BASEL, Switzerland - Turkish Daily News
The world's largest international contemporary art fair opened in Basel Wednesday, bringing together the works of more than 2,000 artists; but an additional street performance was deemed too much by the organizers.
A woman singing in front of the exhibition center Thursday had just started playing her second song when she was asked by an Art Basel employee to stop and leave the area because she was not �registered to perform.� Organizers said it was the policy of Art Basel to say no to such actions.
The lady, who was standing next to the public art project MOONRISE.east by Swiss artist Ugo Rondinone, told the Turkish Daily News she could not understand why she was not allowed to sing. �This is an art fair, and I'm performing one of the most common arts: Singing,� she said. �I do not have any device with me, it is just me and my voice... it's all organic,� she added with a smile.
The street singer was ready to leave without making a big scene until a young man who witnessed the incident decided to intervene. �What is the reason for not letting her sing?� Sebastian Peter asked the official.
Peter, who studies art history and philosophy at the University of Basel, was quite angry when he was told it was against the rules. �Art is supposed to bend the rules; art is supposed to break the rules,� he said. �What does art within the boundaries have to offer the public?� he asked.
The discussion proved futile and the street singer left the area after thanking Peter for standing up for her. �Incidents like this are why we cannot do anything to stop businessmen taking over the arts,� Peter said. �The art world is now a giant stock market.�
Petr Vesch, communications manager of Art Basel, told the TDN the organizers had a strict policy regarding street performers. �Starting from weeks before Art Basel opened, we received hundreds of demands from people who want to distribute flyers, do performances,� he said. �The policy of Art Basel is to say no to all these people. Otherwise the square in front of the exhibition halls would be too packed.�