouar, Isabela Mora, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Precious Okoyomon, Philippe Parreno, and Tino Sehgal, the far reaches of creative independence lead to revelatory dialogues on our shared experiences and duties. 

Forward-thinking luminaries including Michael Armitage, Anne Boyer, Federico Campagna, Ian Cheng, Chuquimamani-Condori and Joshua Chuquimia Crampton, Marlene Dumas, Frida Escobedo, Peter Fischli, Cyprien Gaillard with Victor Man, and Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster journey together as one multi-faceted life form which ebbs and flows through an ever-evolving exhibition. Poetry readings, conversations, and community activities will spark connection and pathways of new thought alongside the show. Vibrant pieces of the museum’s own collection—by iconic artists like Louise Bourgeois, Paul Klee, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh—will be displayed within the intricate exhibition, linking past, present, and future. 

What we love: Vibrant pieces of the museum’s own collection—by iconic artists like Louise Bourgeois, Paul Klee, Claude Monet, and Vincent Van Gogh—will be displayed within the intricate exhibition, linking past, present, and future. 

When We See Us

Kunstmuseum Basel 

Kunstmuseum Basel Installation view of “When We See Us,” at Kunstmuseum Basel | Gegenwart.

May 25 — October 27, 2024

St. Alban-Graben 16, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

Deftly curated by Koyo Kouoh and Tandazani Dhlakama (Zeitz MOCAA, Cape Town), in partnership with Anita Haldemann, Maja Wismer, and Daniel Kurjaković, “When We See Us. A Century of Black Figuration in Painting” is a sweeping presentation which deeply honors and uplifts the prismatic facets of Black joy. Nearly 150 paintings abound in the pivotal show which was first unveiled by the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa, Cape Town. 

Upwards of 120 artists are represented, the majority of which are making their inaugural debut in Switzerland, including visionaries such as Benny Andrews, Margaret Taylor Burroughs, Chéri Chérin, Kudzanai Chiurai, Aboubacar Diané, Ibrahim El-Salahi, Ben Enwonwu, Gherdai Hassell, Wifredo Lam, and more. Energized by the meaningful Netflix miniseries When They See Us (2019) by illustrious director Ava DuVernay, which profoundly focuses on the wrongful persecution of Black teenagers, the show’s title instead uses the word “We” to allow vital artist agency and the telling of visceral and highly personal stories. A dazzling voyage through six vivacious chapters, Triumph and Emancipation, Sensuality, Spirituality, The Everyday, Joy and Revelry and Repose, as well as a spirited program of ancillary events, awaits visitors. 

What we love: Dynamic and striking images of Black self-empowerment radiate throughout, stripping away destructive stereotypes for a pure celebration of Back joy. 

Dan Flavin.Dedications in Lights

Kunstmuseum Basel 

Installation view of Dan Flavin at Kunstmuseum Basel. Installation view courtesy of Dan Flavin and Kunstmuseum Basel.

March 2 — August 18, 2024

St. Alban-Graben 16, 4051 Basel, Switzerland

In honor of Dan Flavin (1933-1996), the inspired trailblazer of Minimal Art, Dedications in Lights” is a sweeping presentation which displays 58 pieces revealing the visionary’s creative prowess using industrially manufactured fluorescent tubes, expertly curated by Josef Helfenstein, Olga Osadtschy, and Elena Degen

Gaining momentum in the early 1960s for his innovative practice, Flavin dared to rebel against art tradition, creating spellbinding masterpieces out of everyday objects. Setting the New York art world afire with his fluorescent lamps and “gaseous images,” Flavin created “situations” of magnificent color, architecture, and feeling. “Electric light is just another instrument,” said the artist in 1966. “I have no desire to contrive fantasies mediumistically or sociologically over it or beyond it. (…) I do whatever I can whenever I can with whatever I have wherever I am.”

What we love: With some artworks on view for the very first time in Switzerland, visitors will embark on a singular thematic exhibition of the artist’s magnetic oeuvre.

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On view at Gagosian is “Iconic Avedon: A Centennial Celebration of Richard Avedon” (January 22-March 4) connecting the artist to Paris.
This month, on view January 10-February 28, Stanley Whitney debuts his painting Dear Paris (2023) at Gagosian.

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