Basel, a picturesque city located on the Rhine River in Switzerland, will be hosting the 49th iteration of its annual art festival, Art Basel, kicking off tomorrow. The high profile event attracts art enthusiasts from across the globe, and is known for the prolific array of work that it exhibits, as well as for the diversity of its attendants. This year’s event will feature thousands of pieces crafted by artists from thirty-five different countries, displayed by an astounding 290 galleries.
However, Sven Eisenhut, one of Art Basel’s original founders, noticed one thing lacking from the historic art festival—a focus on photography. Rather than simply trying to accrue more photographic work to be included in the general festival, Eisenhut took it upon himself to create an entirely new event—the aptly named Photo Basel.
As Eisenhut says,
“Over time we just realized that we don’t see a lot of photography during Art Basel week in general, so a few colleagues of mine and I started doing this as a hobby. We just felt that photography does need space and a room of its own.”
Photo Basel is now in its fourth year of existence, and in contrast to the heavily-trafficked and sprawling Art Basel, the newer undertaking is intended to be smaller and more intimate. While Art Basel typically draws crowds upwards of 100,000, Eisenhut’s photography-centered spinoff
“distinguishes itself by being manageably small, so that it can be visited within just an hour and not exhaust visitors who’ve already been inundated with contemporary art”
Photo Basel will also democratize the art scene in the sense that its works will be available for much lower prices than those typically offered at the larger festival. Now this isn’t saying a whole lot, as average prices will still fall between $4,000 and $10,000 USD, but it’s still more affordable than the 6 or 7 figure price tags found at Art Basel.
Among the works set to be included are
“a new curated section, Master Cabinet, featuring rare vintage photographs by historically significant documentary photographers…[and] works by seven contemporary Japanese women — both emerging and established photographers — priced from about 500 to 10,000 Swiss Francs.”
To read up more on the international art fair, click here.