Exhibitors from Spain's Atlantic coast, California, and West Africa are among those enriching Art Basel's Swiss Edition
From a Luanda-based couple championing Angolan artists to a Sicilian gallerist dedicated to activist art, there’s a host of dealers making their debuts at Art Basel in Basel this year. Here are seven newcomers to watch, presenting works in the Galleries, Feature, and Statements sectors.
Karen Jenkins-Johnson opened her first gallery in 1996 in San Francisco: ‘I was a Black businesswoman looking to open a gallery, but not one focused on Black artists. After three or four years however, I became frustrated with the systemic racism that was implicit in the interactions and the inaction I was witnessing [in the artworld],’ she says. Quickly realizing that Black American artists were grossly undervalued and lacking representation, she decided to take action. Today she has become an ardent advocate for overlooked artists of the African diaspora. Her San Francisco gallery and second space in Brooklyn champion names ranging from 20th-century masters such as Gordon Parks and Wadsworth Jarrell to contemporary artists like South African Mohau Modisakeng. Highlights of the gallery’s group presentation in the fair's main sector include evocative prints from the early 1990s by pioneering New York-based photographer Ming Smith and monumental abstract canvases by 80-year-old West Coast painter Mary Lovelace O’Neal.