New Zealand Gallery to Show at Art Basel   18 May 2012

Anna Blair

Michael Lett Gallery are to exhibit at Art Basel this year. The Auckland based gallery will show work by Simon Denny.

The 44th edition of Art Basel runs this year from the 14th to the 17th of June. Held in Switzerland, Art Basel is one of the largest, and most prestigious, contemporary art fairs in the world. The fair acts as a meeting point for the world’s top tier galleries, best-known collectors and biggest contemporary art publications.

This year, as most years, Art Basel’s exhibitor list is overwhelmingly weighted toward Western Europe. Most galleries will come from Paris and across Germany. Over twenty galleries from London and one from Salisbury will represent the United Kingdom.

For those located outside centres such as London and New York, Art Basel is significant in gaining international notice both for galleries and their artists. Less than ten galleries from the southern hemisphere are exhibiting. Michael Lett Gallery is the only one of these galleries to hail from Australasia.

This is not Michael Lett Gallery’s first year at Art Basel, though visitors to the fair will find them in the section dedicated to emerging galleries. In 2010, the gallery showed the work of Sriwhana Spong at Art Basel. In 2009, Michael Lett showed the work of Dan Arps.

New Zealanders have also been shown at Art Basel by galleries from outside New Zealand. Jacqueline Fraser’s work appeared at Art Basel in 2006 and 2007, shown by Roslyn Oxley Gallery, based in Sydney.

This year, Michael Lett Gallery will present the work of Simon Denny, a New Zealander based in Germany. Denny’s work looks at the relationship between media, technology and culture, often focused around the television. In addition to his upcoming appearance at Art Basel, Denny’s solo show at Aspen Art Gallery in the United States opens tomorrow and he is, alongside Sriwhana Spong, nominated for this year’s Walter’s Art Prize.

Those wishing to see New Zealand galleries in London may have some luck at Frieze, the United Kingdom’s biggest art fair, in October. Michael Lett Gallery have shown at Frieze for the last two years. Simon Denny was shown alongside Hany Armanious in 2010, while Dan Arps represented the gallery last year. This year’s exhibitor list has not yet been released.

Anna Blair is a freelance writer and architectural historian studying hotels from the 1920s. She currently divides her time between Paris and East London. Further work can be found at her blogDispatches from Europe.

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