Founded in 1872, Kunsthalle Basel is a leading contemporary art center and exhibition venue located in Basel, Switzerland.
The origins of the Kunsthalle date back to 1840, when the Basler Kunstverein (Basel Art Association) began organizing temporary exhibitions of art in various venues in the city. In 1872, the association moved to a permanent home, designed by architect Johann Jakob Stehlin, which was named Kunsthalle (Art Gallery); as usual in German-speaking countries, the term (as its synonym Kunsthaus) identifies a venue aimed to host temporary exhibitions and special events of art, rather than a traditional museum holding a permanent collection. The gallery’s building, which includes remarkable decorations also by Arnold Böcklin, was fully renovated in 2004.
Kunsthalle Basel, view from the library, photo Philipp Hänger, 2016
Maryam Jafri, Installation view Generic Corner, view on Cereal, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Photo: Philipp Hänger
Erin Shirreff, installation view, Halves and Wholes, view on Concrete Buildings, 2013-16, Kunsthalle Basel, 2016. Photo: Philipp Hänger
Along with showcasing works by Vincent van Gogh (1924), Paul Gauguin (1928), and Paul Cézanne (1936), in the decades after its opening and until World War Two, the Kunsthalle Basel hosted seminal exhibitions of the most important artists of the time, including Pablo Picasso (1914), Ernst Ludwig Kirchner (1923), Emil Nolde (1928), Max Beckmann (1930), Henri Matisse (1931), Georges Braque (1933), and Marc Chagall (1933).
After the war, the center continued its activity through exhibitions of both “classic modern” artists – such as a group display of Juan Gris, Georges Braque, and Pablo Picasso (1948) and a large-scale exhibition of French Impressionism (1949) – and of contemporary avant-garde figures including Max Gubler (1959), Mark Rothko (1962), Franz Kline (1964), Jean Tinguely (1972), Robert Ryman, Dan Flavin, and Sol LeWitt (1975), Enzo Cucchi, Joseph Beuys, Jannis Kounellis, and Anselm Kiefer (1976), Franz Gertsch (1986), Nam June Paik (1991), Olafur Eliasson (1997), and Maurizio Cattelan (1999). In the last years, Kunsthalle focused more on emerging and experimental figures with special attention to female artists such as Anicka Yi, Maryam Jafri, Louise Guerra, and Andra Ursuta.
Along with art exhibitions, Kunsthalle Basel organizes guided tours, live performances, talks, screenings, and educational programs for kids and students.
The center also includes a library, a photo archive, a bookshop, and a cafe.
Anicka Yi, Installation view 7,070,430K of Digital Spit, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015, Courtesy Anicka Yi & 47 Canal, New York, photo: © Philipp Hänger
Andra Ursuta, Installation view, Whites, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015 Photo: Philipp Hänger Courtesy Andra Ursuta; Massimo de Carlo, Milan/London; Ramiken Crucible, New York
Lotte Meret Effinger, Installation view, Supernature, 2014, Jungs, hier kommt der Masterplan, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Courtesy Lotte Meret Effinger. Photo: Philipp Hänger
Anne Imhof, Angst, 2016 installation view at Kunsthalle Basel. Photo: Philipp Hänger
Kunsthalle Basel, view of the library; photo Philipp Hänger, 2016
Louise Guerra, Installation view, Chapter 15 Sci – Fi Opera: Sleep Tracking App Loop Station Island, 2015, Jungs, hier kommt der Masterplan, Kunsthalle Basel, 2015. Courtesy Louise Guerra. Photo: Philipp Hängern
Cover photo by Yohan Zerdou
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