Art fairs

Art Basel Online Viewing Room: Other than Portraits

17 - 26 June 2020
Rob Pruitt, Baby, 2011. Acrylic, enamel paint and flocking on canvas. Courtesy of Luxembourg & Dayan, New York and London. 

Art Basel Online Viewing Room

Private view: June 17–19, live starting at 1 pm CET / 7 am EST

Public view: June 19–26, live starting at 1 pm CET / 7 am EST


Other than Portraits

A display of works that explores the definition of portraiture as a genre in the practice of selected artists from the gallery’s programme.


The question ‘what constitutes a portrait?’ is one that is constantly revised and re-evaluated by both artists and art historians. Does the subject have to be represented in a clear figurative manner? Can the work include other subjects as well? And who determines what falls within or outside this category? For this year’s presentation at Art Basel, Luxembourg & Dayan displays works by selected artists from the gallery programme, who undermine, expand, or question the very definition of portraiture. Derrick Adams, for example, proposes a portrait of the African-American astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson (2019), by hand-painting a series of emojis that express his appreciation of Tyson’s work but at the same time explore the reductive vocabulary of social media’s symbolic jargon and how it addresses questions of ethnic identity as well as the formulation of feedback or critique. Rob Pruitt’s Baby (2011), in turn, creates a large colour scheme that transitions from baby blue to baby pink while disrupted by four quick strokes that denote a happy baby’s face. Piotr Uklański, however, in his Ottomania series of 2019, turns his gaze towards a more distant past, addressing the Orientalist heritage of his native Poland by enrobing classic European figures in garments from a seemingly different geo-political order altogether. Other explorations of the portrait genre included in the presentation are Jerzy “Jurry” Zieliński’s Prawo Puszczy (Law of the Jungle) (1976); Marisa Merz, Untitled (undated); Enrico Baj, General Schwarz (1961); and Gino De Dominicis, Autoritratto (Self-portrait) (1996).