A Look Inside Art Basel 2021

Julia Strasius, Business Manager

Art Basel, a for-profit international fair that showcases the work of artists from all over the world, took place in Miami Beach from Sept. 24 to Sept. 26, 2021.The 2021 fair returned to Miami Beach in-person after being postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

First introduced by art dealer and collector Ernst Beyeler in 1970, Art Basel has become a worldwide annual fair in places such as Switzerland and Hong Kong. Art Basel exhibits over 250 leading galleries with more than 3,000 artists showcasing their work each year. The galleries are available for viewing both online and in-person, and for the first time ever, one can shop the artwork online. 

Due to the pandemic, the fair implemented several COVID-19 safety protocols. Visitors had to  complete a health questionnaire upon entry and provide proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test result. Masks had to be worn, regardless of vaccination status. 

This year, Art Basel followed the theme of ‘human nature’ through unique installations and various booths. Aric Chen, the curatorial director of Art Basel, devised the 2021 theme. Reflecting on the relationships that humans have with the nature around them, this year’s theme incorporated the idea of sustainability and planet consciousness. The entrance at the fair represented this theme with the inclusion of DRIFT’s “Shy Synchrony” installation, a collection of multi-sensory lighting pieces modeled after the idea of nyctinasty, the blossoming of flowers in different temperatures or lights. 

One notable exhibit was  “Shaping Color” by Germans Ermičs. Ermičs, known for his color driven art pieces, created an immersive viewer experience highlighting different materials and chromatic colors like blues and yellows throughout the installation. 

Another mesmeric piece was “The Elevator” by Harry Nuriev, which presented a metallic composition of an elevator. Nuriev explained that the elevator symbolizes a passing between realities, and the youthful idea of pressing different buttons and not knowing where you would go first. The exhibit also featured metallic furniture inside the elevator. 

Moving further into the exhibit and its theme, Mathieu Lehanneur’s “State Of The World” showcase, composed of aluminum sculptures, was built to look like population pyramids from around the world. The sculptures displayed the life expectancies and birthrates of more than 140 countries. 

“Art Basel was a really immersive experience where I was able to see artwork from artists all over the world. To see the thematic relationship between us and nature was a nice break from the stressful and restrictive environment that came with COVID,” Miami Palmetto Senior High School senior Carlos Perez-Guzman said.