Home Arts Basel will have a new cultural venue in a former mayonnaise factory

Basel will have a new cultural venue in a former mayonnaise factory

by godlove4241
0 comment

While the city’s powerhouses for Art Basel are still vying to hold court at the five-star Les Trois Rois hotel, across the river a cooler crowd gathers at the Basel Social Club (BSC) – a free-to-access, traveling commercial arts and events organization that set up shop this week in a sprawling former mayonnaise factory, a 20-minute walk north of Messeplatz.

BSC was launched last year by a group of gallerists, artists and curators, who organized a program in a 1930s villa in the south of the city, to coincide with Art Basel. For its second iteration, operations have ramped up considerably: Across five floors of cavernous rooms with raw concrete walls, more than 100 commercial galleries and project spaces display works, almost all for sale. These vary wildly in size and price, including the mega-gallery Hauser & Wirth featuring a video installation by Pipilotti Rist and Basel’s Knoell Gallery featuring a large painting by AR Penck. In addition to art, a program of films and performances, as well as pop-up restaurants, bars and a disco hall.

Factory setting

The 12,000 m² factory that BSC temporarily occupies belonged until recently to Nestlé Switzerland. Last December, 75% of the site was purchased by KULTQuartier Immobilien, a company founded in Basel last year by Swiss siblings Corinne, Dominik and Gabriel Eckenstein. They have since ceded the building rights to property developer Franck Areal; much of the main building will be transformed into a permanent cultural venue focusing on contemporary dance and the performing arts.

It may look like a squat party, but you can tell it’s funded by Swiss money

“Basel lacks cutting-edge cultural venues for less traditional art forms, especially those that can appeal to young people,” explains Corinne Eckenstein. As director of a dance theater in Vienna focused on young audiences, she is particularly invested in broadening engagement in the arts: “We have world-class museums and fantastic theatre, but the experimental dance and the performing arts need more investment.” Current plans for the venue include several performance halls converted from building silos and residential spaces for international artists. Eckenstein says a visual arts program will likely run alongside it, because “merging artistic disciplines makes a lot of sense.”

The project will take “seven to nine years” to complete, says one of the promoters, Pascal Biedermann. He describes it as a “public-private partnership” with the canton of Basel, which he adds is likely to provide funding at some point. Biedermann and Eckenstein refuse to give a budget or reveal the purchase price of the site.

The Rheinhattan Project

The project is part of Klybeckplus, a wider regeneration plan launched by the canton of Basel in 2016 to redevelop the riverside district of Klybeck, associated with Basel’s first pharmaceutical industry, as well as its seaports. In recent decades, a number of companies have reduced their activities or partially moved abroad, causing some buildings to become obsolete. “Most of these old factories and warehouses have been turned into skyscrapers or destroyed. It is extremely rare to find something of this size in Basel,” says Eckenstein.

The conversion of the former Nestlé factory of 12,000 m² will take up to nine years david owens

New plans for the neighborhood will provide housing for 8,500 people, around a quarter of which will be affordable. Twelve high-rise buildings will also be constructed, leading locals to dub the project “Rheinhattan”. Part of the aim of the project is, according to Biedermann, to help change the image of Basel as “a rather calm and conservative city”.

“Our program is a sign of what is possible for a space like this in Basel,” says Robbie Fitzpatrick, a Parisian gallerist who is one of the founding members of BSC. The Eckensteins gave BSC full use of the site this week for free – a move that no doubt paid off by driving foot traffic to a location previously unknown to many regular Art Basel visitors.

It’s not hard to see why Basel has an interest in investing in a project that, at least anecdotally, helps the city look vibrant and cool: “Basel really needed it, especially after the change of venue for the fair of List,” says artist Matt Copson. , which presents a work at the BSC. A number of visitors also remark that despite its DIY aesthetic, the organization and facilities, as well as the art on display, are very professional. “It may look like a squat party, but you can tell it’s funded by Swiss money – the toilets are so clean. In Belgium, we would piss in a hole in the ground,” says Damîen Bertelle-Rogier, a gallery owner from Brussels.

Warm up Basel

Promises of an exciting new cultural chapter come as Art Basel steps up its efforts to make the city a “warmer place”, by getting hotels and restaurants to lower their rates during the week of the fair, said Noah Horowitz, general manager of the fair. The arts journal in an interview last month.

“There have always been complaints that Art Basel week seems a bit dead on Wednesday after all the major collectors have left,” says Peter Steinmann, founder of Basel arts organization Space 25. until the end of the week encourages people to stay in. And if you can make the city fun all year round, that’s obviously even more lucrative.

While Basel has long presented itself as the cultural capital of Switzerland, maintaining and even increasing its notoriety, as well as diversifying its audiences, seems increasingly essential. Long-time rival Zurich’s art scene continues to grow, while the inaugural Paris+ fair by Art Basel has also raised concerns over whether Basel’s cultural cachet is waning.

Locals say initiatives such as BSC did not come out of nowhere, but rather represent how public interests increasingly meet an existing and exciting contemporary art scene.

Many Basel people refer to the non-profit venue Salts, established in 2009, as an example of a local space that stages emerging contemporary art. Some also identify an inflection point for the city’s contemporary art scene around seven years ago, after a handful of commercial galleries, such as Weiss Falk, opened around Rebgasse. Others say that since the pandemic the city has a new energy, with several programs and spaces opening in the past 18 months. This includes the experimental exhibition space Civic, which is attached to the Academy of Arts and Design Basel and was founded by curator Matylda Kryzkowsky. Gesturing to the packed BSC crowd, gathered on Wednesday night for a performance by musician Mykki Blanco, she said: “Half of these people are locals: art students and professional artists. There is a great contemporary art scene in this city that people tend to overlook. When asked why, she replies: “The Swiss are pretty quiet about this stuff. Maybe now they should be less.”

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2022 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by artworlddaily