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PRINT March 2003

’80s THEN

John Armleder

BOB NICKAS: You’ve been coming to the Basel art fair since the early ’70s, using your little corner spot to promote artists you like. And you do this through Ecart, which is more of a publishing activity than a gallery. So it’s a certain philosophy that’s led you to participate in something so commercial?

JOHN ARMLEDER: When Ecart started back in the ’70s, we had a gallery space in Geneva and an offset print shop, and we would publish books, which we brought to the book fair in Frankfurt. One day I thought, “Maybe we should go to the art fair in Basel,” and I asked for a table to show our books. In the beginning, a booth was beyond our budget. But we were also slightly reluctant to be part of this kind of art-market event.

BN: As the ’70s passed into the ’80s, did you notice an increased buzz around the fair?

JA: Of course. The audience radically changed at some point in the early ’80s. That

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