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Maike Cruse, Director of Art Basel in Basel, is Leading the Fair into a New Era

Art Basel Basel is set to be a spectacular showcase of contemporary art, held annually in the vibrant city of Basel, Switzerland. As one of the premier art fairs globally, Art Basel brings together leading galleries, artists, and collectors from around the world, fostering a dynamic environment for artistic exchange and innovation. This year, the fair welcomes Maike Cruse as its new Director. Cruse, with her extensive background in art management and community engagement, promises to bring fresh perspectives and innovative approaches to the event. In this exclusive interview, Cruse shares her insights and plans for Art Basel Basel 2024, highlighting her strategies for integrating her past experiences, fostering new collaborations, and addressing the diverse needs of the fair's international audience.

Mike Cruse

Maike Cruse, Director of Art Basel in Basel


You're stepping into your role as Director of Art Basel in Basel with a rich background in art management and community engagement. How do you plan to integrate your previous experiences into your new position to further enrich the Art Basel experience?


When I began working for Art Basel last summer, the first thing I did was engage in conversations with our various stakeholders – artists, gallerists, curators, museum professionals, and collectors, both here in Basel and internationally. I think it is important to work collaboratively and understand the most pressing issues of the moment and how we could integrate them to move Art Basel into the future. Besides ensuring that Art Basel in Basel maintains its position as the premier fair and showcases the best and most ambitious projects, we also need to address a younger generation of collectors, curators, and artists. This year, we worked on an expanded city-wide program that includes projects all around Basel, creating places for people to come together.


Given your extensive track record in fostering partnerships, can you share some of the collaborative formats you hope to introduce at Art Basel in Basel that might spotlight contemporary artists and galleries?


One development I am very much looking forward to is the recontextualization of the Parcours sector, which will move to Clarastrasse, an everyday shopping street connecting Messeplatz to the Rhine. Stefanie Hessler, Director of the Swiss Institute (SI) in New York, will curate the show for the first time, bringing together more than 20 site-specific, newly produced works around the topics of circulation, transformation, and ecological processes—topics that are currently important for cities worldwide.


How do you plan to address the diverse needs and expectations of a global audience at Art Basel, ensuring that the fair remains relevant and responsive to international art trends?


One of the most important aspects of building the fair is the selection process and deciding which projects and galleries to include. The committee makes sure to diversify and rejuvenate the fair every year, aligning it closely with ongoing discussions and advancements within the global art ecosystem. This ensures that we continuously exhibit works of the highest quality.


Can you discuss the importance of cultivating partnerships with local and international cultural institutions for Art Basel, and how these collaborations enhance the fair's offerings?


Collaborations with local institutions are of utmost importance for Art Basel. Every year, they curate shows of exceptional quality. For instance, this year's summer show at Fondation Beyeler will bring together a roster of internationally renowned artists, while the Kunstmuseum is hosting a special exhibition of Dan Flavin's work alongside a presentation of 100 years of Pan-African figurative painting in collaboration with the Zeitz MOCAA. These are all must-see exhibitions.


Looking ahead, how do you see Art Basel evolving in the next few years? Are there any new sectors or types of programming you are hoping to introduce?


We closely monitor the current developments of the art market and assess the needs of our galleries, implementing changes as necessary. We have many ideas in mind and will analyze our findings and our upcoming fair in Basel to decide how to move into the future.


Art Basel

Opening Hours:

-Unlimited Opening (by invitation only)

Monday, June 10, 2024, from 4pm – 8pm, First Choice VIP CardholdersMonday, June 10, 2024, from 6pm – 8pm, Preview VIP Cardholders

-VIP Days (by invitation only)

Tuesday, June 11, 2024, 11am until 8pm, First Choice VIP CardholdersTuesday, June 11, 2024, 4pm to 8pm, First Choice & Preview VIP CardholdersWednesday, June 12, 2024, 11am to 8pm, First Choice, Preview, Two Day, One Day VIP Cardholders

-Vernissage (access with a Vernissage + ticket, Premium + ticket, or by invitation)

Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 5pm to 8pm, First Choice, Preview, Vernissage & Two Day VIP Cardholders

-Public Days (access with a ticket or a VIP Card)

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 11am to 7pmFriday, June 14, 2024, 11am to 7pmSaturday, June 15, 2024, 11am to 7pmSunday, June 16, 2024, 11am to 7pm


Messe Basel (Messeplatz 10 4058 BaselSwitzerland)



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