Art This Week in Culture

Headed to Switzerland? Here are the 9 Must-See Shows in Zurich & Basel

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Donald Judd, Untitled, 1991. Image courtesy of the artist and Gagosian.

Basel

Donald Judd
Where: 
Gagosian
When: June 10 - September 7
Why It's Worth A Look : Donald Judd’s radical approach to art making—a dogged determination to have his work viewed in its physicality, not in the metaphorical sense—is on full display at this solo exhibition. Presenting 10 of his quintessential wall sculptures created during his time in Switzerland from 1987 to 1991, the show is all about the essentials, using aluminum and plexiglass to explore a dialogue of color and space.
Know Before You Go: Gagosian will also be presenting one of Judd’s large-scale works made in 1970 in Art Basel's Unlimited section, specifically for monumental artworks. 

Sarah Lucas, installation view BUNNY RABBIT (2022). Photography by Kate Morrison. Image courtesy of Tate Britian.

Bunny Rabbit” by Sarah Lucas
Where: 
Contemporary Fine Arts
When: June 11 - July 27
Why It's Worth A Look : The British artist crash lands in Basel with her continued irreverent exploration of gender, bodies, and everyday objects through audaciously reconfigured found items and furniture. With a title reminiscent of her calling card “bunnies”—tights-clad legs and torsos that then sprout long, tubular ears—Lucas continues to skewer patriarchal tradition with her signature aplomb.
Know Before You Go: Lucas is a member of the “Young British Artists” or “Britart” posse that gained public attention in 1988, and colleagues include Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Angus Fairhurst, Michael Landy, Christine Borland, and Gary Hume.

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Fondation Beyeler. Image courtesy of Fondation Beyeler.

DANCE WITH DAEMONS
Where: 
Fondation Beyeler
When: Through August 11
Why It's Worth A Look : Spilling over indeed—every inch of Fondation Beyeler and its park has become an experimental site for contemporary art. With site-specific work and adaptions, the show features a rotating curation of work to foster an ever-changing dialogue. Populating the gorgeous building and grounds are pieces by the likes of Michael Armitage, Ian Cheng, Arthur Jafa, Precious Okoyomon, Chuquimamani-Condori, Marlene Dumas, and many more.
Know Before You Go: The show was conceived as a “living organism” with the intention of adapting and transforming during the summer season. 

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Dan Flavin, Untitled (to Don Judd, colorist) 1-5, 1987. Photography by Florian Holzherr. Image courtesy of the artist and Kunstmuseum Basel.

Dedications in Light” by Dan Flavin
Where: 
Kunstmuseum Basel
When: Through August 18
Why It's Worth A Look : As a pioneering figure of minimalism alongside Donald Judd, Flavin liberated art from illusion, encouraging viewers to engage with materiality head on. This major career-spanning survey is an ode to Flavin's approach, bringing together 35 light works along with works on paper, even two early, rarely-shown paintings. There’s even some of Urs Graf’s works selected by Flavin himself for a show he had at the Kunstmuseum in 1975, crafting a full-circle moment in the titan’s career.
Know Before You Go: Flavin rejected any notion of metaphysical or spiritual aspirations with his work. In his words, “It is what it is, and it ain’t nothin’ else.”

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Ghislaine Leung, "Commitments" (Installation View), 2021. Photography by Philipp Hänger. Image courtesy of the artist and Kunsthalle Basel.

Commitments” by Ghislaine Leung
Where: 
Kunsthalle Basel
When: Through August 18
Why It's Worth A Look : The British artist takes the art world—and the labor it takes to create—to task with her first institutional solo exhibition at Kunsthalle Basel. Her large-scale paintings manifest what being an artist costs, both monetarily and emotionally: Days, 2024, for instance, highlights the disparity between time spent producing the work and the time she was actually paid to make it. With Leung’s vision, work is made personal—and frighteningly clear.
Know Before You Go: Leung’s show notes reveal many personal facts about her life, including how her mother was an artist, her father a designer. As she notes: “Work never stopped, in sickness or in health. Money was not talked about. Money weighed on all things.” 

Zurich

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Nairy Baghramian, Se ployant, 2024. Image courtesy of the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

Modèle Vivant (Se Ployant)” by Nairy Baghramian
Where: 
Hauser & Wirth
When: June 7 - September 7
Why It's Worth A Look : The Iranian-born artist has twisted and bent industrial materials into a suite of non-figurative forms, eight of which will be on display at her inaugural exhibition in the space. Combining sculpture and photography, Baghramian finishes her “Modèle Vivant," the title inspired by the attention to detail that she would give to drawing a live model.
Know Before You Go: Baghramian won the Nasher Prize for excellence in sculpture in 2022. 

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Louise Nevelson, Untitled, 1976. Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie Haas Zürich.

Louise Nevelson
Where: 
Galerie Haas
When: June 7 - July 20
Why It's Worth A Look : The late American sculptor gets a new retrospective timed with the start of Zurich Art Week. The focused exhibition spotlights seminal wall-mounted sculptures and collages from the late 1950s, demonstrating the powerful effect her monochromatic, monumental works still have on viewers today.
Know Before You Go: Growing up in Rockland, Maine, Nevelson often played lumberyard scraps, inspiring her early interest in sculptor. 

Nora Turato, poor babies so scared of themselves and others, 2022. Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie Gregor Staiger. 

The Next Big Thing Is You” by Nora Turato
Where: 
Galerie Gregor Staiger
When: June 8 - July 20
Why It's Worth A Look : The Amsterdam-based, Croatian-born artist turns her attention to the culture of authenticity in her fourth solo exhibition at Galerie Gregor Straiger. Cutting between heartfelt affirmations and commands to purchase commercialized balms such as green juices or airport lounge access, Turato’s new large, framed oil pastels tackle the topic at hand with insidious softness.
Know Before You Go: Language is a huge part of Turato’s practice: Whether exploring a subject through performance art or text-based visuals, the artist continues to unpack the incessant stream of language in modern culture. 

Ida Ekblad, KING OF THE CAVE, 2022. Image courtesy of Karma International.

Ida Ekblad, Shuang Li, Vivian Suter
Where: 
Karma International
When: June 8 - September 14
Why It's Worth A Look : This intergenerational group exhibition presents the work of three women artists who are radically expanding the boundaries of painting through experimental processes that incorporate nature, chance occurrences, and alternative sites beyond the traditional canvas. 
Know Before You Go: Ekblad's feral, gestural marks merge with the wildness of the outdoors. Suter's vivid unstretched canvases react to the heat and humidity of her rainforest environs. And Li crafts minimalist abstractions from organic substances.