The scene on the Messeplatz as the fair began.


At 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the lines on the Messeplatz to pass through metal detectors to enter Art Basel must have been at least 30 people long, but they moved quickly. (The Swiss security guards—many of whom wear charming berets—work with great efficiency.) Inside, nearly 300 exhibitors were aiming to sell art, and their efforts constitute an absolute embarrassment of riches for all those in the Swiss city along the Rhine. There are works on offer by big names, new names, and recently resurfaced names. There is something for everyone.

By noon, the aisles and booths were thrumming with activity, as people snapped photos, made handshake agreements, snapped more photos, and then ducked out into the courtyard of the Messe Basel convention center to buy a veal sausage, some oysters, and maybe another glass of Champagne, perhaps in hopes of keeping the buzz alive from the traditional Champagne breakfast that marks the start of Basel’s opening day. Below, some of the highlights from the fair, which are too numerous to even begin listing here.