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High art

Messe Basel Exhibition Centre by Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland paired with Antonio Berard Mesh and Cloque Blazer.

Messe Basel Exhibition Centre by Herzog & de Meuron in Basel, Switzerland paired with Antonio Berard Mesh and Cloque Blazer.


 
 
 

 

 

 

 

An exhibition hall as beautiful as the art displayed within? Novel idea. Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron set out to do just that when hired to replace the primary hall for Art Basel in Switzerland. Also charged with reinventing the Miami Art Museum, Jacques Herzog pledged to put an end to the air-conditioned culture of modern cities by reconnecting people to their environments. Mission accomplished: the new Messe Basel marries beauty, utility and luminosity: spacious at 41,000 square feet with 30-foot-tall ceilings, sheathed in shimmering metal latticework, anchored by a soaring cylindrical atrium. With its inaugural Art Basel in full swing (through Sunday), Messe Basel is hosting the most compelling elements of the fair, including 14 Rooms, a web of live art by celebrated avant gardists including Marina Abramović and Tino Sehgal. Charged with exploring the relationship between space, time and physicality through the “material” of the human body, the artists have animated their rooms with ingenuity, intrigue and intimacy. Xu Zhen’s “In Just a Blink of an Eye” baffles me most, with its figure frozen in mid-air, defying physics, suggesting liminal status. Considering Herzog’s disdain for fur coats donned indoors, I assume he would approve of me sporting this mesh blazer at Art Basel.

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