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The Art Basel and UBS collaboration marks one of the art world’s longest and most enduring corporate partnerships. In celebration, artist Petrit Halilaj will take over the façade of the former Hotel Merian, the work will be on view to inspire new narratives and horizons.

Art Basel and its Global Lead Partner UBS, are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of their partnership, marking one of the longest corporate partnerships in the art world. Over three successful decades, the partnership has grown significantly.

In 1994, Pipilotti Rist and Enrique Fontanilles became the first recipients of the Video Art Prize endowed by Art Basel’s main partner, the Swiss Bank Corporation, which later merged with the Union Bank of Switzerland to become UBS. This marked the beginning of what would become a longstanding relationship between the leading art fair and the financial institution. In 2000, the partnership extended to included Art Basel’s then launched Unlimited exhibition platform, Art Basel’s pioneering exhibition platform for projects that transcend the classical art fair booth format.

Art Basel in Basel 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel

Over the past two decades Art Basel expanded its presence spanning across three different continents and four shows; in 2002 Art Basel Miami Beach was launched followed by Art Basel Hong Kong in 2013. This paved the path of UBS assuming its current role as Global Lead Partner of Art Basel. They have also jointly contributed to the insightful conversations around the art market since 2017, through the development of the Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report and Survey of Global Collecting authored by cultural economist Dr. Clare McAndrew.

Since 1994, our partnership with UBS has grown resoundingly into a dynamic collaboration that unites the global art ecosystem. Together, UBS and Art Basel have shaped art world conversations, bringing the latest art market insights and analysis to collectors, galleries and art professionals around the world. This is an extraordinary legacy to reflect on – one which has empowered artists and connected and inspired audiences across the globe for thirty years and counting.

Noah Horowitz, CEO of Art Basel
30/5/2024. Basel, Switzerland. Maike Cruse, Director of Art Basel in Basel, and Oliver Zwemmer, Head of Wealth Management in Basel at UBS, celebrate 30 years of partnership in front of Petrit Halilaj’s co-commissioned artwork ‘When the sun goes away we paint the sky’ installed on the façade of the former Hotel Merian, Basel. Photo credit: Peter Macdiarmid.

To celebrate this significant milestone of the 30-year anniversary, UBS and Art Basel will copresent a special public commission by Petrit Halilaj, whose work is part represented in the UBS Art Collection. Installed on the façade of the former Hotel Merian in Basel When the sun goes away we paint the sky will be visible during the day and illuminated at night. Originally installed at the Grand Hotel Prishtina for Manifesta 14, this dancing constellation transforms darkened symbols of historical decline into radiant and poetic calls for collective hope toward the future. Opening in conjunction with Art Basel, the work will be on view throughout the fair week to inspire new narratives and horizons.

2024 marks a special year for us celebrating a staggering 30 years as Lead Partner of Art Basel in Basel. We are proud to have nurtured such a long-standing collaboration which continues to flourish and create impact today, pushing our collective craft forward.

Christl Novakovic, Head of Wealth Management EMEA, and Chair of the UBS Art Board

About Art Basel

Art Basel in Basel 2023. Courtesy of Art Basel

Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Art Basel today stages the world’s premier art shows for Modern and contemporary art, sited in Basel, Miami Beach, Hong Kong, and Paris. Defined by its host city and region, each show is unique, which is reflected in its participating galleries, artworks presented, and the content of parallel programming produced in collaboration with local institutions for each edition. Art Basel’s engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through new digital platforms and initiatives such as The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report. Art Basel’s Global Media Partner is the Financial Times.

About UBS & Contemporary Art

Global Lead Partner of Art Basel, UBS has a long history of supporting contemporary art and artists. The firm has one of the world’s most important corporate art collections. UBS seeks to advance the international conversation about the art market through its global lead partnership with Art Basel, and as co-publisher of the ‘Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report’ and the ‘Art Basel and UBS Survey of Global Collecting’. UBS also supports some of the world’s most important arts institutions, events, and fairs. Through UBS Art Advisory & Collecting, UBS provides UHNW clients and their family offices impartial advice and execution services across the whole lifecycle of a collection, from strategic development and governance to making an impact through cultural philanthropy and the transition of collections into the next generation.

About UBS

UBS is a leading and truly global wealth manager and the leading universal bank in Switzerland. It also provides diversified asset management solutions and focused investment banking capabilities. With the acquisition of Credit Suisse, UBS manages 5.5 trillion dollars of invested assets as per second quarter 2023. UBS helps clients achieve their financial goals through personalized advice, solutions and products. Headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, the firm is operating in more than 50 markets around the globe. UBS Group shares are listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

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