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Petrit Halilaj’s artwork "When The Sun Goes Away We Paint The Sky," 2024, Basel

Carola Wiese’s Basel Highlights: Petrit Halilaj, Maja Bajevic, and More 

The all-knowing Senior Advisor of Art & Collecting at UBS sits down with Whitewall to divulge riveting co-presentations between UBS and Art Basel, as well as her favorite rooftop terrace bar in the city.

The notable Carola Wiese, Senior Advisor of Art & Collecting at UBS, is an Art Basel staple with a keen eye for upcoming trends and spotting emerging visionaries. During this rapturous month of art, connection, and creativity in Basel, Wiese speaks to Whitewall about vibrant conversations unfolding in the UBS Lounge, the forward-thinking presentation of UBS Art Studio, and the place to be at cocktail hour. 

Portrait of Carola Wiese in front of Maja Bajević's work Portrait of Carola Wiese in front of Maja Bajević’s work “Facts and Figures,” 2024, courtesy of UBS, photo by Martin Rütschi.

WHITEWALL: What are you looking forward to in Basel in June?

CAROLA WIESE: I have been to at least 20 editions of Art Basel in Basel, and I am still very eager to see what different energy this edition will come with! As an art advisor at UBS, I’m responsible for Europe, Latin America, and Asia, and always go into an art fair with a dual mindset—to look for what’s best for the clients’ collections, but also to discover interesting trends and emerging talents in this most exciting convening. 

I’m especially excited about the Balkan artists that will be showing at the fair, including a Petrit Halilaj installation that will take over the façade of the former Merian hotel, co-presented by UBS and Art Basel, as well as Maja Bajevic’s commission in the UBS Lounge. Don’t miss the conversation between Maja and Shinique Smith, moderated by well-respected critic and curator Enuma Okoro—their discussion will delve into the role of textiles in contemporary art, a medium that has recently gained significant recognition in the fine art world. Both Maja and Shinique’s works will be included in “Threads,” a presentation of textile-based works from the UBS Art Collection in the UBS Lounge.

“I have been to at least 20 editions of Art Basel in Basel, and I am still very eager to see what different energy this edition will come with!” — Carola Wiese

WW: What are the exhibitions on your must-see list?

CW: I might be biased, but UBS Art Studio will present an ambitious presentation at the fair, consisting of three new sculptures Fallen Suns, 2024, by Swiss artist Vanessa Billy, created at the Basel art foundry Kunstbetrieb AG Münchenstein. With the booth transformed into a working studio, the show offers a glimpse into the bronze casting and finishing process at the local foundry, celebrating the technical skill of both Vanessa Billy and the foundry where the works were created. It will be quite different from your average fair experience!

In addition to Art Basel-related events, the Kunstmuseum Basel has a show titled “When We See Us” on display, a comprehensive show that brings together over 150 works by 120 artists including Amy Sherald and Joy Labinjo, highlighting figurative painting by Black artists from Africa and the African Diaspora dating from the 1920s through to the present. The Fondation Beyeler‘s “Cloud Chronicles” is another must-see, transforming the entire museum and its surrounding park into an experimental presentation of contemporary art, a “living organism” that changes and transforms throughout its duration, so come back again later in the summer if possible!

Delightful Restaurants and the Perfect Bar for Panoramic City Views

WW: Where are your go-to places to grab a bite or drink in the city?

CW: Basel has some amazing spots for food and drinks. If you’re looking for a delightful meal, Volkshaus Basel is a must-visit. It’s got a cozy vibe and a menu that’s always on point. For something more laid-back, check out Krafft Basel. You’ll love the views of the Rhine and their fresh, locally sourced dishes. And when it’s time for a drink, Les Trois Rois is the place to be. The bar has this elegant, historic charm that’s just perfect for unwinding after a long day. Last but not least, the newly-opened Rooftop Terrace Bar at the Helvetia Campus has become a personal favorite, as you will get both the gorgeous panoramic view of the city and an immersive experience with James Turrell’s light installation Night Raiment (2024).

Other Basel Highlights, According to Carola Wiese:

1. Kunsthalle Basel: a Dynamic Contemporary Art Gallery that Shows Experimental Works

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.

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. 

2. Walking along the Rhine: a Peaceful Escape from the Fairground

Dine at Krafft Basel’s Restaurant Krafft and Summer Terrace Courtesy of Krafft Basel’s Restaurant Krafft.

Dine at Krafft Basel’s Restaurant Krafft and Summer Terrace. The terrace is our chameleon. No other view can be so soothing to the eye. And hardly any other place is so colourful, spacious and yet close to the Rhine. Come by for lunch, relax here throughout the day and enjoy watching the sunset in the evening? Source

3. Vitra Design Museum: World-Class and Inspiring Design Shows

Vitra Design Museum Courtesy of Vitra Design Museum.

The Vitra Design Museum numbers among the world’s leading museums of design. It is dedicated to the research and presentation of design, past and present, and examines design’s relationship to architecture, art and everyday culture. — Source

4. Basel University Library: An Architectural Icon

Basel University Library Courtesy of Basel University Library.

Basel University Library (UB) houses more than eight million print and handwritten manuscripts, maps and diagrams, pictorial documents and other media. In terms of its inventory, it is one of the largest libraries in Switzerland. — Source

Discover More Here

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