The privately owned and managed, international annual art fair staged in Basel, Switzerland; Miami Beach, Florida; and Hong Kong, is officially cancelled – but not for good. Living up to its mission to help grow and develop art programs across the globe, the highly revered and anticipated Art Basel goes online for the second time in history.

Following the prevalence of the novel Covid-19 pandemic and the mandatory social distancing measures, the Hong Kong Art Basel in March 2020 marked the organization’s first-ever successful virtual event. Launching an array of online viewing rooms for VIP guests, alongside a series of virtual presentations which allowed collectors and art enthusiasts to purchase their favorite works directly from the digital initiative’s participating dealers. For easy access and navigation, the online Art Basel went a step further to highlight a handful of ten of the most unique, out of hundreds of participating international galleries and exhibitors, for guests to browse, extensively.

This June, the Art Basel presents an event bigger and better than ever before, announcing a second digital presentation with a line-up of 281 galleries from 35 countries across the globe – amassing up to 4,000 works of all mediums including, paintings, sculptures, drawings, installation, and photography, as well as video and digital works, from Modern to post-war and contemporary periods.

Hosting individualised thematic exhibitions, crucial themes of physical intimacy, casual interpersonal contact, racial equality and justice will also be addressed in numerous presentations including those by the Jack Shainman Gallery, and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.’s online viewing room which will include the works of New York-born artist Deana Lawson – who is renowned for her ability to question and address not only the multifarious identity and materiality of Black culture but the memory, community and familial legacy of each individual through carefully staged portraits of subjects, which she bases off meticulous personal drawings and sketches. Her work, often deemed premeditated, heavily relies on both blending controlled composition and disarming familiarity, alongside the utilization of predetermined elements such as the furnishing and domestic indoor setting of each image – in order to elevate a distinct ‘Black narrative’.

Supplementing Deana Lawson’s powerful imagery and messaging, the latest of – American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, and film-maker – Kara Walker’s work which explores race, gender, sexuality, violence, and identity, will be on display within the same presentation. Showing Walker’s “monumental quadriptych from her 2019 ‘Fons Americanus’ archive, the artist aims to address the power systems of white supremacy that reigned over the trans-Atlantic slave trade within Europe and America.”

Available for preview from 17th to 19th June 2020, the official virtual Art Basel will run from 19th to 26th June 2020.

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