Art Loft - Art Basel: A Portrait

As Miami Beach gears up for the spectacle that is Art Basel, WPBT2 premieres a half-hour art loft special, Art Basel: A Portrait on Tuesday, December 2, at 7:30 p.m. The program traces the festival's roots to the original modern art fair, launched 40 years ago in a small, picturesque Swiss city, a world away from the "see and be seen" party atmosphere of Miami.

WPBT2's art loft crew traveled to Basel this past summer to soak in the culture and explore the cutting-edge installations, in the Main Hall and at satellite fairs across town. Each year in June, Basel, Switzerland plays host to the largest and most influential art fair in the world. Interviews with Art Basel Director Marc Spiegler and Former Director Sam Keller offer a glimpse into the fair's humble beginnings and its rapid growth. The brainchild of three Basel gallerists, the original Art Basel event launched in 1970, attracting 90 galleries from 10 countries. Its monumental growth over the past four decades reflects the public's increasing interest in modern art, according to New York City gallerist Sean Kelly, who has traveled to the Swiss fair for the past 14 years. Art Basel is now a six-day event, luring over 70,000 visitors to the city.

The main exhibit at the Messeplatz, takes place in one of the city's newest architectural jewels by acclaimed local architects Herzog and de Meuron. The thousands of daily visitors enjoy a dazzling showcase of contemporary art, in its many shapes and forms. From there, guests are drawn to the nearby sector, Unlimited, where large-scale sculptures and immersive film installations draw both the art aficionados and curious spectators. The sector called Parcours takes visitors on a scavenger hunt in search of art woven into the city landscape. Liste, the fair for young artists, lures guests to a historic brewery on the Rhine River, where emerging talents show off their experimental designs in a space steeped in history. And "modern" is the theme at Design Miami, the satellite fair offering a more intimate showcase of design elements with timeless glamour.

The city of Basel itself offers a surprising landscape of medieval buildings and cutting-edge modern architecture. From the centuries-old Gothic cathedral on Munster Hill, to the city's landmark Tinguely Fountain, visitors can experience the history and culture as they investigate the narrow cobblestone streets and the bustling business districts. Tiny Basel boasts the highest concentration of museums and the oldest public art collection in the world. Art Basel: A Portrait is made possible with the support of Basel Tourism


Crosby’s estate, HLC Properties, Ltd., granted American Masters unprecedented access to the entertainer’s personal and professional archives, including never-before-seen home movies, Dictabelt recordings, photos and more. Narrated by Stanley Tucci, the film features new interviews with all surviving members of Crosby’s immediate family — wife Kathryn, daughter Mary and sons Harry and Nathaniel. The film reveals Crosby’s struggles with his first wife, Dixie Lee, and their sons Gary, Dennis, Phillip and Lindsay. Mary addresses accusations of abuse first published in Gary’s 1983 memoir, which tarnished their father’s legacy. Gary speaks candidly about both his and his mother’s alcoholism as well as his difficulties with his father in a never-before-seen 1987 interview. Other new interviews include singers Tony Bennett and Michael Feinstein, record producer Ken Barnes, biographer Gary Giddins, and writers Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman, who both share the story behind Crosby’s Christmas special duet with David Bowie.