Feet of Art Basel

As the preview days of Art Basel 2019 draws to an end, and most of us bipedal are heading back home or on to the next show, I look back in wonder: This enormous festival of contemporary and modern art just reached another level, I suppose. Booths are considerably fuller than last year, as Dirk Boll of Christie’s observed. The pressure on galleries to sell is bigger than ever.

This choice has not only an appropriate title and comfort style, they are a bit artsy themselves

Today, Thursday, the show opens for the public, and I can’t wait to read all the reviews, pre-written or not; so, today I want to pay tribute to the real heroes of any art fair in general and Art Basel in particular: Our feet. They take you from Unlimited to the press center, to Hyperion Bar and the main building, on to Liste, Volta and back and not once, if you are like me, have you ever thanked them.

smart and stylish

Did you know that the human foot contains 26 of the 206 bones in the adult body and that the average human being walks about 100,000 miles in their lives? Perhaps a little more when you go to art fairs on a regular basis

When your comfort is #1

So, whose are the feet in this series of rather impressions? Just regular visitors of the preview, most of them, probably, holders of first choice or exhibitor tickets. Where will they go and whom will they meet? What are they looking at and what are their thoughts? In my mind, I am taking a walk in somebody else’s shoes with just the little clues their footwear gives me. Are they buying? Hoping to sell? Are they bored, excited, avoiding someone or stalking a star? Is it their first time here? Unlikely! Will they return? Who knows? Are they richer than they seem? Poorer? Penniless or about to make incredible amounts of money this week but they don’t know it yet? What were some of them thinking, when they picked their shoes, stilettos, sneakers, boots, sandals or loafers? Well, you have to make a choice one way or the other, so I decided to wear my Nike Air Premiums, just for one reason: Olaf Nicolai’s Big Sneaker 2001, presented by Galerie Eigen+Art at Unlimited.

Olaf Nicola’s Big Sneaker 2001

This gigantic inflatable, single, shoe reminds me of a bouncy castle, and “you can actually sit in it and rest your feet in a shoe“, gallery owner and art dealer Gerd Harry Lybke said to me with his characteristic roguish smile, when I told him about my upcoming article.
Barbara Werhahn

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