“The Samsung Lounge presenting The Frame aims to create an open space for exchange, experience and enjoyment, bringing new perspectives to today’s technological innovations.”

Maike Cruse, recently appointed as the Director of Art Basel, Basel, brings a unique blend of artistic passion and strategic insight to the table. She has extensive art fair experience, having previously led the Gallery Weekend Berlin, Art Berlin (2016-2019) and Art Berlin Contemporary (2012-2016). Having worked as Communications Manager for Art Basel from 2008 to 2011, Cruse is well acquainted with the fair and the city of Basel’s cultural landscape.


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In her new role, Cruse oversees the fair’s operations and cultivates a vibrant network of relationships with the world’s leading galleries, collectors and artists, ensuring Basel remains a critical hub for the global art scene. Samsung Newsroom spoke with Cruse about the history of Art Basel and its ambitious future ahead of The Frame’s debut at the fair.


▲ Maike Cruse, Director of Art Basel, Basel

Leadership and Vision at Art Basel

Q: What are your key responsibilities at Art Basel and what motivated you to take on the role of director in Basel?


As Director of Art Basel in Basel, I am leading our flagship fair, overseeing the Basel-based team and working closely with the fair’s network of galleries, collectors and artists as well as nurturing strong relationships with the city’s leading museums, institutions and cultural partners. I’m also collaborating closely together with the Directors of our other three fairs in Paris, Hong Kong and Miami Beach.


When I rejoined as Director of Art Basel in Basel last July, I was thrilled by the opportunity to work with an exceptional, international team. Over the nearly past 20 years, I attended every Art Basel show and maintained an ongoing dialogue with the fair in my previous position as Director of Gallery Weekend Berlin. I am honored to lead this premier event in the vibrant art and culture hub of Basel and look forward to guiding its next chapter.



Q: Could you share how you appreciate art in your daily life, both through your job and outside work?


One great advantage of my job is that I am constantly surrounded by art – something I truly appreciate. Art continually inspires me, and I’m always seeking to discover new artists and projects. I am especially looking forward to all the discoveries I will make at this year’s fair in Basel, where over 250 galleries from 40 countries will once again showcase works of the highest quality.



Q: Art Basel is such a pivotal event for artists and enthusiasts. Can you tell us a bit about the show and its significance? 


Art Basel, established in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, has evolved into the pinnacle of Modern and contemporary art exhibitions worldwide. Our engagement has expanded beyond art fairs through new digital platforms and initiatives like The Art Basel and UBS Global Art Market Report, reflecting our commitment to innovation and the global art community.


 “I would advise our visitors to explore The Frame in Art Mode and observe the distinctions among various techniques and textures displayed on the screen.”


Art Basel X The Frame: Offering New Wats of Accessing Artworks

Q: How do you feel about The Frame becoming the first official visual display for Art Basel in Basel? 


In my view, the digital domain has the potential to enrich the tangible experience of art within our fairs. As fair organizers, our aim is to deliver the best possible fair experience for our international community of galleries, partners, visitors and collectors. This not only entails a rigorous selection process to ensure that the artworks meet our quality standards but also our commitment to integrating new technologies and services into our show.


I am thrilled about this partnership and look forward to the first edition of Art Basel in Basel with The Frame as the official visual display. In addition to its ability to serve as a digital canvas, showcasing artworks from renowned artists and museum collections, The Frame accurately displays vivid color. The Frame’s minimal light reflection is a big bonus as well, ensuring a realistic and immersive presentation of art’s beauty.


I am confident that our partnership with Samsung The Frame will elevate the show experience for our diverse audiences. The technology is remarkable, offering different perspectives on artworks and introducing new methods of displaying information, thereby improving wayfinding and minimizing paper consumption.


▲ Samsung The Frame became the first official visual display for Art Basel in Basel 2024.


Q: Can you tell us about the The Frame Lounge? What can visitors expect from visiting the lounge?


I am excited to see the lounge setup myself. It will feature The Frame in action amidst our bustling show floor. Especially the ‘Find The Frame’ section will be interesting – I’m curious to see how visitors react to this concept[1] where original pieces of art and The Frame will be installed together. The Samsung lounge presenting the frame is to create an open space for exchange, experience and enjoyment, bringing new perspectives to today’s technological innovations.


I would advise our visitors to explore The Frame in Art Mode and observe the distinctions among various techniques and textures displayed on the screen. The thematic selections on display in The Frame Lounge will enable visitors to dive into different scenarios of displaying art with Samsung The Frame. Of course, it is a great opportunity to experience classic Masterworks, but what is interesting to me too is that you can discover so many talented upcoming artists.


“The growing intersection of technology and art is an interesting topic that is also widely discussed in the artworld now.”


Expanding Creative Boundaries in the Digital World

Q: How do you perceive technology’s impact on art, and what future trends do you foresee in this evolving field?


Technology already has a profound impact on art and the art world. For example, technology has made art more accessible to a wider audience through various channels, such as the Samsung Art Store. Viewers can experience art in immersive ways, allowing them to interact and engage with it.


Technology will continue to shape the ways the art world sees, presents and engages with art. Digital innovations have changed the way artists create art, as they increasingly use technology as a medium for their practice, incorporating software or even artificial intelligence. That’s what I love about art – it constantly evolves, with artists experimenting, tapping into new industries and pushing boundaries.


The growing intersection of technology and art is an interesting topic that is also widely discussed in the art world now. As part of this year’s Art Basel in Basel Conversations program, we will host a panel between Ben Davis, National Art Critic Artnet News, New York and artist Cécile B. Evans to discuss the matter, taking place on Wednesday, June 12, at the Auditorium in Hall 1.0 with free admission to the public.



Q: Looking ahead, what do you expect from The Frame and Samsung Art Store?


I believe that technological initiatives have the potential to foster cultural exchange and inspire art enthusiasts worldwide. Through The Frame, Samsung has already established partnerships with renowned museums and cultural institutions, but also artists, thereby building bridges between various forms of artistic practices and mediums. I think collaboration with a diverse range of artists and art professionals is key to further establishing technological initiatives in the art industry.


Unique Features and Programs at Art Basel in Basel 

Q: What are the distinctive features of Art Basel in Switzerland compared to Hong Kong, Paris and Miami Beach?


Each of our shows is closely tied to its host city and region, creating distinct, localized experiences. Art Basel in Basel is our largest fair, featuring 285 galleries and an extensive public program. Paris has a strong French influence, Hong Kong showcases 50% Asian galleries and Miami Beach has a significant portion of the galleries coming from North and South America. These fairs complement each other, expanding our international network.


▲ A street view of Basel, Switzerland during Art Basel in Basel 2023


▲ Visitors take in the world’s latest and greatest works at Art Basel in Basel 2023.


Q: What unique aspects set Art Basel in Basel apart from other art fairs?


Our fair in Basel is our flagship fair, the mothership – it is where galleries showcase their finest works, thanks to the very precise selection process of the selection committee. Basel remains a beloved and important city for arts and culture. It offers first-class exhibitions and unique museums and institutions, which leads to an intense and concentrated art experience. It has one of the oldest art museums in the world, the Kunstmuseum, as well as leading private foundations, notably the Fondation Beyeler and the pathbreaking Schaulager. The city’s intimate setting also allows for a close and immersive experience of the fair and all the cultural programming surrounding it.



Q: Do you have any specific programs or content you would recommend for visitors?


Our aim is to address a diverse audience, which is why we offer a generous public program besides our main fair. Our Parcours sector and the Merian are free to the public and very close to the fairground. Curated for the first time by Stefanie Hessler, Director of Swiss Institute (SI) in New York, Parcours will unfold along Clarastrasse up to the Middle Bridge, connecting the Messeplatz with the Rhine. Hessler’s concept for Parcours is a curated exhibition that meanders through empty stores and operational shops, a hotel, a restaurant, a brewery and other quotidian spaces on Basel’s Clarastrasse. Our Conversations program is celebrating its 20-year anniversary this year and will again bring together thought leaders across the art world to discuss the current issues of our time.


Besides our show program, the local institutions host exhibitions that cannot be missed, such as the Summer Show at the Fondation Beyeler or the special exhibition of 100 years of Pan-African art in the Kunstmuseum. This is one of the unique features of Basel – you find first-class exhibitions and cultural events across the city within walking distance or at most a tram ride away.


This year, Art Basel in Basel will run from June 13 to 16 at Messe Basel. Visitors are invited to explore the latest masterpieces from around the world, as well as remarkable works of Modern and contemporary art at Samsung The Frame Lounge, as industry tastemakers share their ideas.


[1] Visitors can experience the challenge of distinguishing between original art pieces and The Frame. Thanks to The Frame’s Matte Display and artful color expressions, visitors can appreciate the details of the artwork. While artworks in the real frame stay still, the artworks on The Frame changes, and visitors will be able to notice it’s a TV.

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