Art Basel's Unlimited Section for Really Big Art Gets Even Bigger

Ai Weiwei, "Fairytale," 2007
(Courtesy Galerie Urs Meile Beijing-Lucerne)

Gianni Jetzer, director of the Swiss Institute in New York, will return in June to curate Art Basel’s Unlimited Sector for the second time. But this year, the section of the famous Swiss art fair dedicated to supersized art will be bigger than ever — in fact, the largest in its history.

The Unlimited Sector, which is devoted to large-scale artworks and projects, promises 79 works by such luminaries as Theaster GatesAi WeiweiAntony GormleyWalid Raad, and Adriana Varejao. The show has grown by more than a dozen projects; last year, it had only 62.


Thanks to an extension to the fair's space created by Herzog & De Meuron, Unlimited is also physically expanding. This year, Hall 1 has gotten an additional 2,500 square meters to work with. The auditorium for Art Basel Conversations will be moved from the original Hall 1 to the new extension, leaving Jetzer the chance to work with the entirety of the original 17,000-square-meter exhibition space of Hall 1.  

Consequently, Jetzer is thinking even bigger than usual. Among other things, this year, Unlimited will show Matt Mullican's “Two into One becomes Three” (2011), a 72-by-23-foot work comprised of 70 panels of oil stick and acrylic on canvas. Presented by Klosterfelde (Berlin), it is the largest painting that has ever been exhibited within the Sector. Huan Yon Ping, a Chinese-born artist living in France, will show his controversial installation “Abbottabad” (2012), a ceramic replica of the compound where Osama Bin Laden was assassinated in May 2011 transformed into a seedbed, presented by Gladstone Gallery. Indian-born artist L.N. Tallur brings his installation “Vendi, Vidi, Vici” (2013), an inverted roof structure created from tiles manufactured in South India by missionaries from Basel, Switzerland itself. His work, presented by Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai, will be his first showing outside the Asian continent. At least one artist, Lygia Clark, won’t be there to see her work. The Brazilian artist known for her Bichos, or interactive foldable aluminum sculptures, had documented her wish to create a giant-sized Bicho called “Fantastic Architecture.” In collaboration with Clark’s estate, Alison Jacques, London will realize the installation as closely as possible to Clark's vision.

Jetzer has also attempted to keep it varied with a healthy dose of performance. Amalia Pica's “Strangers,” presented by Herald St., London, will have two strangers hold a string of colorful bunting for hours, while Martin Creed's “Work No. 850,” presented by Gavin Browna and Hauser & Wirth, will feature runners sprinting through the exhibition space every 30 seconds. 

Since its inception in 2000, the Unlimited sector has shaken things up, allowing well-known artists the opportunity to think beyond the dimensions of the standard gallery booth. At last year’s fair, Rudolph Stingel’s 11-by-15-foot portrait of legendary dealer Paula Cooper was the subject of much buzz. That work, which was created for the exhibition, sold to super-collector Francois Pinault.

As for which work will draw the most attention this year, we’ll have to wait and see.

To see promised highlights of Art Basel Unlimited 2013, click on the slideshow.

Below, the complete list of artists chosen by the show’s Selection Committee:

Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York?

Ai Weiwei, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing – Lucerne, Beijing, Lucerne?

David Altmejd, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York; Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; Stuart Shave / Modern Art, London?

He An, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris?

Carl Andre,  Konrad Fischer Galerie, Dusseldorf, Berlin?

Kutlu? Ataman, Thomas Dane Gallery, London; Sperone Westwater, New York?

Kader Attia, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Boissy-le-Châtel?

Miroslaw Balka, Gladstone Gallery, New York?

Karla Black, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne; Stuart Shave / Modern Art, London?

Iñaki Bonillas, Galerie Nordenhake, Berlin, Stockholm?

Peter Buggenhout, Konrad Fischer Galerie, Düsseldorf, Berlin?

Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Cabinet, London?

Chen Zhen, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Boissy-le-Châtel?

Lygia Clark, Alison Jacques Gallery, London?

Matt Connors, Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles; Herald St, London?

Martin Creed, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York?

François Curlet, Air de Paris, Paris; Galerie Micheline Szwajcer, Antwerp?

Aaron Curry, Almine Rech Gallery, Paris, Brussels?

Thomas Demand, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Berlin, London; Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, Los Angeles

Willie Doherty, Kerlin Gallery, Dublin; Alexander and Bonin, New York; Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich?

Latifa Echakhch, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; kamel mennour, Paris; kaufmann repetto, Milan?

Lionel Estève, Galerie Perrotin, Paris, Hong Kong, New York; Albert Baronian, Brussels; Bernier/Eliades, Athens?

Ceal Floyer, Lisson Gallery, London, Milan; 303 Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper, Berlin?

Günther Förg, Greene Naftali Gallery, New York?

Michel François, Xavier Hufkens, Brussels; kamel mennour, Paris?

Jonah Freeman and Justin Lowe, Marlborough Fine Art, London, New York, Barcelona, Madrid, Monte Carlo, Vitacura/Santiago?

Dara Friedman, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York?

Meschac Gaba, Stevenson, Cape Town, Johannesburg?

Theaster Gates, White Cube, London, Hong Kong, São Paulo?

Simryn Gill, Tracy Williams Ltd., New York?

Antony Gormley, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Boissy-le-Châtel?

Johan Grimonprez, Sean Kelly Gallery, New York; kamel mennour, Paris?

Noriyuki Haraguchi, McCaffrey Fine Art, New York?

Susan Hiller, Timothy Taylor Gallery, London

Roni Horn, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London, New York?

Jonathan Horowitz, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York; Sadie Coles HQ, London; Galerie Barbara Weiss, Berlin?

Huang Yong Ping, Gladstone Gallery, New York?

Pierre Huyghe, Marian Goodman Gallery, New York; Esther Schipper, Berlin?

Alfredo Jaar, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin; Galerie Lelong, Paris, New York, Zurich; kamel mennour, Paris; Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Woodstock, Cape Town

Michael Joo, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, New York?

Esther Kläs, Peter Blum Gallery, Blumarts Inc., New York, Zurich?

Emil Michael Klein, Federico Vavassori, Milan?

Norbert Kricke, Aurel Scheibler, Berlin?

Shakuntala Kulkarni, Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai?

Wolfgang Laib, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris?

Sean Landers, Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York; greengrassi, London?

Atelier van Lieshout, Galerie Krinzinger, Vienna?

Liu Wei, Long March Space, Beijing?

Jorge Macchi, Galleria Continua, San Gimignano, Beijing, Boissy-le-Châtel; Alexander and Bonin, New York; Ruth Benzacar Galería de Arte, Buenos Aires; Galeria Luisa Strina, São Paulo; Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich?

Michel Majerus, neugerriemschneider, Berlin?

Teresa Margolles, Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich?

Justin Matherly, Paula Cooper Gallery, New York; Johann König, Berlin?

Mario Merz, Gladstone Gallery, New York?

Matt Mullican, Klosterfelde, Berlin; Mai 36 Galerie, Zurich?

Oscar Murillo, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin?

Gina Pane, kamel mennour, Paris?

Giulio Paolini, Yvon Lambert, Paris?

Claudio Parmiggiani, Meessen De Clercq, Brussels; Simon Lee Gallery, London,?Hong Kong?

Amalia Pica, Herald St, London; Marc Foxx Gallery, Los Angeles?

Rob Pruitt, Gavin Brown’s enterprise, New York?

Florian Pumhösl, Lisson Gallery, London, Milan; Miguel Abreu Gallery, New York; Galerie Buchholz, Cologne, Berlin?

Walid Raad, Sfeir-Semler, Beirut; Paula Cooper Gallery, New York?

Willem de Rooij, Galerie Buchholz, Cologne, Berlin; Friedrich Petzel Gallery, New York; Regen Projects, Los Angeles; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris?

Thomas Schütte, Bernier/Eliades, Athens?

Sean Scully, Cheim & Read, New York?

Nobuo Sekine, Blum & Poe, Los Angeles?

Chiharu Shiota, Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris?

Dayanita Singh, Frith Street Gallery, London?

John Stezaker, The Approach, London?

Jessica Stockholder, Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York; Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris

L.N. Tallur, Nature Morte, New Delhi, Gurgaon, Berlin; Chemould Prescott Road, Mumbai?

Oscar Tuazon, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich; Maccarone, New York?

Tunga, Luhring Augustine, New York; Mendes Wood, São Paulo; Galleria Franco Noero, Torino; Meyer Riegger, Karlsruhe, Berlin?

Piotr Ukla?ski, Gagosian Gallery, New York; Massimo De Carlo, Milan, London?

Adriana Varejao, Victoria Miro, London; Galeria Fortes Vilaça, São Paulo?

Marijke van Warmerdam, Galleri Riis, Oslo, Stockholm; Taka Ishii Gallery, Tokyo; Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam?

Betty Woodman, Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi, Berlin; Galerie Francesca Pia, Zurich?Yan Xing, Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing – Lucerne, Beijing, Lucerne?

David Zink Yi, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, London, New York