Art Basel Cities - Buenos Aires, Argentina
The global art map is expanding - and that's a good thing.
The absence of mega galleries with their superstar artists on display made Cities an event unlikely to be hosted by Art Basel. The titan producer of eponymous art fairs, Art Basel has annual eponymous iterations in Hong Kong, Miami, and, of course in Basel. But Art Basel disrupted its own art fair cycle - repetitious in venues, artists, and galleries - in producing this new venture, formally named Art Basel Cities Exchange. Announced as an experimental partnership with cities around the world to develop a new art program to "raise the city's art profile on the global art-world stage." Cities was a non-art fair developed by the titan producer of art fairs - a true paradox.
The inaugural Cities partnership launched in Buenos Aires in November. Sans the usual tented venue or pop-up borders within the rooms of a convention center, Cities was held in an impeccably-designed Beaux-Arts mansion. Located among government and consulates along a tree-lined promenade. Rooms were designed simply but thoughtfully - plush carpets, leather club chairs, and the wood floor, a herringbone pattern. (Cities did not entirely depart from the Art Basel luxury panache). Art Basel described it best:
"With its imposing double-height central entrance hall, music and billiards rooms as well as a success of majestic private rooms with balconies, it is a testimony of Argentina's Belle Epoque."