How to Glide Through Art Basel Like an Art World Princess

In her blog Minnie Muse, Colby Mugrabi digs into the intersection of fashion and art. So leave it up to her to pack a whole lot of Prada, Celine, Balenciaga, and of course her grandmother’s jewelry for the trip to Basel, Switzerland, for the recent Art Basel fair. A long ways from the sweaty mad dash of Art Basel Miami, the Swiss edition is a much more serene affair, with room for, say, a visit to Vitra’s famed campus of design nearby, or an outing to the Foundation Beyeler the next town over, where there is a lauded Wolfgang Tillmans exhibition to behold. Follow along as Mugrabi takes it all in, here.


“A beautiful first day in Basel.”

Colby Jordan

“Wearing my favorite Prada sandals on the tram en route to the Beyeler Foundation, in the Swiss city of Riehen (near Basel) and designed by Renzo Piano. Always my first stop!”

Colby Jordan

Kopierer, e; Kopierer, a; Kopierer, c, 2010. Three of my favorite works in the extensive Wolfgang Tillmans show at the Beyeler.”

Colby Jordan

“A gallery of 10 of the most spectacular and important Andy Warhol paintings, on loan from the Daros collection.”

Colby Jordan

“My favorite of the 10 masterworks, Warhol’s 210 Coca Cola Bottles, 1962.

Colby Jordan

“A fun surprise running into one of my favorite Picasso sculptures, Baboon and Young, 1951, at the Kunstmuseum. A quintessential example of Picasso’s powerful use of found objects; the monkey’s head is made of two children’s cars, the tail from an automobile spring, her ears from cup handles, and the belly is cast from a large jug.”

Colby Jordan

“A commanding and colorful Frank Stella in the foyer of the Kunstmuseum Basel.”

Colby Jordan

“A display of 15 groupings of the most architecturally significant desks, chairs and lamps, curated by Thom Browne. The New York-based designer staged a presentation using 15 young Swiss art students dressed head-to-toe in Thome Browne finery. One by one they entered the space and stopped beside a desk, and then sat in unison to begin sketching—part fashion show, part performance art. “

Colby Jordan

“Gallerist Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn in her booth at the Design Miami/Basel fair. This year she showed pieces by the English designer Max Lamb, whose furniture is made of foam sprayed in bronze, and gold jewelry by artist Lucas Samaras.”

Colby Jordan

“Framed by Jean Royere’s ‘Liane’ coat hanger at Jacques Lacoste’s booth at the design fair. “

Colby Jordan

“This spectacular Ettore Sottsass tower cabinet at Giustini/Stagetti Galleria O. Roma was my favorite piece from the design fair. Sottsass created this unique cabinet in the 60’s for the daughter of an engineer he was working with to develop the ‘Valentine Portable Typewriter’.”

Colby Jordan

“The holy grails of design objects. From top, chairs and book case by Ettore Sottsass; Lockheed Lounge and Orgone Chair by Marc Newson; chairs by Shiro Kuramata.”

Colby Jordan

“An original ‘Barcelona Chair’, 1929 (left), and ‘Tugendhat Chair’, 1930 (right), by Mies van der Rohe.”

Colby Jordan

“The highlight of my trip to Basel was actually a visit to the Vitra Campus just across the border from Switzerland in Weil am Rein, Germany. Vitra, the Swiss family-owned furniture company, has built up an impressive roster of buildings by renowned contemporary architects, beginning in 1981, on an expansive plot of land. This factory building, built in 1989, is one of many structures on the campus by Frank Ghery—a terrific representation of his early aesthetic.”

Colby Jordan

“The latest addition to the campus is the new Vitra Design Museum, which opened in 2016, designed by Basel-based architects Herzog & de Meuron. The museum houses the entire Vitra archive and furniture collection, over 10,000 pieces.”

Colby Jordan

“A close-up of the beautiful inverted brick on the Herzog & de Meuron building, a trademark material of the Swiss architects.”


“An interior shot of Tadao Ando’s Conference Pavillion, 1993, with suspended Noguchi light sculptures. The space is a fantastic maze of multi-purpose rooms and hidden alcoves with a strong continuation of indoor and outdoor space.”

Colby Jordan

“The mirror in the elevator at the Three Kings Hotel in Basel is the perfect spot for a shameless selfie. Here, with my shark phone, and a Prada dress.”


“Finally, it’s art fair day! I love these psychedelic candle portraits of famed art dealer Bruno Bischofberger and his wife Yoyo as seen through the mind of Swiss artist Urs Fischer. At the Gagosian Gallery booth, and seated just below a single, black-and-white electric chair painting by Andy Warhol.”

Colby Jordan

“One of my favorite pieces in the fair was this fantastic Memory Ware Flat by the late Mike Kelley. The tiny jewels and buttons are the perfect backdrop for a photo. I’m in a Balenciaga top, Celine skirt, and a charm necklace that my grandmother gave me. She spent 60 years collecting the charms, each with a specific story and meaning.”


“I love Man Ray, and I LOVE Luisa Casati, so what could be better than a Man Ray photograph of Luisa Casati?! The Italian heiress and fashion icon photographed by Man Ray in 1935.”

Colby Jordan

“My other favorite work at the fair was this beautiful painting, BRAID, 1969, by Italian artist Domenico Gnoli at the Luxembourg and Dayan booth.”

Colby Jordan

“What’s better than FOUR Lucio Fontana egg paintings?…”

Colby Jordan

“… How about ONE Fontana egg painting in cake form! That’s what I call having your cake and eating it, too!”

Colby Jordan

“The idea end to a few-art filled days in Basel: a perfect, picturesque cheeseburger.”