Collaboration Queen Sarah Andelman Is the Curator Behind Art Basel’s First-Ever Foray into Retail

The Art Basel Shop will offer fairgoers books, clothing, mementos and a range of products from participating galleries.

Two girls sit on park bench wearing hoodies that read "ART" on the back
The art fair’s store will offer a range of lifestyle products. Courtesy Art Basel

For the wealthy, art fairs are marketplaces—bustling bazaars of culture. Those among us of more modest means, however, can only window shop. For the latter (and much larger) group, the cultural milieu’s hoi polloi, art fairs usually serve as something more akin to pop-up museums that offer insights into what’s hot, what’s not and what’s on the rise. Buyers and agents walk away with canvases. The rest of us usually walk away with crowd-filled photographs and perhaps the guilty feeling that we ought to pick up our paintbrushes again one of these days.

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But at the 2024 edition of Art Basel, all that will change thanks to the deft retail curation of Sarah Andelman, whose Parisian concept shop Colette was a fixture of the French fashion scene before it shut its doors in 2017. In the in-person-only Art Basel Shop, fair visitors for whom an original Picasso would be out of reach can treat themselves to an AMEN Picasso candle inspired by his 1932 Étude pour une joueuse de mandoline or perhaps a trio of Cindy Sherman-designed skateboard decks or even a tiny replica of the Ferris wheel Basquiat created for the original Luna Luna amusement park.

The art fair giant’s first-ever foray into retail will go live at the 2024 edition of the Swiss art fair in the Unlimited section. Much of what fairgoers will find in the Art Basel Shop—art, books, clothes, mementos and a range of products from participating galleries—will have been personally selected or even conceived of by Andelman. With her experience, which includes collabs with the likes of Diptyque, the LVMH (LVMHF)-owned Le Bon Marché and Pharrell Williams’ JOOPITER auction platform, the Art Basel Shop should offer an experience that’s luxurious and more than  a little whimsical.

Person sits at cafe table with box of cookies on it
The store’s offerings will include a box of souvenir biscuits. Courtesy Art Basel

Artists in the merchandising mix

Given the reach and influence of art world behemoth Art Basel, it should come as no surprise that a roster of high-profile artists opted to be a part of the new initiative. While those fairgoers specifically looking for a wearable souvenir can snap up a heritage logo hoodie or a canvas bag from the AB by Art Basel line, there will also be limited-edition artist books, like David Shrigley’s Pulped Fiction, which reproduces George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four with pulped copies of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code, and Gagosian’s Urs Fischer: Monumental Sculpture.

A limited-edition line of products developed by Christine Sun Kim, an American artist known for her exploration of sound and oral languages, is the first in what is to become an ongoing capsule collaboration series. The release of Kim’s collection for the Art Basel Shop, comprised of baby rattles, jigsaw puzzles and porcelain plates, will coincide with the presentation of her 2024 FOMO Scores in Art Basel’s Unlimited section.

Hayley Romer, who joined Art Basel as chief growth officer in September, said in a statement that the shop will help “materially celebrate and reinforce Art Basel as a best-in-class, unmissable cultural experience.” It’s good marketing, for sure; it’s also a way for the bulk of art lovers to leave the fair with something special. “From culture lovers to established art patrons, our audience has a strong desire for products that bottle and preserve the utterly unique experience of being at Art Basel long after the show closes.”

Collaboration Queen Sarah Andelman Is the Curator Behind Art Basel’s First-Ever Foray into Retail