The 44th edition of the Art Basel show opens to the public on Thursday, but the doors were open on Tuesday for special VIPs wanting an advance peek at the wide range of artwork displayed across a whopping 31,000 square metres (334,000 square feet) of exhibition space.
On Wednesday, an estimated 110 private jets landed and took off from the Basel-Mulhouse airport, after 83 flew through there on Tuesday despite a strike that reduced the airport’s capacity and forced some wealthy patrons of the arts to change their travel plans.
For obvious reasons it was important to be among the first to squeeze through the doors.
Some 65,000 visitors are expected to come to Art Basel this year to see exhibits by a lucky 304 galleries, picked from more than 1,000 that vied for a spot at the lucrative fair.
Art Basel’s impact on a gallery’s bottom line does not stop with what is sold at the fair. It’s about connections made and clients made, and museums. A lot of museums come… and then conversations are hatched, work is bought… exhibitions are planned.
The art world appears to have bucked the global economic crisis, with income from global auction sales more than doubling since it hit bottom in 2009, passing eight billion euros last year.