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Is Art Basel Worth It?

Questioning if attending Art Basel is worth it? This article, drawing from both facts and personal experience, delves into answering the question by exploring whether engaging in Art Basel holds substantial value and clarifies its acclaim.

Leonardo Drew Installation taken at Art Basel by TouringSwitzerland

Art Basel is a famous art show that attracts close to 100,000 visitors every year. It’s famous for showing off the coolest art from all over the world and is also cited as one of the most influential in the world. Considering all these things people say, it’s no surprise that potential visitors wonder if going to Art Basel is even worth it. Whether it’s a good idea or not can depend on what you like, but there are a few things to think about when deciding if Art Basel is right for you.

Overview: Art Basel

Before we start, let’s chat about Art Basel. Featuring more than 4,000 artists and 250 leading galleries worldwide, Art Basel is an international art fair that takes place in the Swiss city of Basel. There are also Art Basel fairs that take place in Miami Beach and Hong Kong. It’s a big deal in the art world, bringing in tons of visitors, collectors, and curators from everywhere.

It connects the international art world over four to seven days. There’s a lot to see in one day, or you can go several times over a few days. 

At an art fair, a diverse array of artworks from various creators is showcased. At Art Basel specifically, attendees encounter an array of sculptures, illustrations, and artworks by different artists. Moreover, this art fair serves as a temporary gathering point for galleries, dealers, collectors, and curators.

Is it Worth Visiting Art Basel?

Image of Art Basel 2022 by

Deciding whether to go to Art Basel means thinking about the money. Tickets, travel, and places to stay can all add up and cost quite a bit. But for lots of art fans, getting to see some of the most famous artworks up close is worth spending on. Plus, going to Art Basel can help you meet other art folks and collectors, which could be a big help if you’re trying to make it in the art world.

Another thing to think about when deciding if you should go to Art Basel is the art itself. Art Basel is famous for showing the newest and coolest contemporary art, but not everyone likes everything they see. Yet, for folks really into today’s art scene and keen on checking out the newest styles and methods, Art Basel is a chance you can’t find anywhere else. In the end, whether Art Basel is a must-visit depends on what you like and what matters most to you.

In my opinion, visiting Art Basel is worth it for the following people:

  1. Art Enthusiasts and Collectors: For individuals passionate about art, attending Art Basel offers a chance to see a diverse range of artwork, discover emerging talents, and potentially add new pieces to their art collection(s). The second hall is full of art galleries where you can chat with them about their collections should you wish to buy.
  2. Art Industry Professionals: Artists, curators, and conservators can benefit from networking opportunities, gaining exposure, and keeping abreast of current trends and artists.
  3. Art Educators: Teachers and educators find Art Basel an invaluable educational resource, offering real-world examples and experiences to enrich their teaching.
  4. Art Historians: Scholars and researchers find Art Basel a live exhibition of contemporary art, providing firsthand references and insights into present-day artistic movements.
  5. Art Students and Budding Artists: Aspiring artists and students get a firsthand look at contemporary art, gather inspiration, and learn about various artistic techniques and styles.
  6. Art Dealers and Galleries: Professionals in the art business find Art Basel a prime platform for showcasing their artists’ works, fostering relationships with collectors, and exploring potential collaborations. The second hall usually hosts art galleries from around the globe.
  7. Art Critics and Journalists: People in the media or critics can learn about the latest happenings in the art world, write reviews, and talk about important trends and artists.
  8. Art Investors: For individuals interested in art as an investment, Art Basel provides exposure to works with potential future value, enabling informed investment decisions.
  9. Creative Professionals from Other Fields: Designers, architects, and creative folks from different fields can get inspired and mix up their ideas by checking out the cool and new art displayed at Art Basel.
  10. Cultural Explorers and Travelers: People enthusiastic about exploring different cultures and experiencing global art scenes can immerse themselves in the diverse offerings at Art Basel across various locations.

Analyzing the Value of Art Basel

Liu Wei Dimension Art Installation taken at Art Basel. Image by TouringSwitzerland

Art Basel excels on multiple fronts. First of all, Art Basel showcases an exceptional caliber of artworks that embody diverse styles, attracting visitors familiar with renowned art institutions like MoMA, Tate Modern, or Guggenheim in Bilbao. The modern feel and vibe here really resonate with people who like this kind of art style.

Art Basel is more than just an art fair; it is a cultural phenomenon. It is a highly anticipated event in the art world, attracting thousands of visitors. It also helps educate attendees and has a lasting impact on artists, galleries, collectors, and the broader art market. In addition, media coverage, public feedback, and social media engagement influence public perception, impacting Art Basel’s reach and significance.

Art Basel not only has cultural significance, but it also has significant economic benefits. It serves as an excellent platform for networking within the art industry and stands out in terms of facilitating sales and transactions. The event also generates millions of dollars in revenue for Basel, as visitors spend money on hotels, restaurants, and transportation.

Ultimately, Art Basel presents both cultural and economic significance to its attendees. Despite the potentially high cost of attendance, the opportunity to experience some of the most innovative and thought-provoking artworks globally, coupled with the economic advantages for the host city, justifies it as a valuable investment for many.

Personal Experiences at Art Basel

Hall 2, Art Basel by TouringSwitzerland

My personal experiences at Art Basel have been truly enjoyable. I comprehend why it’s regarded as one of the foremost art fairs globally. The installations here are notably grand and imaginative, distinct from those found in other contemporary museums.

My preference leaned towards the first hall, showcasing the immense installations. In contrast, the second hall accommodated numerous international art galleries. While certain pieces intrigued me, I thought that it resembled a shopping mall layout, with each shop offering varied forms of art.

In terms of expenses, since it’s just a day trip from my home, my only costs were the travel fare to Basel and the ticket fee to get in (around CHF 67).

Pros and Cons of Attending

• One of the most prestigious art fairs in the world• The fair can be expensive, with tickets, travel, and accommodation costs adding up quickly.
• Unique opportunity to view and purchase works of art• The fair can be hectic on a really busy day, with long lines and wait times before you can get in
• Primarily geared towards art collectors, art enthusiasts, and industry professionals• If you do not have an interest in art, you may find the experience underwhelming.

Practical Information for Art Basel

Huang Yong Ping Installation, Art Basel. Image by TouringSwitzerland
  • Best Time to Visit: The best time to go is early in the morning before it gets crowded. The hall gets busier as the day goes on.
  • Estimating Your Stay Duration: With loads of art and galleries to explore, plan to spend at least half a day, if not the whole day, at Art Basel. If you haven’t checked out Basel yet, you can do it after visiting the fair. Or, if you prefer, you can visit their art museum, Foundation Beyeler, or Tinguely Museum as an alternative.
  • Cost of Visiting Art Basel: Going to Art Basel can cost a lot, especially if you’re coming from far away or staying overnight. Since Basel is pretty easy to get around, I recommend staying in one of the top city hotels and grabbing the free Basel card. It helps you travel to Messe Basel and check out Art Basel. For a day at Art Basel, plan around CHF 67 for the ticket, CHF 30 for meals, and somewhere between CHF 150 to CHF 200 for a hotel room. So, in total, you’re looking at roughly CHF 247 to CHF 297 to visit in one day.
  • Booking Early: During the event, the best hotels and places to stay can get full fast. It’s a good idea to book early to make sure you get a spot. If you’re looking to save money, you might want to check out other options like Airbnb or hostels.

Hotels in Basel

  • Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois (5-star) – Grand Hotel Les Trois Rois is one of Europe’s oldest city hotels. Ideally located within the Old Town of Basel, the hotel offers fantastic views of the Rhine. This elegant hotel has excellent service, an exquisite dining experience, and well-appointed amenities.
  • Hotel Märthof Basel (4-star) – Hotel Märthof Basel, located in the heart of Basel near Marktplatz, is one of the best hotels in town. Featuring beautiful rooms, a 24-hour front desk, a business center, a spa center, and a terrace, you won’t regret booking here. 
  • GAIA Hotel (4-star) – GAIA Hotel is a family-run hotel located right across from Basel Main Train Station, only a 10-minute walk from the historic city center.
  • Mövenpick Hotel Basel (4-star) – Located near Basel Train Station, this contemporary hotel offers captivating vistas of Basel. Guests are afforded complimentary city transport passes, a delightful breakfast selection, and immaculate rooms, making for a truly gratifying stay experience.
  • Motel One (3-star hotel) – Right at Barfüsser Platz, Motel One Basel is a contemporary hotel with fashionable interiors and unbeatable prices.

How to Get to Art Basel

Image was taken in Messe Basel by
AddressMesseplatz | City Lounge, 4058 Basel
By TramBasel, Messeplatz
By CarParkhaus Messe Basel
Riehenstrasse 101, 4058 Basel

Final Thoughts: Is Art Basel Worth Visiting?

Art Basel was a great experience for me, being someone who loves art. I got to explore lots of different artworks and galleries with amazing pieces from all over the world. But if you’re not into art, this event might not be your thing since it’s all about showcasing art collections.

For art enthusiasts and collectors, though, Art Basel is a big deal. You get to see and even buy some of the most sought-after artworks. Plus, it’s a good place to meet people in the art world and learn about what’s happening in art nowadays.

Just keep in mind that going to Art Basel can cost a lot when you consider travel, where to stay, and entry fees. So, it’s smart to plan and budget carefully if you’re thinking of going. Overall, Art Basel is a fancy event showing off top-notch art from all around, but it might not suit everyone. For those who do attend, it’s likely to be a memorable and enriching experience.

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Darla Uhl is the owner of Her home is in the German-speaking part of Switzerland. Having lived almost 20 years in Switzerland, she's traveled extensively all over the country.

Darla's favorite regions to visit in Switzerland include Engadin, Lake Geneva, Bernese Oberland, Ticino, and Valais. She loves spending time with her family, hiking, visiting museums, and reading books.

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