No excitement compares to pre Art Basel excitement. From an objective point of view, this joyful giddiness makes no sense, because the world’s premier fair and all it entails is tailored for a person I’m not. Art Basel’s ideal visitor is Natasha, the second wife of Sex and the City’s Mr. Big: poised, slender, rich, well-mannered, blessed with the ability to wear a pristine outfit without getting it dirty and to never, ever sweat in public.
As I type this on board of an easyJet plane, I realize that of all these qualities, the only one I might be blessed with is the third – and even that is disputable. I’m not a Natasha; I’m not even a Carrie or a Miranda. I’m like a low-budget Samantha, without the Chelsea loft and fondness for power suits but with the same, annoying propensity to discuss penises in public. That, dear reader, is certainly a very non-Basel thing to do, but I’m almost certain it will happen over the next few days, perhaps even in this column. Despite my post-adolescent self-deprecation, I can’t wait to spend a week in Switzerland, surrounded by glitteratis I’m obsessed with, artworks I’m fascinated by and thankfully, friends I’m very fond of.
One of them is Laura Windhager, who runs Vienna’s Gianni Manhattan and participates to Liste (Art Basel’s main satellite fair) for the first time. In between discussing the merits of tangerine palazzo pants and the art of Zsófia Keresztes, which she’ll be showing at the fair, I’ve tried over the past few weeks, if not months, to explain her what makes these days in Basel so special. The truth is, it might be in my head: like Lindsay Lohan in Mean Girls, it simply makes me feel good to convince myself I’m part of a shallow clique of privileged parvenus; at the same time I look at it with a certain scepticism. But I am no foreigner to contextual relativism: If a gallery dinner sucks, it’s because I wasn’t invited; if a party was particularly fun, it’s because I was on the guest list. Yes, such thoughts eschew any sort of intelligence, but as TV and politics have been teaching us, pettiness is what will pave the road to success. I’m counting on your understanding and empathy to judge me with clemency.
Like last year, I’ll be do my best to efficiently report about Art Basel’s people, gossip, events, art, and oddities, within a frame of 500 words. My blörbs shall be truthful, albeit subjective; I will do my best to remain polite, yet sassy; I aim to not only entertain you, but also to inform you. If you long for a daily dose of art-related infotainment, this week, look no further than KubaParis!