To Art Basel! Yes readers, it is time for an annual pilgrimage to the city of the Kunsthalle Bar, the Messeplatz and dark corner near the river where bad things happen with Emmanuel Perrotin (allegedly). The first challenge is what to wear for the early morning flight from Stansted – an unglamorous Stag and Hen Party airport that is briefly turned into the foyer of The Arts Club as confused art world folk mill around trying to get to their flights to Basel. I’m going to nod towards the look of Cara Delevigne-goes-nuts-at-Coachella with the first items on this week’s wish-list: a Mary Katranzou printed crop top and a pair of Sass & Bide embellished metallic shorts.
The shorts are a nice match for the decorative skein on Alice Channer’s recent works so I’ll be heading to the preview for Art Basel Unlimited on the look out for Alice’s work, which will be there courtesy of The Approach and its handsome, stubbled-but-world-weary director, Jake Miller. The preview of Art Statements takes place the same evening and I’ll be looking to see if Laura Bartlett’s artist Marie Lund has produced any of her concrete backpacks – the second item on my wishlist - which will surely raise a laugh if I manage to hoick one on my back for a first visit to the legendary Kunsthalle Bar.
Ah, the Kunsthalle Bar! What’s not to like about a Swiss bar where plastic bottles of Heineken retail for just £9? The key to this bar is your Gallery Director’s credit card, a place under the awning and as much as you can drink before falling into the arms of a beefy, German middle-aged collector. Last year everyone was keen to be seen drinking Campari Orange or Negronis. That’s over. To show street-cred awareness of the football World Cup, it’s important to the third item on my wishlist, an 'Il Jolly', the daiquiri style drink served in former England footballer, Rio Ferdinand’s Rosso Restaurant and Bar. The staff and the Kunsthalle will have no idea but it’ll sure impress gallerist Max Wigram who pretends to understand football every four years.
On my hangover I’ll have no intention of jostling with the first collectors allowed into Art Basel. Instead I’ll head to 14 Rooms to renew acquaintance with Jordan Wolfson’s sexy robotic stripper and also Ed Atkins’ work of a shaved and tattooed three dimensional head. Cruel observers out there might sense a nod to Marc Spiegler in Atkins’s avatar. And so I’ll be taking the fourth item on my wishlist, the hat that art-lover Pharrell Williams wore to the Grammy’s earlier this year, to whack on Mr Spiegler’s head as soon as I catch sight of him wandering the aisles.
After two days of partying until my eyes bleed I want to head bruised and mentally shattered to the performance of Guido van der Werve’s Requiem home that will take place at the Clarakirche on Wednesday evening. It’s intense, it’s suburban, it’s Dutch and it’s wildy sentimental, so I’ll be taking the last item on my wishlist, a hunk of Old Amsterdam cheese to hurl at the performers in anguish (me that is, not them) before sprinting off to The Lady Bar in order to hunker down for 48 hours in readiness for Fatima Al Qadari’s gig there on Friday night. Welcome to Art Basel!
16 June 2014