The Kunsthaus Baselland has been forced to close its four exhibitions early—before the Art Basel public weekend—because they clash with the kick-off of Euro 2008 in the neighbouring St Jakob-Park Stadium. This means that today is the last chance for art lovers to see solo shows by leading contemporary artists Gavin Turk, Thomas Baumann, Dan Perjovschi and Stefan Burger.
“We are in the stadium’s “security zone A,” explained Sabine Schaschl, the director of the Kunsthaus Baselland, “so it’s impossible to get people through on the day of the game.” Although the match between Switzerland and the Czech Republic is not until Saturday 7 June, Ms Schaschl is emptying the gallery of its contents tomorrow because of concerns for its safety should there be any violence. “We had a very bad experience a few years ago when there was a game. When some of the fans didn’t like the outcome, they smashed one of our windows and destroyed a work of art,” she said.
“Because this match is such a special thing, no one knows what is going to happen. We don’t want to take any chances,” Ms Schaschl said, adding that the museum’s insurance company is not prepared to offer cover in the case of “hooliganism problems”.
A number of Art Basel attendees will no doubt be making their way to the Herzog & de Meuron-designed St Jakob-Park to watch the match, which kicks off at 6pm. Those without tickets can watch the match on a big screen in the city centre supplied by Art Basel.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper Art Basel Daily as 'Basel art gallery forced to shut show as tournament kicks off'