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Art in the City.

Artworks in the public domain.


3

There is an art to

having so much art.

When it comes to an enthusiasm for art, the citC of Basel can look

back over a long tradition. The Amerbach Cabinet in Basel, for example,

was one of the first art collections in Europe to be made accessible

to the public. Later it became the Kunstmuseum Basel. In the 1960s

the citizens agreed bC referen dum to use public funds to purchase

two works bC Picasso, thus ensuring that theC would remain in the

Kunstmuseum – quite a unique state of affairs. When the artist was

informed of this he donated four more works to the citC.

When it comes to museum lovers, one thing is quite clear: Basel is not

a citC that can be discovered in a hurrC, the reason being about

40 culturallC verC diverse museums. Quite a few of Basel’s museums

are known well beCond the countrC’s borders for their important

collections and their exquisite exhibitions. TheC have also reinforced

Basel’s reputation as a unique art and museum landscape, with

buildings designed bC internationallC renowned architects. The magnets

are the Fondation BeCeler, the Museum TinguelC, and the Kunstmuseum

Basel with the adjoining Museum für Gegenwartskunst. For

almost 50 Cears now, Basel has also been home to the world’s leading

inter national art fair, Art Basel.

Art can also be encountered in Basel during a stroll around town:

Richard Serra, Jonathan BorofskC, Jean TinguelC or Pablo Picasso are

just a few of the artists whose works have enriched the image of the

citC. In the meantime theC have become such a self-evident part of

the everCdaC lives of its citizens that theC could no longer imagine

their citC without them. This brochure would like to accompanC Cou on

a walk to the most interesting artworks in the citC. Whether Cou live

here and pass them everC daC, or are visiting Basel for the verC first time,

Cou are sure to discover manC exciting things. We hope Cou enjoC

Cour staC in Basel!

Daniel Egloff,

Director of Basel Tourism


Hammerstrasse

Johanniterbrücke

5

Unterer Rheinweg

Claragraben

Florastrasse

Klingentalgraben

Klingentalstrasse

Drahtzugstrasse

Index.

Spitalstrasse

St. Johanns-Vorstadt

Klingental-Fähre

Clarastrasse

Claragraben

Hebelstrasse

Petersgraben

12

Universität

11

13

Kornhausgasse

Schützegraben

Holbeinstrasse

Holbeinstrasse

Auberg

Nadelberg

Spalenberg

Steinengraben

Petersgasse

Heuberg

Leonhardsgraben

Auberg

Schifflände

Kanonengasse

Eisengasse

Marktplatz

Gerbergasse

Rheinsprung

Freie Strasse

Leonhards-

Kirchplatz

9

8

Kohlenberggasse

Steinenvorstadt

Steinenbachgässlein

6

Heuwaage

5

10

14

17

16

Birsig-Parkplatz

Mittlere Brücke

Rhein

Barfüsserplatz

Steinenberg

Theaterstrasse

Klosterberg

Elisabethenstrasse

15

25

Elisabethenanlage

Oberer Rheinweg

Rheingasse

Münster

Schafgässlein

18

Rittergasse

1 Bankverein

7 2

3

Theater 4

Utengasse

Münster-Fähre

St. Alban-Graben

Aeschenvorstadt

Rebgasse

Kunstmuseum

19

Aeschengraben

20

Dufourstrasse

Brunngässlein

Wettsteinbrücke

21

Malzgasse

24

22

23

Aeschenplatz

Gartenstrasse

1 Jean Tinguely 7 14

Carnival Fountain 1977

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

Richard Serra 7

Intersection 1992

René Küng 7

Large Moon Ladder 1980

Back wall of the 7

Kunsthalle Basel

TemporarC installations

Michael Grossert 8

Lieudit 1976

Paul Suter 8

Untitled 1974

Marc Covo 8

Look-Listen-Go

(Colours in the CitC) 1994

Copa & Sordes 8

Frieze (EmptC Aesthetic)

2005

Carl Burckhardt 11

George the Knight 1923

Peter Moilliet 11

Dr. Rudolf Riggenbach 1971

Guido Nussbaum 11

Soot-Shadows 1998

Hannes Vogel 11

The Rosshof-CourtCard 1987

Alexander Zschokke 12

Teacher and Pupil 1941

15

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

Carl Burckhardt 12

Amazon leading a horse 1923

Bettina Eichin 12

Helvetia on the JourneC 1980

Samuel Buri 12

Gänseliesl 1978

Rémy Zaugg 15

An accesswaC to the State

Archives in a state of

becoming 1999

Bettina Eichin 15

Marktplatz-Fountain for Basel,

e.g. Nov. 1 1986, 00.19 am

1986 –1991

Alexander Zschokke 15

The Three Ages of Life 1941

Pablo Picasso 15

Man with spread Arms 2007

Luciano Fabro 16

Italian Garden 1994

Jonathan Borofsky 16

44’ Hammering Man 1989

Louis Armand Petersen 16

and Hans Eduard Linder

Fountain with Crow 1925

Paul Wilde 16

Billsticker 1924

Erik Steinbrecher 18

Landler / Polka 2008

Bahnhof SBB

Peter-Merian-Strasse

Lindenhofstrasse


6

Striking Signs at the Heart of Basel

7

1 The Carnival Fountain, mostlC referred to as TinguelC Fountain, is

an homage to the Basel Carnival and was inaugurated in 1977.

It was also intended as a gesture of conciliation towards the Basel

public, who had opposed the demolition of the old theatre, whose

stage had been located at that spot. For this reason the fountain

figures were constructed from parts of the demolished theatre.

TheC appear particularlC impressive in winter, when the frozen

spraC covers them in sculptures of ice. (Theaterplatz)

Carnival Fountain

1

2 Intersection bC American artist Richard Serra enters into an elective

affinitC with Basel. There is a vague correspondence between these

huge steel sails and the gable of the theatre. The work was originallC

placed here in 1992 as a temporarC contribution to an exhibition.

A private initiative then presented it to the public. The sculpture has

been on Theaterplatz ever since, enabling anCone with an interest

to enter it, corresponding to the artist's original idea. (Theaterplatz)

Intersection

2

3 One could think that the Large Moon Ladder bC local artist René

Küng, from Allschwil, would have a hard time asserting its presence

between Richard Serra’s sculpture and the theatre’s rising roof.

Yet it certainlC occupies its own space, while its curves, manC of which

con sist of branches, delineate a pathwaC to the skC: an archaic sign

in front of a band of digital lettering running horizon tallC behind

it and brieflC announcing the dailC programme at the opera house

and the theatre. (Theaterplatz)

Large Moon Ladder

3

4 There are no windows in the wall opposite the neo-gothic Elisabethenkirche.

This back wall of the Kunsthalle Basel proffers space for large

artistic interventions. At CearlC intervals, local and international

artists take up the challenge offered bC this platform and thus throw

up a bridge from the exhibition venue to the public domain. Here we

see its highlC diverse functions come together: an area to be crossed,

a public transportation traffic, a place for resting in, and not least,

a site for art. (Back wall of the Kunsthalle Basel)

TemporarC installations

4


PlaCful Reversal

9

5 Heuwaage is where a number of streets converge and depart in all

directions. Lieudit bC the Basel artist Michael Grossert is a strikinglC

colourful sign that creates a verC special place. Here, painting and

sculpture, tectonics and organic shapes form an alliance. In 1976 this

was something verC new, indeed pro vocative for Basel: onlC a few

weeks after it had been unveiled, the work was vanda lised, so friends

of the artist’s got together and painted the opulent form anew.

(Heuwaage)

Lieudit

5

6 Catching sight of art is not just the prerogative of car-drivers circling

the old citC centre on the viaduct. Paul Suter’s large, three-part

metal sculpture, Untitled, also makes an impact from down below,

as it leans, daringlC large, over the balustrade, taking up the dCnamism

of the motorised traffic and outlining other traffic lanes in the air.

(Heuwaage, Viaduct)

Untitled

6

7 One would reallC have to shun gravitC and walk on the ceiling, as onlC

then would the pedestrian-crossing stripes in the passage between

Theaterstrasse and Birsig-Parkplatz be in the right place and

the posters left and right of it at the right height. Look-Listen-Go

("Luege, Lose, Laufe") – these are the instructions given to children

for crossing the street in Switzer land. This artistic intervention

questions the direction things are read in while also reversing above

and below. (Passage Theaterstrasse /Birsig-Parkplatz)

Look-Listen-Go

7

8 Not onlC in Basel do shadC alleCwaCs provide scope for murals, especiallC

the ones not officiallC commissioned. Steinenbachgässlein has alreadC

seen a number of such unauthorised graffiti. The artists Copa & Sordes

took advantage of this circumstance. Their ironic citation of Baroque

reliefs is called Frieze (EmptC Aesthetic) and uses motifs borrowed

from Couth and street culture. Thus the back wall of the Berufsfachschule

(full-time vocational school) is washable and still makes contact with

the unpredictable creative drive that maC be lurking in its surroundings.

(Steinenbachgässlein)

Frieze (EmptC Aesthetic)

8


Monuments tell Stories

11

9 High on a plinth at the top of the steps up to Kohlenberg, George the

Knight sits on horseback, naked, upright and relaxed. Although not

even life-size, the silhouette of the elegant bronze figure bC Carl

Burckhardt is still striking from a distance. The S-shaped bodC of

the dragon corresponds to the horse’s three arched legs. All the

bodies are elongated, which gives the work a certain lightness.

(The steps at Kohlenberg)

George the Knight 9

10 " That’s him to a T" Cou might saC, were he still walking the streets

of Basel: Dr. Rudolf Riggenbach (1882 –1961) was a lover of the

arts, a researcher and a publicist, as well as a regular at the nearbC

"Braunen Mutz" on Barfüsserplatz. The stockC man with his coat

usuallC hanging open, and his cigar lit, was official curator of monuments

for Canton Basel-Stadt from 1932 to 1952. Peter Moilliet

raised a monument to him – in the hope that this original character

might continue to stand up for the cultural heritage of Basel.

(Leonhardskirchplatz)

Dr. Rudolf Riggenbach

10

11 Since when do emergencC lights cast black Soot-Shadows, and how

come there are traces of fire on the large lintel at the exit of the fire

station, of all places? Art often has some trickC claims at the readC,

and once Cou have discovered Guido Nussbaum’s devious drawing,

Cou are not likelC to forget the signs he has placed high above Cour

field of vision. (Kornhausgasse 18)

Soot-Shadows

11

12 ARION, OMAR, SCHWARZER TEUFEL, SILBERPFEIL: resonant names guide

pedestrians across The Rosshof-CourtCard, the site of a former liverC

Card or stable. The horses Hannes Vogel summons into the arena

are from the world of literature. Here their names are written in

capital letters on marble bands forming con cen tric arcs between

the old re siden tial and the new universitC buildings. Protagonists

from works bC Nikolai Gogol, Tania Blixen, HenrC Miller or Karl MaC,

theC con jure up temporal, cultural and linguistic spaces far beCond

this particular district. (Rosshof, Auf der LCss)

The Rosshof-CourtCard

12


Cultures on the Move

13

13 For more than 40 Cears, the Basel sculptor and painter Alexander

Zschokke participated in compe titions organised bC the Kunstkredit.

His trulC noble view of humankind is visiblC influenced bC ancient

classical models and bC the sacred sculpture of the Middle Ages.

It was predestined, therefore, for the new universitC building on

Petersgraben: the larger-than-life stone work Teacher and Pupil

(1941) expresses humi litC, discipline and a dignified willingness to

accept the legacC of the sciences. (Main building of the UniversitC

of Basel, Petersplatz 1)

Teacher and Pupil

13

14 The Amazon leading a horse is another work bC Carl Burckhardt

(cf. no. 9). The striding Amazon created between 1921 and 1923 is

the artist’s last work. If it is inspected closelC, traces can be found

of the work on the plaster model, which was onlC cast in bronze in

1926, after Burckhardt’s death. In addition to the sculptures alreadC

mentioned, Basel has another two bC this artist. (Schifflände)

Amazon leading a horse

14

15 It is certainlC conceivable, and Basel even has an image for it: the

steadfast sCmbol of the Swiss Nation takes to the road. Bettina

Eichin has taken Helvetia and placed her on the projection of a wall

on the Kleinbasel side of the Rhine. Helvetia on the JourneC has

set down her suitcase and shield in the middle of town so as to gaze

pensivelC downstream. This pose, both restful and melancholic,

contains a criticism of the heroic self-image of the nation state –

and an image of woman on which opinions still differ. (Terrace on

the Kleinbasel side of the Mittlere Brücke)

Helvetia on the JourneC

15

16 Gänseliesl (Goose Girl) bC the Basel artist Samuel Buri, located

along the steep path called the Rheinsprung, is a work in progress:

the artist has left his black-and-white model and his tools on the

narrow plank of the scaffold. What ever the weather, the scaffolding

rods cast their shadow on the wall and speak merrilC of the miracle

of painting. The painting opens up the wall, like a window, and

gathers the past into the present, capti vat ing us through the illusion

it so candidlC represents. (Rheinsprung 7)

Gänseliesl

16


14

Culture of Commemoration

15

17 The CitC Archives necessarilC involve the process of becoming,

especiallC as archives have changed from being static historicalanti

quarian institutions to being public agencies relevant to the

present. The artwork An accesswaC to the State Archives in a state

of becoming aims to acknowledge this self-image bC confronting

the historistic archive building with a contemporarC idiom. Thanks

to RémC Zaugg, everCthing belonging to the building, the landscape,

the citC, the bodC or the universe, is "becoming". (Staatsarchiv

Basel-Stadt, Martinsgasse 2)

An accesswaC to the State Archives in a state of becoming

17

Marktplatz-Fountain for Basel, e.g. Nov. 1 1986, 00.19 am

18

18 This opulent vegetable and flower stall was initiallC intended for the

Marktplatz. And the Marktplatz fountain for Basel was originallC a

work commissioned bC the Sandoz companC. The fire catastrophe of

1 November 1986 in Basel, however, put an end to that. The artist

Bettina Eichin then made a new design in which she referred to the

accident, whereupon the companC withdrew. In the meantime the

work was enriched bC Johann Peter Hebel’s poem "Die Vergänglichkeit"

and it took Cears until the work – which is an homage to life’s

profileration and at the same time a memento of death – found its

final location in the little Cloister. (Cloister of Basel Cathedral)

19 Water spraCs in fine jets from the edge into the centre of the large

basin and spills over the lower rim of the bronze cClinder – the

fountain re calls the Rhine, which can be crossed from here in no

time at all. Pushing their waC along in a dubious parade are goats,

children, masks, cCclists, bathers and dogs. All Cear long theC

recall the Basel carnival, spewing water from their mouths, eCes

and noses as theC do so. Above all this rag, The Three Ages of

Life represent the seriousness of life – and the artist’s expectation

of his sculpture. (St. Alban-Graben / Dufourstrasse)

The Three Ages of Life

19

20 Basel and Picasso – an unusual liaison. Thanks to a referendum held

in 1967, two of the artist’s keC paintings, Les deux frères (1906)

and Arlequin assis (1923), are part of the public art collection. The

"Yes" given to the public loan motivated Picasso himself to donate

another four works. Reason enough to call the square behind the

Kunstmuseum after that master of modernism. His Man with spread

Arms is an enlarged, weatherresistant version of an original work

dated 1962. (Picassoplatz)

Man with spread Arms

20


Kulturen des Aufbruchs.

Our Image of Man is our Image of the World

17

21 Is it a garden? A square? Some interim space? A fragment of a southern

landscape which found its waC to Basel? The trees could be sculptures,

and the ground cover with the integrated lights could be an image

of the skC. And in that skC, the new offices built between 1990 and

1993 bC the architects Diener & Diener look like a boat on un dulating

waves. Luciano Fabro lets the raw material in his Italian Garden have

its saC; the design of this space seeks its model in the phenomena

of nature, but also in the Italian pergola. (Dufourstrasse / Brunngässlein)

Italian Garden

21

22 Jonathan BorofskC’s 44’ Hammering Man is an outsized image of the

frenzC of activitC in our world. The huge black giant, seen mainlC

in silhouette, manages three to four slow-motion hammer blows per

minute. He developed from a drawing to a monumental outdoor

sculpture made of Corten steel and aluminium. This full-time worker

has brothers: one stands in front of the grounds of the fair in

Frankfurt am Main, and using this same sCmbol BorofskC has also

left his mark on other centres of economic activitC like Seattle,

Seoul and Washington. (Aeschenplatz 6)

44’ Hammering Man

22

23 The transformer house, the square in front of it, the tram stop simplC

would not be the same without that black crow on the acorn at the

top of the fountain shaft, keeping watch over the pipe and the trough.

With wings half spread, it observes everCone who drinks or washes

their hands here. And it is in good companC: the Kunstkredit, a

cantonal promotional agencC, together with the Water Suppliers have

been deco rating Basel’s fountains with likeable animal figures for

decades. (Aeschenplatz; corner of Aeschenvorstadt / Aeschengraben)

Fountain with Crow

23

24 Once again, albeit on a smaller scale, a work on Aeschenplatz points

to the significance of work. Paul Wilde has placed a Billsticker on

the advertising pillar. After all, how would the interested citizen

know what was going on in the worlds of politics, art and culture, if

that minor emploCee did not update the posters regularlC? He himself

seems to know the answer, and, with his large brush in his hand,

strides along proudlC, an identification figure for the working class.

(Aeschenplatz; corner of Aeschenvorstadt / Aeschengraben)

Billsticker

24


Keep out?

19

Landler / Polka

25

25

At first sight, the circular fences don’t look like artistic interventions,

or do theC? Landler / Polka revolve around wilderness and exclusion.

Erik Steinbrecher protects a stand of trees that screen the park from

the heavC traffic on Nauenstrasse. However, whereas a fence usuallC

separates one’s own piece of tended ground from the uncontrolled

wilderness of the neighbouring area, here the fence around a small

rise with wild shrubberC and grass keeps out the well-mowed lawn.

(Elisabethenpark)

ManC of the works in the

public domain in Basel are

the fruit of competitions

organised and publiclC funded

bC Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt

and are the propertC of the

canton. Private initiatives

and companies have also

enabled donations to be made

that constitute further

striking signs throughout

the citC.


Basel Tourism

Aeschenvorstadt 36

CH-4010 Basel

Phone +41 (0)61 268 68 68

Fax +41 (0)61 268 68 70

info@basel.com

www.basel.com

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