Art Basel VIP Preview Day One Tuesday June 11th, 2018


Art Basel VIP Preview Day One
Tuesday June 11th, 2018

So It Begins 

Good evening and welcome to Basel. Whether you got here via plane, train, or chauffeured car, you can now take a deep breath, a long sip of Champagne, and relax. The artworks made it to the Messeplatz without incident (or at least we hope so for your sake). The headaches of international travel are behind you. And ideally your funds have cleared, and you can go on the buying spree you've been dreaming about since the lack of working air conditioning at Frieze sent you packing early (more on that later).

We'll be providing coverage throughout the week, and due to the time difference between Switzerland and New York, we'll be aiming to get The Canvas into your inbox at a time that's both convenient for those of us at the fair, as well as our readers back in New York. So figure around dinner time in Basel and lunch time in the city. And if you're looking for a bit of a longer read, feel free to sign up for our new monthly report featuring interviews with Brett Gorvy, Marc Spiegler, and Sean Kelly.  

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The Three Things People are Talking About

1. By now you've already heard about Chicago gallery, Shane Campbell's, $15 million lawsuit against Frieze for the complete meltdown (pun intended) of the fair's air-conditioning system on Randall's Island last month. You're also of course aware that Frieze emailed all participating galleries the day before to offer a refund of up to ten percent because of the debacle. Eileen Kinsella of Artnet has the full scoop on the lawsuit which you can read about here. But if you'll allow The Canvas the opportunity to weigh in for a brief moment, we'd appreciate it (and so we suspect will you). 

Both the organizers of Frieze and Shane Campbell should be ashamed of themselves for allowing this 'family matter' unique to the industry to spill out to the general public and press. The Powers-That-Be at Frieze should have written a much more meaningful apology and offered to refund the galleries at least twenty percent of the exhibiting costs- not the relatively paltry "up to ten percent" that is currently being offered. Additionally, they should come out and very publicly state that they're parting ways with their tent vendor and will make a greater effort to provide a comfortable and weather-resistent atmosphere in the years to come. As Kinsella rightfully points out in her article- this isn't the first year where there were weather related issues. It's time to admit fault, apologize, attempt to make a reasonable offer of restitution to those galleries effected, and promise that it won't ever happen again. 

Meanwhile, the Shane Campbell Gallery should just be embarrassed by their actions. A splashy $15 million lawsuit seeking class action status won't fool anyone. Are we really supposed to believe that a gallery who most collectors outside of Chicago haven't heard of, was really that greatly effected by the lack of air conditioning at the fair ? Even when factoring in potential punitive damages, this lawsuit reeks of a publicity stunt. What exactly is the end goal here? The gallery/fair/collector community is a relatively small one. Do they really want to become known for being the gallery that no one will work with again because they made such a big stink about the lack of air conditioning? Don't get us wrong- it was brutally and offensively hot in the tent. But someone should really sit the gallery down and explain the potential ramifications of their actions. 

2. Everyone is talking about Joan Mitchell. The Abstract Expressionist artist who passed away in 1992 is clearly having a moment as Katya Kazakina rightfully notes in his piece for Bloomberg. Between David Zwirner taking on representation of the estate, a number of her works surpassing their estimates at auction a few weeks ago, and at least nine of her paintings (estimated to top $70 million) being brought to Basel this week, there's a strong chance that 2018 will turn out to be a definitive year for the Joan Mitchell market. 

3. One fun thing: The New York art world is abuzz with the news that Gladstone Gallery's very own Cooke Maroney is dating Oscar-winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence. Page Six was the first to dish on the story and we couldn't be happier for the 'It' couple. Is it wrong for us to hope that we'll see her at the next opening? Probably, but who really cares? 

A Word About Borro

Borro enables individuals with fine art to borrow against it with speed, privacy and impeccable service. With loan sizes starting at $20,000, clients can use the value of their artwork to take advantage of business opportunities, invest in real estate and relieve tax burdens and legal fees. Borro’s services are particularly helpful during fine art fairs and auctions as clients can leverage their existing collections for funds to acquire more artwork.


Five Booths to See at Art Basel

Galerie 1900-2000 (Booth H6)

Van de Weghe Fine Art (Booth G11)

Dvir Gallery (Booth P9)

Bergamin & Gomide (Booth D1)

Galerie Max Hetzler (Booth B10)

The Party Circuit

The Museum of Modern Art's Party in the Garden (Spotted: Constance Jablonski, Marina Abramovic, Henry Kravis, Alex Poots, Anne Pasternak, Jeff Koons, Wes Gordon, and KAWS)

The Frick Collection: Spring Garden Party (Spotted: Larry and Toby Milstein, Kellyanna Polk, and Amory McAndrew

Architectural Digest & Sotheby's Celebrates Fort Street Studio (Spotted: Amy Astley, Billy Cotton, Brad Davis, Janis Provisor, and Matt McKay)

Have any sales reports, gossip, news, or tips you'd like to share with The Canvas? Email us at to get in touch. And while you're at it, check out our Instagram for pics from Basel.