7 exhibitions to see in town during Art Basel 2022, from an investigation by Piet Mondrian to the depressed figuration of Michael Armitage

If you’ve been to Switzerland for Art Basel, you know that this year’s edition of the fair isn’t the only exhibition in town. Basel, a city marvelously rich in museums, has many other delights in store for you. Here’s an overview of what not to miss on your trip.

Brice Marden: Interior space
Kunstmuseum Basel
Until August 28

Brice Marden, Painting of the second window (1983). © 2022 ProLitteris, Zürich.

More than 100 works by American painter Brice Marden, revered for his fusion of expressionist gesture and minimalist rigor, come together for this exhibition at the Kunstmuseum Basel. Most of the pieces, made between 1972 and 2019, are on paper, but the exhibition also includes eight paintings and a special selection of works from the artist’s collection, including previously unseen pieces.

Mondrian: Evolution
Beyeler Foundation
Until October 9

The Fondation Beyeler conservation studio, with paintings by Piet Mondrian.  Photo courtesy Beyeler and La Prairie Foundation.

The Fondation Beyeler conservation studio, with paintings by Piet Mondrian. Photo courtesy Beyeler and La Prairie Foundation.

On the occasion of the 150th anniversary of the birth of the Dutch avant-garde, the Fondation Beyeler organizes a retrospective on Mondrian’s first abstract experiments, in which he painted windmills and seascapes, through his radical reinvention of painting with his neo-plastic canvases, which he started in the 1920s.

Michael Armitage: You, who are still alive
Kunsthalle Basel
Until September 4

Installation view, Michael Armitage, “You, Who Are Still Alive”, Kunsthalle Basel, 2022, with The Perfect Nine, 2022. Photo: Philipp Hänger/Kunsthalle Basel.

New works by the Kenyan-born artist Michael Armitage are at the center of this exhibition, his first in Switzerland. According to the museum, the “moody, sumptuously layered figurative paintings” are intended as meditations on civil unrest, political uncertainty and the enduring spirit of humanity.

Jean Jacques Lebel
Tingley Museum
Until September 18

Installation view of Jean-Jacques Lebel’s show. Photo: Daniel Spehr.

Jean-Jacques Lebel, one of the first happening artists, was instrumental in organizing a 1960 memorial service in Venice for murdered artist Nina Thoeren, at which a sculpture by Jean Tinguely was buried in the lagoon. This event – ​​later considered by Allan Kaprow to be the first European Happening – is the subject of this exhibition, which also includes later works by Lebel, such as a video installation examining images of women in art and society.

Plastic: remaking our world
Vitra Design Museum
Until September 9

Panasonic Toot-a-Loop R-72S radio, 1969–72. © Vitra Design Museum. Photo: Andreas Sütterlin.

This exhibition, organized with the V&A Dundee and the Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology in Lisbon, examines how plastics have shaped our lives, from electrical conductors to Lego blocks, and how they have evolved from a symbol of reckless consumerism to a signal of overconsumption and unsustainability.

Super Modern Naples
Swiss Architecture Museum
Until August 21

Photograph by Cyrille Weiner, from the “Sweet Assimilation” series, Napoli, 2020.

The city of Naples – its history, culture and role in the public imagination – comes to life through this exhibition centered on its unique architecture, curated by Benoit Jallon and Umberto Napolitano, who together run the Parisian studio LAN. Among other exhibits, the exhibition features photographs by Cyrille Weiner, who documents the specifically modern aesthetic that emerged from post-war reconstruction in the city.

Picasso–El Greco
Kunstmuseum Basel-Neubau
Until September 25

Pablo Picasso, Mrs. Canals (Benedetta Bianco) (1905).

The influence of the Greek artist El Greco on Picasso is the subject of this exhibition, which includes significant loans from international collections. The exhibition, curated by Carmen Giménez, with Gabriel Dette, Josef Helfenstein and Ana Mingot, shows that respect for the iconoclastic artist, forgotten for years after his death, was revived in the early 1900s largely by the fascination and celebration of Picasso. of the artist.

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James C. Tibbs