The Art Centre Basel was founded in January 1984 by Suzanne Greub as a private set-up that has since then gained international recognition in the field of exhibition management. The Centre is situated in the heart of the city of Basel, Switzerland, at Sternengasse 6. The building, acquired specifically for the purposes of the Centre, was totally renovated in 1983.
Resonances: Tribal Art – Modern Art was the first exhibition to be created by the Art Centre Basel. The focus was on the juxtaposition of modern and tribal art and the exhibition was accompanied by an elaborate catalogue. Resonances was shown at the Centre from January to June 1984 and reflects two characteristics that were to mark all further exhibitions of the Art Centre Basel: topicality, as may be seen by a similar exhibition organised by William Rubin which opened on September 1984 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York – "Primitivism" in 20th Century Art, and a combination of different artistic fields and directions.
The first travelling exhibition conceptualised and managed by the Art Centre Basel began its tour in 1986 to eight leading museums in Europe and the USA, after being inaugurated in Basel. Authority and Ornament: Art of the Sepik River, Papua New Guinea was an international success. In the IBM Gallery of Science and Art, New York, alone, this exhibition attracted 60’000 visitors.
Expressions of Belief: Masterpieces of African, Oceanic, and Indonesian Art from the Museum voor Volkenkunde, Rotterdam was the third exhibition managed by the Art Centre Basel and the first not to be shown at its premises due to the shift in the Centre’s focus from also displaying to only creating and curating exhibitions. From this point onwards, the programme of the Art Centre Basel developed from its focus on tribal art to all aspects of the arts.
After its tour through Europe from 2000 - 2002, the architectural exhibition Museums for a New Millennium: Concepts, Projects, Buildings has been displayed in the United States and Mexico. From mid-2004, the exhibition was on show in five Japanese museums before concluding its five year international tour in mid-2005 in South Korea. The exhibition comprised a total of 410 exhibits, including 33 architectural models. The exhibition catalogue has been published by Prestel Publishers, Munich in seven languages. Museums for a New Millennium was created by the Art Centre Basel and was scientifically supported by the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich. Its follow-up exhibition, Museums in the 21st Century: Concepts Projects Buildings is currently on tour.
Since 1984, the Art Centre Basel has been led by Suzanne Greub, supported by a creative and efficient team. The Centre works with leading specialists from around the world thus ensuring exhibitions and illustrated catalogues which reflect the latest scientific developments in the appropriate field.