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Marine Hugonnier, Towards Tomorrow, 2001 courtesy Chantal Crousel

Preparations for Art 33 Basel are running at full speed: In two weeks - on June 11 - the most important show of modern and contemporary art will open its gates. (Documenta 11 begins on the 8th June). The event was dubbed the "Olympics of the Art World" by the renowned New York Times, and once again it expects artists, dealers and collectors from every continent. The Vernissage for invited guests and media will take place on June 11.

Never before has there been such a wealth of formidable participants of such international origin, and never before have the participating galleries worked so hard to inspire their guests with spectacular masterpieces and new art projects. The announced works of art promise exciting discoveries and experiences. Art itself and the art market are flourishing in 2002 despite the difficult underlying economic conditions.

The "Art Unlimited" platform was introduced as an experiment at Art Basel in 2000 and has quickly established itself as a popular supplement to the art show. Indeed, Art Unlimited is more than just a new sector of the exhibition: the project hall breaks fresh ground and opens up many new dimensions in the presentation and distribution of contemporary art. It offers the artists and their galleries an innovative exhibition and sales platform that abolishes the traditional categorization of art shows, group exhibitions and biennials by unifying their advantages in a new format. This year, 66 exciting projects, laid out in an open exhibition architecture, can be viewed and purchased. They were selected by the Art Committee from over 100 projects submitted. It is pleasing that artists of the youngest generation are represented in addition to leading artists such as Richard Serra, Lawrence Weiner, Mario Merz, Paul McCarthy and Anish Kapoor and sought-after young artists such as Pipilotti Rist, Doug Aitken and Mark Dion. New works and works created specifically for "Art Unlimited" are supplemented by selected works that have already become famous in the past decade. All media are once again represented - from sculptures, installations, photo prints and murals to video art and performances.

Art Basel is the first art show in the world to employ an ombudsperson, thereby underlining its commitment to top quality and first-class service. In charge of this new service, which is free for both exhibitors and visitors, is Toni Stooss, the renowned art expert and former museum director. Toni Stooss was Head of Exhibitions at the Art Museum in Zurich from 1982 to 1992, Director of the Art Museum in Vienna from 1992 to 1995, and Director of the Museum of Fine Arts in Berne from 1996 to 2001. The 56-year-old Bernese art historian received international acclaim for exhibitions of contemporary art, as well as 19th-century art and the Classical Moderns. Visitors and gallery representatives can refer to him if any problems arise - for instance, concerning the authenticity or condition of a piece of art. He will endeavor to clarify any misunderstandings and to mediate in the event of complaints. The ombudsperson will be present for the whole duration of Art 33 Basel.

Art Basel was the first art show to create an ideal setting for films. Since 1999, a varied program of films by artists has been shown at the Stadtkino Basel (Klostergasse 5, entrance via garden of Kunsthalle Art Hall). It features films by internationally renowned artists as well as by young talents that the audience has not yet discovered. For Art 33 Basel, Art Film has come up with a new addition. In the square outside the Stadtkino, an Open-Air Cinema with 100 seats will be set up, if weather permits, every evening from June 11 to 16 (except Saturday, when the ArtZappening culture festival takes place). It will show various cinematic portraits of artists. In his film "Pecker", John Waters tells the fictional story of a boy from Baltimore who takes up photography as a hobby, is then discovered by a gallery and - virtually against his will - makes a meteoric rise in the art scene. The American director Michael Hoobooms presents an impressive film on the life and death of the AIDS-sick performance artist Tom Chomont ("Tom"). On one evening, the two DJs clovis & ephemere will present their "Archivbeat" project. It combines cinematic material from past eras with modern rhythmical music and offers the audience a surprising and amazing visual and acoustical experience. The supporting program will be an experimental film on the artist Laurie Anderson. This year´s program for "Art Film" includes films by successful artists such as Paul McCarthy, Pipilotti Rist, Roman Signer, Dan Graham and Öyvind Fahlstöm. The younger generation of artists is represented by Doug Aitken, Brice Dellsperger, Angus Fairhurst, Emanuelle Antille, Hiroyuky Oki, Joshua Mosley, Marine Hugonnier and many others

"Art Film" will already be curated for the second time by This Brunner, the renowned film expert who is also a collector of art and one of the leading personalities of the Swiss film scene. This Brunner is the longstanding Director of the Arthouse Commercio Movie AG in Zurich, a member of the commission of the Locarno film festival, and founder and chief executive of the Douglas Sirk Foundation.

Those who enjoyed the celebrations during last year´s Show can look forward to numerous events in conjunction with Art Basel again in June 2002. In addition to private events and large receptions in the museums, ArtZappening will return this year. All guests are invited to this large event on June 15, which takes place on Theaterplatz this year. The official Art Party for invited guests will be on Friday, June 14 at the Kaserne. Moreover, the exhibition of the federal competition for free art and the young alternative show entitled "LISTE" will be held again. The meeting place for night owls is the Art Club in the Art Hall (Kunsthalle), where well-known DJs including Ali Schwarz (Tief Schwarz), Bernd Rösler (Stereo Deluxe Records), Michi Mettke (Compost Records), Rainer Trüby (Electric Chair), Michael Scheibenreiter (Phoneheads) and Thomas Duif (Supperlounge) will be supplying the sounds. Art Club is supported by carhartt.

Rarely have the museum exhibitions in Basel and the neighboring cities been of such outstanding quality as this year: The Basel Art Museum, The Museum for Contemporary Art and the Basel Art Hall have joined forces to present an overview of 20th- and 21st-century paintings entitled "Painting on the move 1-3". The Fondation Beyeler shows an extensive exhibition on Claude Monet and abstraction. The Museum Jean Tinguely presents a retrospective of Marcel Duchamp curated by Harald Szeeman. The Vitra Design Museum shows "Living in Motion - Design and Architecture for Flexible Living". At the Art Museum in Zurich, an exhibition by Eija-Liisa Ahtila will be presented from June 15th and, also in Zurich, the Haus Konstruktiv will be presenting works by François Morellet. The ZKM in Karlsruhe contributes a thematic exhibition entitled "Iconoclash: Beyond Image Wars", and the Federal Art Hall Baden-Baden presents works from the Schürmann collection under the title "Prophets of Boom". The varied offerings are rounded off by Jannis Kounellis at the "Halls for New Art (Hallen für neue Kunst)" in Schaffhausen, Urs Lüthi at the Musée Rath in Geneva and Ilona Ruegg at the Museum of Fine Arts in Berne.

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