The Art Basel Agenda: 10 Can't-Miss Events During the European Mega-Fair

The Art Basel Agenda: 10 Can't-Miss Events During the European Mega-Fair
(HappyFamousArtists via Flickr)

There's a lot going down at this year's weeklong Art Basel festivities in Switzerland. Here, ARTINFO picks out 10 unmissable parties and to-dos, whether you're a moneyed oligarch or a lowly pleb.


3pm — 8pm: Art Basel Vernissage. By Invitation 
Pop bottles with the art world’s finest while perusing the big fair's nearly 300 booths. You’re best bet to snap up those Gerhard Richters before anyone else does.

7 PM — 11 PM: Vitra Campus VIP Summer Party, Charles Eames Strasse 2, Weil am Rhein, Germany, By Invitation
Only hardcore design aficionados and their lucky hangers-on can attend this summertime bash. Timed to coincide with Art Basel, the party includes a shuttle to and from the fair.

8 pm: “On Museums: From the End to the Beginning,” Secret Address, By Invitation

Celebrity editrix Tina Brown, celebrity-maker Bryan Lourd, celebrity banker Urs Rohner, and celebutante Dasha Zhukova put their superpowers together to host an intimate evening of dinner, cocktails, and conversation on the past, present, and future of the world's museums. Rem Koolhaaas and Hans Ulrich Obrist will engage in an intellectual tennis match, while art world heavies like Larry Gagosian, John Elderfield, Jeffrey Deitch, Eli Broad, and Franceso Vezzoli hold court.

8 PM — 10 PM: Baloise Opening Reception, Kunstforum Baloise, Baloise Group, Stephen Waddel Aeschengraben 21, Open to the Public

If you’re not sipping Clicquot with Dasha and Larry, don’t fret. Everyone’s invited to the august opening of Canadian photographer Stephen Waddell’s solo show at the Baloise Kunstforum. Judging by the purse of the company's annual art prize, this party shouldn't be too shabby.

8 PM — Midnight: Art Parcours Opening Night, St. Johanns-Rheinweg, Basel and Art Parcours locations, Open to the Public

Performance artist Kathryn Andrews stages a late-night Vaudevillian romp along the banks of the Rhine. Leading a parade of clowns, acrobats, troubadours, magicians, and large-scale minimalist sculptures, Andrews examines the awkward place of performance art in the art fair context. If you’re not into the clowns, don’t worry. Bars and food vendors will be on site as well.


7 PM – 10 PM, “Cocktail Reception Honoring Jeff Koons,” Fondaton Beyeler, Baselstrasse 101, 4125 Riehen/ Basel, By Invitation

A private Swiss museum and German luxury goods company throw in to honor one of the most polarizing figures in contemporary art, kicking off an exhibition that will run through the summer.

8 PM, Art Basel Conversations Party Sponsored by Absolut, Teufelholf, Leonhardsgraben, 47-49, By Invitation

The Absolut Art Bureau hosts an intimate dinner honoring the speakers of the Art Basel Conversations series. Brainy and beautiful guests will include artist Theaster Gates, curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, and senior advisor to the Chair of the Board of Trustees of Qatar Museums Authority Roger Mandle.


8 PM –Midnight, Swiss Art Awards Open House Party, Hall 4, Messe Basel, Open to the Public

If the Swiss art scene had an Oscars, than this shindig would be it (except less boring and minus the "Best Original Song" category). 


7 PM — Midnight: Project Space Night and After Party, Open to the Public

Basel’s bright young things will all show up for this bacchanal spanning a dozen of artist-run spaces. The afterparty will rage till 5 AM at Lokal, Erlenstrasse 5.


7 PM – 9 PM: Art Basel Finale, Hall 2, Art Collector’s Lounge, By Invitation

Sunday evening, VIPS and their third wives solemnly gather in the Collector’s Lounge to commemorate the end of this year's Art Basel. Dirges will be played; cocktails will be imbibed.


11 PM— 3 AM, Art Club at the Campari Bar, Kunsthalle Basel, Steinenberg 7, Open to the Public

This swanky apéritif- and cocktail-bar remains official watering hole of Art Basel, hosting concerts and DJ performances every night for those who gotta dance till dawn.