Art Basel Hong Kong 2014 reports, photographs, interviews



Highlights From Art Basel Hong Kong 2014

Highlights From Art Basel Hong Kong 2014Images via Holly Howe

Now in its second year, Art Basel Hong Kong follows hot on the heels of Frieze New York and a few weeks in advance of its namesake, Art Basel (in Switzerland). Next year, it moves to March in an attempt to space things out for art world jet-setters, but for now, we’ve rounded up some of the highlights from the fair’s 245 galleries.

The fair is split across two floors at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. As well as hosting the usual suspects—David Zwirner, Hauser and Wirth, Gagosian, and Lehmann Maupin—there is a strong focus on galleries from Asia and the Asia Pacific region in the Insights section.

There’s a lot to see, but we’ve selected some works you definitely shouldn’t miss.


If you were in L.A., Houston, or New York last summer, you probably saw one of James Turrell’s exhibitions. The artist tends to make enormous installations in unusual spaces—most notably Roden Crater in Arizona—which is tricky if you want something for your home. Thankfully Pace Gallery has come to your rescue with its set of three ukiyo-e woodcut prints, available for $20,000.

Vik Muniz is up to his usual trick of assembling images from nontraditional materials (he has previously used diamond dust, honey, rubbish from Brazil, and cigarette butts, among other things). For Ben Brown Fine Arts, he has produced Hong Kong Postcard, assembled from an collage of postcards from around the world that reproduces the Hong Kong skyline.

Japanese artist Mariko Mori has been making deeply meditative works for a long time but has shifted away from mainly video art to producing Zen-like sculptures. Sean Kelly has a collection of her works for sale, including the magnificent Renew III. Ommmm.

New York gallery owner James Cohan is showing British artist Yinka Shonibare’sBallerina with Viola. The sculpture features a faceless figure, wearing an outfit made from material that is popular in Africa, but tends to be made in Holland and sold in England, all of which reflect issues of colonialism and multiculturalism.

Glenn Kaino’sRooftop Studies at Kavi Gupta Gallery are based on photos the artist took in Cairo when he was preparing works for the Cario Biennial (which was postponed as a result of instability in the region). The landscapes have no people in them, and yet people are referenced through the technologies they use, all of which have been covered in gold leaf. In one work, it’s the satellite dishes; in another, the air conditioning units reveal a human presence.

Local gallery 10 Chancery Lane is showing a number of early works by Huang Rui. These early pieces are very minimal. The work Four Purples references quotes from different periods of Chinese history.

Ever wondered what becomes of those abandoned toys you sometimes see lying on the side of the road? Well if Adeel uz Zafar is around, he will pick them up, take them home, bandage them, and use them as models for his art. His works at Gandhara-Art are created by painting the vinyl white, adding a layer of black over that, and then engraving these mummified characters into the surface. They may look creepy, but the gallery owner confided that children love them.

As you enter the third floor, you are greeted by Forever, one of Ai Weiwei’s now well-recognized bicycle sculptures at German gallery, neugerriemschneider. Although Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, the artist is still not allowed to travel there.

It’s always interesting to see what people love to photograph at fairs, and Taiwanese artist Hsi Shih-Pin’sSymbolic Steed of Memory at Soka Art seems to be one of the most popular works this year. The shiny surface is perfect for #artselfies.

One artist who really understands the selfie allure is Kyoung Tack Hong. The Korean artist’s large painting at Hakgojae Gallery is titled Reflection 1 and shows the artist posing with a camera phone in the various surfaces of the dazzling object.

Perennially hip Arndt Gallery has the perfect piece for the skater in your life. This pop art skateboard is titled Tempus Fugit (Latin for “time flies”) and was created by Indieguerillas, made up of Indonesian artist duo Santi Ariestyowanti and Dyatmiko “Miko” Bawono. The work sold early on to a European collector for $5,000.

More bright and shiny work is on view at Nanzuka Gallery, including The Uncrossable Upswept Bridge by Keiichi Tanaami. The 78-year-old Japanese artist is inspired by anime and pop culture. Although most of his early work is 2D, he made some sculptures in the 1980s and picked the medium up again in recent years.

Kaikai Kiki is showcasing works made by Takashi Murakami’s studio assistants. Mr. is one of their most well-known painters, having worked with Murakami for over 10 years. The artist champions “kawaii,” the Japanese style of work that’s “pretty” or “cute”. Also at the booth is Reminiscence by Ob, which was surrounded by real life Hong Kong school girls.

And this was a scene repeated at Galerie Perrotin, where more school children sat on the floor to sketch a large work by Mr. Perrotin. The Perrotin booth also has a number of Takashi Murakami works on view, including New Red Flowerball and DOB in Pure White Robe.

Lastly, an art fair wouldn’t be an art fair if it didn’t have a spot painting by Damien Hirst. Of course, White Cube obliged, but if you’re looking for something a little more interesting, check out Gilbert and George’sKillers, from their London Pictures series, based on newspaper headlines in a daily London newspaper.


Art Basel Sales: Fair Offers Shopping Spree for the Rich

‘Rem(a)inders’ by Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto at Art Basel Hong Kong

European Pressphoto Agency

A massive shopping spree for art is underway in Hong Kong.

The annual Art Basel Hong Kong fair opened its doors to an invite-only VIP list on Wednesday, and wealthy collectors splurged quickly as they perused the booths of 245 galleries at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Adrian Cheng, executive director of property developers New World Development Company, said he bought 15 art works on the first day alone. The voracious 34-year-old collector is the grandson of Hong Kong jewelry and real-estate tycoon Cheng Yu-tung.

Among Mr. Cheng’s purchases were a $60,000 sculpture by Adrian Villar Rojas from Marian Goodman gallery and a $180,000 painting installation by Carol Bove from David Zwirner. He also bought works by Toy Ziegler and Valerie Snobeck from Simon Lee gallery.

Galleries reported strong sales on day one. According to a release from the fair’s organizers, Soka Art from Taipei sold a landscape called “Red” by Chinese contemporary oil painter Hong Ling for $600,000.

New York gallery Hauser & Wirth sold three paintings by Chinese artist Zhang Enli to different private collectors from mainland China, the gallery said. Prices for the works ranged from $180,000 to $240,000.

Western works are also proving popular at the fair. At White Cube gallery, an Antony Gormley cast-iron sculpture titled “Rest II” was sold. It had an asking price of almost $420,000. The gallery said it had “exceptionally strong sales” from Asian collectors.

Among the seven works Lisson Gallery sold on the first day were two works by Jason Martin and three pieces by Anish Kapoor. Prices for the works ranged from $67,000 to US$167,000.

Art Basel Hong Kong continues today and ends on Sunday.



0 Posted by – May 12, 2014 – FEATURED SHOWS



ArtBlitz LA had the opportunity to speak with Susanne Vielmetter, owner of Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects prior to the gallery’s departure for Hong Kong Art Basel.  Though it is the fair’s second rendition in Hong Kong this will be Susanne Vielmetter’s first time participating.  We are eager to see how the LA gallery is received.  Watch for our follow-up post featuring the gallery’s booth.


Tell me about your program at Hong Kong Art Basel.  Who are you bringing?


We will have a focused presentation.  We are taking two artists, Yunhee Min and Tam Van Tram, who have Asian roots, they’re not from Hong Kong specifically though.  Yunhee Min is from Korea and Tam Van Tram is from Vietnam, although they both live and work in Los Angeles.  This is our first time doing the fair, so we don’t know that much yet.  It’s a little tricky to access how the audience will interpret our program, but we felt these artists offer a good point of entry.  They both focus on painting and we are bringing relatively small work.  Whenever we do a fair for the first time and don’t know the audience we bring smaller works because our artists might be completely new to the collectors and it’s always easier to make a first purchase of a smaller work.  We also know these artists well, we’ve worked with them for a long time, but their work is still in a good price range because they are both early/ mid-career artists.

We are also bringing two new Mickalene Thomas paintings with higher prices.  We feel confident that we will place these paintings, even if it’s here in LA, but we’d like to show them in Hong Kong to see if we can find new collectors and a new market for her work.  So even if they don’t sell there we will place them, they’ll just go on a little vacation.




Why do you feel it was important to have a presence at Hong Kong this year?


We do the other Art Basel fairs, we’re doing the big Art Basel for the first time this year, but have been to Miami for many years.  These fairs are very well run, the fair management goes out of their way to make it a good experience for the galleries and we felt it would be good for us to add this to our schedule and expand our client base.  We have a positive attitude about it.  It’s very difficult to gauge what the response will be, as I mentioned, and that response will determine whether we do it again, but Asia is an important market, I’m not sure it is for my gallery specifically, but we’re about to find out.




Is there anything you’re looking forward to either in, or outside the fair?
Food.  Everyone says it’s exceptional.  We don’t have enough time really to do other things.  Which isn’t true for just this fair, we go straight to set up and we’re there to work.  Not there for a vacation.














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Art Basel Javanese Sculpture Catches On

Javanese Sculpture Catches On

One of the most energetic gallerists bringing the art of Indonesia to the world stage, Berlin-based Matthias Arndt plans a new gallery in Singapore.


Art Basel: Time Out International Picks

Posted: 14 May 2014

Time Out editors across the world give us their highlights of the global array of galleries gracing Art Basel this year…



Tolarno Galleries (1B19)
This 1967-founded gallery prides itself on unearthing and nurturing young Australian artists. Director Jan Minchin came from the more traditional background of the National Gallery of Victoria, at which she was curator of 20th century Australian art, but at Tolarno she has enjoyed working with rule breakers and subversive thinkers such as Bill Henson and Ben Quilty. Jenny Valentish, editor, Time Out Melbourne

Galleria Continua (1B26)
Galleria Continua, an Italian gallery with outposts in Italy, France and China, is a heavyweight among Beijing galleries. It has featured many high profile artists from China and abroad: Ai Weiwei, Qiu Zhijie and Anish Kapoor are just a few names from a very long list. Tom Baxter, art editor, Time Out Beijing

Yamamoto Gendai (1B30)
This contemporary gallery in Tokyo specifically chooses artists that ‘cross the border of existing art genres’, often hosting live and experimental exhibitions. Their collection of artists at Basel this year covers a wide range of media including the delicate etchings of Etsuko Fukaya, the lighter-than-air sculptures of Motohiko Odani and the puzzle-like paintings of Kei Imazu. Annemarie Luck, deputy editor, Time Out Tokyo

Scai the Bathhouse (1D14)
With a reputation for introducing avant-garde Japanese artists to the world and for helping international artists to establish a presence in Japan, Scai the Bathhouse wonderfully combines traditional and contemporary artworks and installations. They’ve curated a lineup of 10 artists for Art Basel, including renowned Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and video/photographic artist Mariko Mori. Annemarie Luck, deputy editor, Time Out Tokyo

Rhona Hoffman Gallery (1B10)
This Chicago gallery celebrates Art Basel by featuring the work of Hong Kong-based artist Adrian Wong. The exhibition also includes historical artworks by Sol LeWitt, Gordon Matta-Clark and Fred Sandback. Laura Baginski, editor, Time Out Chicago

Lee Wen: Ping Pong Go-Round at Encounters

iPreciation (1C18)
This Singapore contemporary fine arts gallery represents a range of both prominent and promising artists around Asia, including multidisciplinary Singaporean artist Lee Wen, who is perhaps best known for his Yellow Man series. Works on show at the booth were created between 1992 and 2014, and include a good range of Wen’s performance pieces, installations, paintings and drawings. Gwen Pew, arts editor, Time Out Singapore

Kavi Gupta Gallery (1D18)
Specialising in the exhibition of emerging and mid-career artists, Kavi Gupta displays an exciting range of contemporary multimedia work. Highlights include Roxy Paine’s intriguing acrylic sculpture, Tavares Strachan’s encyclopaedic collage and Glenn Akiro Kaino’s photography adorned with gold leaf. Laura Baginski, editor, Time Out Chicago

Thaddaeus Ropac (1D27)
With two major white cubes in Paris and its suburbs, Thaddaeus Ropac is a reliable source of top-drawer high-profile stuff. The francophile Austrian gallery owner is bringing big fish to Hong Kong this year, including mammoth works by Yan Peiming and Georg Baselitz, some of Alex Katz’s paintings and hybrid organic sculptures by Not Vital. Tania Brimson, art editor, Time Out Paris

Balice Hertling (1D30)
Belleville, Paris’s East End, has become home to some of the city’s most exciting art galleries over the past few years and, among them, Balice Hertling is perhaps one of the most adventurous. This year at Art Basel, look out for fresh work from three young multimedia artists: Sam Falls, Isabelle Cornano and Eloise Hawser. Tania Brimson, art editor, Time Out Paris

Magician Space (1D33)
Magician Space is a tiny gallery in the middle of Beijing’s super-sized 798 Art District. It has a strong commitment to conceptual art and installations, as well as a penchant for radical usage of its two small exhibition rooms. Tom Baxter, art editor, Time Out Beijing

Michael Hoppen Gallery (1D32)
Michael Hoppen Gallery has operated out of its quaint Chelsea space for more than two decades, becoming an essential port of call for anyone in search of contemporary and classic 20th century photography. Hoppen brings historical work to Hong Kong with a display dedicated to the pre-eminent 20th-century British photographer Bill Brandt. Martin Coomer, visual arts editor, Time Out London


(View map)

Anna Schwartz Gallery (3C03)
The imposing Anna Schwartz opened her Melbourne gallery in 1986 and has represented some of Australia’s most respected contemporary artists, including Callum Morton, Shaun Gladwell and Mike Parr. Jenny Valentish, editor, Time Out Melbourne

Blum and Poe (3D04)
The massive two-storied Los Angeles space of Blum and Poe is almost museum-like in its curation of contemporary pieces from the likes of Yoshitomo Nara and Chiho Aoshima. They bring Takashi Murakami as their showcase artist this year. Ramona Saviss, managing editor, Time Out Los Angeles

Victoria Miro (3D05)
By the time you arrive at Victoria Miro’s stand at the fair, you will already have walked past work by gallery-represented artists Elmgreen & Dragset. This isn’t the first time the Scandinavian duo has shown their VIP door, titled But I’m on the Guest List Too! – it graced the lawn outside Frieze London 2013. But it’s a good art joke worth repeating. Miro will be showing work by her international roster of artists, including Chris Ofili’s stripped back, luminous new paintings. Martin Coomer, visual arts editor, Time Out London

OMR Gallery (3C11)
Founded in 1983 by couple Patricia Ortiz Monasterio and Jaime Riestra, OMR has become one of the most prestigious galleries in Mexico by promoting new trends in contemporary art, both Mexican and foreign artists, and also a variety of media and disciplines. Mariana Guillén, art editor, Time Out Mexico

Sun Xun: 鯨邦是人間樂土 – Jing Bang is a Heaven, 2013 (STPI)

STPI (3C15)
This 14-year-old Singapore institute hosts residencies and exhibitions to help develop and showcase works by some of the biggest names in the genre. At Art Basel this year, viewers are treated to works by Teppei Kaneuji, Haegue Yang and Han Sai Por. Be sure to keep your eye out for Sun Xun’s installation Jing Bang: A Country Based on Whale – he sets up a new country where visitors can purchase citizenship packs or visas. Gwen Pew, arts editor, Time Out Singapore

Poligrafa Obra Gràfica (3C21)
Barcelona’s Poligrafa Obra Gràfica opened its doors in 1960 as a workshop, soon becoming a place where artists such as Joan Miró, Josep Guinovart and Hernández Pijoan attended to develop their projects. At Art Basel, they show the disassembled and abstract furniture of Wang Huaiqing, pop projects by Nelson Leirner and the architectural work of Garth Weiser. Eugènia Sendra, editor, Time Out Barcelona


Art Basel satellite events

Posted: 14 May 2014


All the fun of the fair – but not at the fair. Make sure to venture outside Art Basel for these simultaneously occurring arts satellite events. By Laurel Chor

α (alpha) pulse by Carsten Nicolai

ICC (best viewed from Tamar Park, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park and the terrace on Podium 3 and 4 of the IFC mall); May 15-17; 8.30pm-9.20pm. Free. 

German sound artist Carsten Nicolai certainly doesn’t lack ambition, what with his next installation taking up the entire façade of Hong Kong’s tallest tower. A commission by Art Basel and Davidoff, Nicolai’s installation, which is inspired by scientific research on neural responses to pulsing light sources, sends light up and down the ICC tower. A downloadable app provides audio to the installation. We hope  there won’t be any unintended consequences but a certain scene from Men in Black III, when the Empire State Building is revealed to be a giant memory-erasing neuralyser, comes to mind.

Asia Contemporary Art Show

40F-44/F, Conrad Hotel Hong Kong; May 15-18; $260-$180. 

This is the largest edition of the semi-annual Asia Contemporary Art Show yet, with over 3,000 paintings, sculptures, limited editions and photographs coming from 100 plus galleries representing 19 different countries. Emerging artists from places like Brazil, Vietnam and Russia are featured alongside art luminaries Andy Warhol, Banksy and Qiu Sheng Xian. If you can’t make this fair, do not despair – the next one is in October.

Asia Week Hong Kong 

Various venues; May 17-27; Free. 

Art Basel is a show of global proportions with artwork and collectors flying in left and right to our little corner of the world. But Asia Week makes sure that art from our own continent gets the showcasing it deserves with Asia-focused exhibitions, lectures, book launches and gallery tours scheduled over 10 days. With Asia Week collaborating with the International Antiques Fair, art is represented not only from all regions of Asia, but also from all epochs.

Chai Wan Mei 

Chai Wan; May 16-17; Free. 

Chai Wan is marked by grit, heavy-duty machinery and large, non-descript buildings. But nestled in ex-industrial spaces across the area are creatives from all fields, and their close proximity to each other often facilitates unusual collaborations. To celebrate this, Chai Wan Mei shows off its vast pool of talent with art exhibitions, concerts, fashion and design showcases, workshops and pop-up installations. Don’t miss the V Art Project, which uses shipping containers as galleries for pop-up exhibitions with open-air screenings of videos as well. The Asia debut of a special dance performance by Ryan McNamara (for our interview with him, check

Conversations and Salon at Art Basel

HKCEC, 1 Expo Dr, Wan Chai; May 15-17; Free. 

Art Basel offers not only the world’s best art for sale, but also hosts a series of events for visitors to further their artistic education and gain a wider understanding of the global arts landscape. The morning Conversation series is more academic, with art professionals like M+ curator Aric Chen and Sydney Biennale artistic director Juliana Engbergs offering an insider’s view on a variety of disciplines and topics. Meanwhile, the afternoon Salons are more informal, ranging from screenings of animation and short films to a panel discussion on Vietnamese art. 


Hong Kong Arts Centre Open House

2 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai; Sat May 17, 10am-10pm; Free. 


The Hong Kong Arts Centre is the home to many major cultural institutions such as the Goethe-Institut, the Hong Kong Arts School and the Hong Kong Music Centre. All open their doors to the public on May 17 with exhibits, workshops and events that include the launch for William Lim’s book The No Colors, about his collection of Hong Kong art. A street music series of outdoor concerts and a film festival featuring the films of the late Cantonese opera singer Hung Sin-nui are also not to be missed, and Hong Kong singer-songwriter and pop sensation Chet Lam performs for five nights at the Shouson Theatre. There are also guided cultural and architectural tours in the building itself and in the surrounding Wan Chai neighbourhood, where many outdoor art pieces are installed for public appreciation. Make sure to hop on the Art Bus, a free shuttle bringing visitors from the Convention Centre to the less-visited art hubs of Wan Chai, Tsim Sha Tsui, To Kwa Wan, Kwun Tong and North Point. A comprehensive guide is available. 



Around Blake Garden, Sheung Wan; Until May 19; Free.


Going against the gallery formula, new initiative HKWALL(s) aims to paint up the best canvasses available in Hong Kong: the walls. The paint is still drying at the project’s launch this May, perhaps a fitting metaphor for the nascent state of street art in Hong Kong. Artists paint on the large, usually neglected, exterior walls of galleries and businesses around Blake Garden in Sheung Wan such as Tai Ping Shan Street and Square Street. A neighbourhood block party with live music and drinks is in the pipeline for Sunday, but make sure you check the website for the latest info.

Intelligence Squared Debate:
“Asia Should House Its Poor Before It Houses Its Art”


Rm N101, HKCEC; Fri May 16, 6.30pm-8.00pm; $300. 


It’s well known that Hong Kong’s cage homes are a deep shame to our otherwise glitzy city, and also a fact that negative comments about our dearth of highbrow culture are still rolling in. With Hong Kong’s ever-shrinking space, what the government decides to do with every spare square centimetre – whether it’s spent on public housing or an art museum – is everyone’s business. As always, Intelligence Squared chooses a timely topic for thought leaders to duke it out in the debating ring discussing whether ‘the funding of museums is best left to private patrons’. West Kowloon Cultural District CEO Michael Lynch moderates, with debaters including SCMP financial journalist Jake van der Kamp and Jessica Morgan, the daskalopoulos curator of international art at the Tate Modern.

Mapping Asia and Hong Kong Art Quiz by Asia Art Archive


AAA, 11/F, 233 Hollywood Rd, Sheung Wan and Rm N101B, HKCEC;
exhibition and talks: May 15-17; quiz: Sat May 17, 2pm-4pm; Free.


The tremendous Mapping Asia project launches at Asia Art Archive – the research uses a multidisciplinary approach to explore Asian geographical boundaries with academic, historical and artistic references. Meanwhile, at the Convention Centre, Asia Art Archive’s artists-in-residence pair C&G reveal their latest research in the form of an art quiz. Listen and learn – four teams comprising of artists, art professionals and students  compete in a live game show-style trivia game on Hong Kong art history. AAA also hosts an ‘Open Platform’ series at their Art Basel booth that brings together art professionals to discuss the art world at large as it stands today.

Market Forces Exhibition and Symposium
by Osage Art Foundation and CityU


Exhibit: 4/F, 20 Hing Yip St, Kwun Tong and 18/F, AC3 Bldg, City U, Kowloon Tong; May 16-Jun 30. Free. Symposium: Wong Cheung Lo Hui Yuet Hall, 5/F, AC3 Bldg, City U, Kowloon Tong; Sat May 17, 2pm-6pm; Free. 


The city’s number of high-end galleries is growing every year, in tandem with the growth of the highly commercial nature of art in Hong Kong. Osage Gallery’s non-profit foundation and City University join forces to offer a non-commercial discourse to explore and break down this phenomenon. Visit an exhibition of concept and object-based art from Asian artists and an open symposium featuring arts professionals and academics like Leeza Ahmady, director of the Asian Contemporary Art Week at Asia Society, and Charles Merewether, former director of the Singapore Institute of Contemporary Arts, discussing the blurred lines between aesthetic and market values in Asian art production through various lenses.

Uli Sigg, ‘China’s Art Missionary’:
Short Film Premiere and Book Launch 


HKAC, 2 Harbour Rd, Wan Chai;
Fri May 16, 3pm-5pm; Free.


At first, Swiss media executive Uli Sigg may seem like an unlikely candidate to be a celebrated collector of Chinese art, but he actually has one of the largest and most important collections of Chinese art in the world. His collection, most of which he donated to our very own M+ last year, is currently housed in a 600-year-old Swiss castle. Independent arts writer and first-time filmmaker Patricia Chen is premiering a short film and launching her book, both about Sigg, at the Hong Kong Arts Centre. Registration is mandatory.

Wong Chuk Hang Art Night 


Wong Chuk Hang; Thu May 15, 5pm-11pm; Free. 


Wong Chuk Hang, an area once dominated by industrial factories, but now a burgeoning arts hub, welcomes visitors  to discover the neighbourhood. Thirteen galleries and 12 eateries open their doors, and with a free shuttle bus available, there really is no excuse not to visit. Start at Spring Workshop, where the works of Christoduolos Panayiotou are shown.


Talking Art Basel with…

Posted: 14 May 2014

Magnus Renfrew, director Asia

On Art Basel Hong Kong 2014:

“One of the new developments for this year was the film sector, and we really felt that this was a very appropriate development for the Hong Kong and Asia audience, because of HK’s very established relationship with film. We made some first steps last year in terms of trying to bring art out of the halls and into the public domain, so this year we have Carsten Nicolai’s commissioned work [at ICC]. We’ve also been working with local partners, local galleries, the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association and non-profit institutions, and there’s over 150 different events during the week of the fair. So we’re really able to showcase the very best of what’s happening in Hong Kong both outside of the halls and inside of the halls. And I think that’s a big contribution that we can make and it’s a contribution that we’re keen to make. And that also has longevity beyond the time of the fair. There are many relationships that start in Hong Kong, and many discoveries that happen in Hong Kong that lead on to other things happening in other times of the year or in the future.”

Li Zhenhua, curator Film

On the Film sector:

“Showcasing the playful and the beautiful is the main concern of the Film sector. I have created six categories to group the selected works, and one highlight category is ‘action’, which incorporates issues of activism with a tinge of humour.

To make this new sector open and free is an important step for Art Basel Hong Kong, as art belongs to the people. It is for everyone instead of only a particular group of people, and this is especially true when art, film and video are combined – they should reach more people and go public.

I have always been very interested in the film industry and experience in Hong Kong, so the programme is thus dedicated to Hong Kong first, then to the art world interested in video art history and finally to the international audience.”

The Film sector is at… Hong Kong Arts Centre, May 15-17, various times.

Yuko Hasegawa, curator Encounters

On the Encounters sector:

“Material and social relationships are undergoing a process of complicated diversification due to the fluidity of globalisation and the formation of a new way of relating through social media. Change in the social landscape constitutes miscommunication and cultural breakdown.

Encounters comprises of works that critically reflect this situation, whether proposing to engage these fundamental shifts, or trying to resist them. This can be seen in Homeaway, a work by Tobias Rehberger, who recreates a favourite Frankfurt bar as an environmental installation. Michael Lin’s work Point converts a meeting place into a sculpture that visitors can climb, thus reversing the relationship between the viewer and the viewed.

The second means of thematic expression is to add multi-layered meaning to the memory of objects and the nature of material. For instance, in her work Thousand, Yeesookyung combines fragments of old, broken ceramics to create and regenerate entirely new and different objects. Alternatively, there are artists who discover strong messages within the material itself, as can be seen in Aiko Miyanaga’s naphthalene sculpture, Letter.”

The Encounters sector is at… E1-17, Halls 1 & 3.



Bloomberg News

Art Basel Beckons Billionaires With $10,000 Passports, Hirst (1)

May 14, 2014

Asia Society's Melissa Chiu and artist Takashi Murakami

Melissa Chiu, director of the Asia Society Museum in New York, left, and Japanese artist Takashi Murakami who was honored at an Asia Society Gala in Hong Kong on May 12. Photographer: Frederik Balfour/Bloomberg
May 14, 2014

Inside Art Basel Hong Kong at the city’s convention center there’s a booth where guests can apply for instant citizenship to the Republic of Jing Bang.

For $10,000 you can obtain a passport, an aluminum “Citizenship Box” briefcase and national flag from Jing Bang, an ephemeral state created for the fair by Chinese artist Sun Xun, whose installation is a satirical comment on art, commerce and nationhood.

The art world elite including Indonesian collector Budi Tek, New World Group scion Adrian Cheng and Canyon Capital Advisors co-chairman Mitchell Julis didn’t need any fictional travel documents to converge on Hong Kong, where more than $1 billion worth of art is for sale, according to fair insurer AXA ART.

Wealthy collectors snapped up a everything from a $10,000 painting by emerging Chinese artist Yuan Yuan to an 800,000 pounds ($1.3 million) for a scalpel blade painting by Damien Hirst.

Art Week

Anchoring what is informally known as Hong Kong art week, Art Basel opens to the public tomorrow. VIPs got a chance to preview the 245 galleries from 39 countries exhibiting today, featuring primarily contemporary art.

Every year at this time Hong Kong’s social life goes into overdrive with a whirlwind of more than 25 gallery openings, charity art auctions, debates and champagne-fueled parties held on warehouse rooftops, at poolsides and parking garages.

“It’s like the Rugby Sevens for the Hong Kong arts and cultural set,” said Alice Mong, executive director of Asia Society Hong Kong, which hosted a gala dinner for 400 people on Monday night honoring Asian artists Zhang Xiaogang, Bharti Kher, Takashi Murakami and Liu Guosong.

Launched as Art HK in 2008, the fair was re-branded Art Basel Hong Kong last year after the owners of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach purchased a majority stake in 2012 and it is now a major stop on the international art circuit. About half the exhibitors have space in Asia and Asia-Pacific, a deliberate decision to keep the fair’s original regional flavor.

Buying Spree

Half-way through the VIP preview today New World’s Cheng, followed by a staff of four, had bought 12 works and was on the hunt for more. “The good thing about having a team is you buy something and they negotiate” he said while posing beside a Carol Bove painting he bought from David Zwirner.

Zwirner also brought oil-on-canvas works by 28-year-old Oscar Murillo, an emerging artist who catapulted from relative obscurity three years ago to New York’s latest wunderkind. The Colombia-born artist, best-known for his abstract works, has seen his auction prices surge as much as 5,600 percent in two years as a result of frenzied art flipping.

By mid-afternoon of the preview the gallery had sold three paintings ranging from $75,000 to $180,000 to collectors from China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Overwhelming Response

“We knew there was interest and he’s newsworthy and they know about his auction prices,” senior partner Angela Choon said about Murillo. “But we didn’t expect the response to be this overwhelming.”

Returning to Hong Kong for the fifth year, New York-based Paul Kasmin gallery is featuring both Western and Asian works to take advantage of buyers’ increasing willingness to stray outside their comfort zones.

“Art Basel has brought more Europeans and Americans to Hong Kong and Asian collectors are becoming more interested in purchasing western art,” said gallery director Nicholas Olney.

Kasmin sold a newly commissioned work by Indonesia’s best-selling contemporary artist, I Nyoman Masriadi, for $350,000 at the VIP opening and is selling a polished bronze modernist bust by Constantin Brancusi and photographs by David LaChapelle.

Balinese Beauties

The works of Ashley Bickerton, who quit New York after 12 years to move to Bali in 1993, provide a contemporary twist on Gauguin’s exoticism. A painting of two topless women with silver bodies astride a scooter, garlands in their dreadlocks, is selling for $190,000 by Singapore-based Gajah Gallery. Another work by the artist sold for $160,000 at the preview.

First-time exhibitor Hannah Barry gallery from London is bringing the work of 27-year-old U.K. artist James Capper in a solo show featuring a hydraulic creature able to claw its way on giant steel talons. Measuring 2 meters (6.5 feet) long, one meter wide and 1.6 meters high, it costs 40,000 pounds.

Whale State

Citizenship to Sun’s “Jing Bang: A Country Based on Whale” is limited to 100 people, though visas can be purchased for $30 each at the fair.

Describing his one-party state (administered by the Magician’s Party), which has a planned life span of just six weeks, Sun writes “If history is a big lie, then the Republic of Jing Bang uses one lie to intercept another lie.” The project is jointly presented by the Singapore Tyler Print Institute and ShanghArt gallery. Fifty passports sold during the VIP preview, prompting Sun to increase the citizenship price to $13,000.

Collectors on more modest budgets can head over to the Conrad Hotel for the Asia Contemporary Art Show where five floors of guest rooms are transformed into temporary gallery spaces featuring emerging artists from 18 countries from May 16 to 18. VIPs get an advance preview tomorrow.

UBS AG (UBSN), which also sponsors Art Basel and Art Basel Miami, has added the Hong Kong fair for the first time this year. “Our private banking clients include people interested in fine art, so it’s a natural fit,” said Chi-Won Yoon, Chief Executive Officer of UBS Group Asia Pacific.

Marble Dust

Local galleries are taking advantage of the influx of deep-pocketed visitors this week to launch new shows. Blindspot Gallery, located in the burgeoning art district of Wong Chuk Hang overlooking the city’s Aberdeen harbor, is showing London-based photographer Nadav Kander’s latest works that feature nudes of sitters covered in marble dust that evoke Michelangelo and Lucien Freud.

Pace Gallery opens its Hong Kong space with oil-on-paper works by Zhang Xiaogang in the heart of downtown on the 15th floor of the Entertainment Building. Next door Antwerp, Belgium-based Axel Vervoordt Gallery is also having its inaugural show with Ghanian artist El Anatsui, who employs youths to weave work with discarded liquor caps and fastenings to create tapestries selling for $1 million a piece.

Blood Bags

Those looking for a break from the hustle of the fairs can seek refuge in another highrise. Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas has transformed vacant office space on the 17th floor of Soundwill Plaza II in Causeway Bay into a post-apocalyptic bunker-like bar complete with sandbags. In collaboration with Absolut Vodka it will feature themed concoctions including “2666: A Space Cocktail” and a beetroot drink served in a blood bag.

Art Basel is open to VIPs today by invitation and to the public May 15 through May 18.




Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014

unnamed 1 Art Basel in Hong Kong 2014

David Zwirner is pleased to participate in Art Basel in Hong Kong (Booth 1C02). 2014 marks the fourth consecutive year the gallery will be at this fair.

Highlights include works made especially for the fair by Oscar Murillo, who will be in attendance at the fair. A Mercantile Novel, the artist’s debut show at David Zwirner, re-creates a chocolate-making factory inside the gallery (519 West 19th Street, New York; on view through June 14).

Also exhibited will be a major work by Donald Judd, one of the most significant American artists of the postwar period. Untitled (Bernstein 90-01), 1990, exemplifies one of the artist’s favored configurations—the stack. Executed in black anodized aluminum with clear Plexiglas, this work is comprised of ten wall-mounted units that are evenly spaced from floor to ceiling. A plank sculpture by John McCracken, another leader of American Minimalism and whose estate the gallery represents, will also be shown.

Other highlights include paintings by Michaël Borremans, whose major retrospective is now on view at Palais des Beaux-Arts, Brussels; Carol Bove, whose critically acclaimed presentation of seven new sculptures on New York’s High Line at the Rail Yards recently ended its year-long run; Neo Rauch who will have a show at David Zwirner, New York this fall; and a new painting by Yayoi Kusama, whose first exhibition at David Zwirner, New York in 2013 attracted tens of thousands of visitors.

Also featured will be works on paper by Marlene Dumas, whose museum survey, The Image as Burden, comprising over one hundred drawings and paintings from private and museum collections throughout the world, will open in September at Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. The show will travel to Tate Modern, London and Fondation Beyeler, Basel in 2015.



Art Basel Hong Kong: A Portal to the Asian Market

On the heels of Frieze New York, the art world is not given a chance to breathe as Art Basel Hong Kong launches its second edition this week. As more and more art fairs pop up across the world, each attempts to steal the global art market’s focus with a signature splash. Art Basel Hong Kong already has a strong hold by being a new fair in the mega art capital, but it has also called attention to itself with two special projects that extend the fair well beyond its walls, and across Victoria Harbor. Famed British artist Tracey Emin and German artist Carsten Nicolai have created larger-than-life light installations that will occupy two soaring buildings in Kowloon – visible from not only the fair, but most parts of the city around the waterfront. Art Basel Hong Kong is also significant, in that it highlights the art from the continent, with over half of its 245 exhibiting galleries having a base in the Asia-Pacific region, and 24 galleries from Hong Kong proper. The fair will wow with their “Encounters” section, curated by Yuko Hasegawa, featuring 17 oversized sculptural experiences. Since Hong Kong has long-standing roots in the film industry, the fair has responded with a new section devoted to film that creates a relationship with locals, and was carefully curated by Asian digital art expert Li Zhenzhua . The 2014 Art Basel Hong Kong fair not only presents some of the world’s leading galleries and artists, but also serves as a portal to the sophisticated and thriving Asian art world.
Duane Hanson, Chinese Student, 1989. Courtesy of Van de Weghe.
Art Basel brought its brand to Hong Kong last year giving international galleries a platform in the growing economy and art collector base in the city known as being the gateway between the East and West. The cross-cultural exchange brings six sectors of exciting programming to the fair, including 170 international exhibitors in Galleries, site specific commissions from regional artists in Insights , emerging artists in Discoveries, large scale works in Encounters, important films about artists in Film and international publications in Magazines that includes a Salon series of lectures and discussions.
Tracey Emin, My Heart Is With You Always, 2014. Courtesy of The Peninsula Hotel Hong Kong.
But echoing beyond the pavilion and weaving the fair within the fabric of the city are the projects by Tracey Emin and Carsten Nicolai that light up the shores of the Kowloon district. Emin’s piece has already begun to light up the city, in a collaboration with the 30-story Peninsula Hotel, My Heart Is With You Always features her signature handwriting in neon on the side of the façade from 7pm to midnight each night for 10 days. With an opening that coincides with the opening of the fair, Nicolai’s piece will take over the tallest building in the city, the International Commerce Center. For Alpha Pulse, which was commissioned by Art Basel Hong Kong, Nicolai will reprogram the 118-story building’s existing lighting system to pulse rhythmically at a relaxing, low frequency for two hours over three nights. The light installation will be accompanied by a soundtrack that visitors can access using a smart phone app that will synchronize the soundtrack along with the light pulsations, activated through their phone’s camera.
Carsten Nicolai, a (alpha) pulse, 2014. Courtesy of Galerie EIGEN + ART and The Pace Gallery.
The fair is also attempting to engage the flavor of Hong Kong with the newly created film program, bringing in the founder and director of Beijing Art Lab, Li Zhenhua, as the expert curator. Li has chosen 49 works by 41 artists from a pool of 140 applicants, which he has organized into six themes – “Urban Life”, “Beautiful Visuals”, “Animation”, “Action”, “Performance” and “Fiction Mix.” In order to make the chosen films more accessible to the visiting audience, they are all under 20 minutes, and the roster includes 29 Asian-Pacific artists.
Marta Chilindron, Cube 48 Orange, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Cecilia de Torres.
Lee Wen, Ping Pong Go-Round, 2013. Courtesy of iPreciation Gallery.
The Encounters section, curated for the second year by Yuko Hasegawa, spreads over 60 square meters of exhibition space, and is meant to be truly experiential. Of the 17 oversized pieces, some are interactive, inviting visitors to unfold Marta Chilindron’s Cube 48 Orange, or play an infinite ping pong game on Lee Wen’s Ping Pong Go-Round. Sun Xun plays on the increasing role of globalization with an immigration office for the fictional country of Jing Bang, where fair goers can interact with performers and apply for citizenship. Visitors can become performers themselves for Yu Cheng-Ta’s The Letters (Live Performance). Cheng-Ta has taken something that anyone with an email account can relate to – the often ridiculous spam email. Visitors are invited to read out loud advance-fee fraud spam emails sent to Cheng-Ta while being videotaped. The videos will then be replayed between performances, turning the visitor into art. Rebecca Baumann’s mesmerizing Automated Color Field (Variation V) is like a breathing Pantone color chart, with a motorized grid of colors that flip from one to the next, calmly clicking through an ever changing mosaic of color.
Rebecca Baumann, Automated Color Field (Variation V), 2014. Courtesy of Starkwhite.
Galleries specifically from the Asia-Pacific region spanning from Turkey to New Zealand, and to the Middle East and India make up the Insights section, which also features art-historic, solo and two or three person shows by artists reigning from these areas. This section is meant to bring artists from these regions under the international nose. Jeddah-based Athr Gallery will present a solo booth of Ahmed Mater, Saudi Arabia’s most known artist, whose work is inspired by a fusion of his medical background with his view on modern urbanized society. Hong Kong’s Koru Contemporary Art will take the art-historic route, showcasing a beautiful collection of vintage photographs of Hong Kong by Brian Brake.
Ahmed Mater, Abraaj Al Bait Towers, 2012. Courtesy of Athr Gallery.
Brian Brake, The Great Wall, Chuyun Kuan, North Beijing, 1957. Courtesy of Koru Contemporary Art.
A small lecture program will focus on bridging the gap of the global art world and collecting internationally. Two out of the three talks are in English, literally showing the influence of globalization in the art world. The Salon series is more lax, bringing together several talks per day in English, Mandarin and Japanese, such as artist talks (including Carsten Nicolai), topics such as collecting cross culturally and others of interest to those local to Hong Kong.
Salon talk with Hans van Dijk: Dialogues in the Development of Contemporary Art in China. Courtesy of Thomas Fuesser.
Although the special programming may seem to trump the main fair, Art Basel Hong Kong invites the world’s best galleries to exhibit, including Lehmann Maupin, 303 Gallery, Marian Goodman, Van de Weghe, Zach Feuer and Kavi Gupta. Despite the popularization of the art fair as a selling tool around the world, Art Basel Hong Kong has shown that it has a strong investment in not only fueling the art market economy in Hong Kong, but also educating collectors and encouraging a cross-cultural conversation between the thriving Asian metropolis and the globalized market.
Doug Aitken, You/You, 2012. Courtesy of 303 Gallery.
Jennifer Steinkamp, Bouquet1, 2013. Courtesy of Lehmann Maupin.


Art Basel Hong Kong Opens with Increasing Asian Focus
   2014-05-14 21:19:26      Web Editor: Guo

The booths of art magazines and institutions at Art Basel Hong Kong. [Photo:]

The second Art Basel Hong Kong opens at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Wednsday May 14, which will open to public from May 15 to 18.

The show presents 245 pieces of the world’s leading galleries, and has attracted more than 3,000 artists, ranging from young emerging artists to the Modern masters from both Asia and across the world.

Art Basel Hong Kong��s debut last year attracted 60,000 visitors. The international art fair made Hong Kong its third location after its original show in Switzerland and Miami Beach in the US.

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor, the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong Government, delivers a speech Wednsday May 14, 2014, at the opening ceremony of Art Basel Hong Kong. [Photo:]

Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor communicates with Chinese artist Wu Jian��an about his works. [Photo:]

Visitors view art exhibits at Art Basel Hong Kong. [Photo:]

Art Basel Hong Kong is a grand fair for art lovers and art insiders. [Photo:

An art piece of Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara. [Photo:]

An art piece on display at Art Basel Hong Kong. [Photo:]

The art works by Chinese oil painting master Chen Yifei. [Photo:]

Sculptures are on display at Art Basel Hong Kong. [Photo:]

The clocks represent that Art Basel has been held in three places around the world annually. [Photo:]

Click to see the next picture

Brochures and books of art works displayed at Art Basel Hong Kong. [Photo:]








NewsHong Kong

A bigger, better Basel: Art fair returns to Hong Kong with strong local focus

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 11:53am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 14 May, 2014, 12:27pm

Art Basel Hong Kong will overwhelm the city with more than 100 art events starting on Thursday but its impact on the local art scene will go well beyond the four-day event, industry insiders say.

Aficionados from around the world are flocking to the city as preparations for dozens of Basel art events get underway.

“One of the things we’ve been most proud about the fair has been its ability to put the spotlight to what’s happening in Hong Kong,” says Magnus Renfrew, director of Art Basel Asia.

Andy Warhol’s Reigning Queen (Royal Edition) Queen Elizabeth 11 at the Asia Contemporary Art Show. The show is returning after last year’s debut that attracted 60,000 visitors. The international art fair made Hong Kong its third show location after its original in Switzerland and Miami Beach in the US when it acquired a 60 per cent ownership stake in Art HK in 2011.

Art Basel’s global director Marc Spiegler said, “There is a much stronger local scene to engage with in Hong Kong compared to Basel or Miami.”

Asia Contemporary Art Show presents works by Mikhal Molochnikov. Of the 245 galleries from 39 countries and territories participating in this year’s fair, 25 are based in or have an office in Hong Kong.

Renfrew said, “In comparison, in Basel we had five or six galleries from Basel and at Miami Beach only two from Miami Beach. That serves as a real testament to the strength of the local gallery scene in Hong Kong.”

“The Guggenheim curators are here, the Tate curators are here, and the Australian museums are coming,” said Katie de Tilly, co-president of the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association. “Art Basel Hong Kong has benefited Hong Kong as a city by bringing more attention to arts and culture.” she said.

Opera Gallery presents CHAOS exhibition media tour which inlcudes The Feast of the Barbarians, as part of Art May.Fo Tan, home to one of the city’s largest cluster of artist studios known as the Fotanian Artist Village, is welcoming Art Basel Hong Kong’s VIPs with two special tours with shuttle service from Wan Chai.

Though the tour is a Fotanian initiative rather than an Art Basel invention, Fotanian artist Simone Boon said she had benefited from last year’s tour in collaboration with Art Basel, as her encounter with the owner of Ning Space in Beijing’s 798 art zone during the tour resulted in an exhibition there that just took place in April.

Wu Dayu’s Untitled no 7, from Tina Keng Gallery, is among the pieces on display at Art Basel 2014. Boon is in charge of designing the tour this year. The Dutch-native who has lived in Hong Kong for ten years remembers since the days of Art HK – running from 2008 to 2011, local artists and galleries have held their own events around the time of the fair, “but things have become more organised since Basel came.”A worker sets up artworks at a booth of the Art Basel venue in Hong Kong. Photo: AFP

Chow Chung-fai, local artist and chairman of the Fotanian Art Village, compared attending Art Basel and exploring the rest of the city’s art scene to “seeing the end products” versus “seeing where art actually happens”. He said it is a good thing that Hongkongers have a chance to appreciate top notch art from around the world in the three days during Art Basel, “But the development of our art scene is not dependent on the number of local artists that make it to the fair, but on a comprehensive blueprint supporting arts development on a policy level.”“Space Painting by Zhang Enli” with mainland artist Zhang Enli for Art Basel week, Cosco Tower, Grand Millennium Plaza, Sheung Wan. Photo: Dickson Lee

As a centerpiece of this year’s show, Berlin-based artist Carsten Nicolai will take over the city’s tallest building, the 484-metre International Commerce Centre in Kowloon, with his dazzling light installation for three nights. With that described by Renfrew as a visual impact of Art Basel on Hong Kong that is hard to miss, the long-term impact of the show will hopefully be just as remarkable.




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May 9, 2014 6:41 pm

Highlights: art in Hong Kong this week

‘By the River Neva in St Petersburg’ (2014) by Wang Xingwei©Chris Kendall

‘By the River Neva in St Petersburg’ (2014) by Wang Xingwei, at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

The Art Basel Hong Kong fair seems to be having the same effect on the former British colony as Frieze has had on London: triggering a whole swathe of openings and art initiatives.

Just a few years ago the Pedder Building in Central, now the beating heart of the top-end art trade, housed one gallery, alongside cashmere shops and offices. Last year, the joint opening night for the six art dealers now installed in it was so mobbed that guests had to be corralled into a lengthy queue to get in.

This year’s “Art Basel Hong Kong week” kicks off on May 13 with, in Pedder, openings of the Rothko-esque Chinese painter Su Xiaobai at Pearl Lam; Miquel Barceló at Ben Brown; Toby Ziegler at Simon Lee; Hernan Bas at Lehmann Maupin; Giacometti at Gagosian; and Gu Wenda at Hanart TZ. In the nearby Entertainment Building, Pace is showing Zhang Xiaogang, and Axel Vervoordt unveils its new premises with El Anatsui. A hop, skip and jump away, White Cube offers Mark Bradford, while Perrotin, in its breathtaking gallery on an upper floor, shows Jean-Michel Othoniel and Ryan McGinley.

'Her permanent mark on him’ (2014) by Melora Kuhn©Chris Kendall

‘Her permanent mark on him’ (2014) by Melora Kuhn, at Galerie Eigen + Art

These are the heavyweight galleries, but smaller ones are popping up everywhere in grittier industrial districts (the rents in Central are sky-high) – and present a chance to see what’s happening on the ground in the territory. On May 15, the Wong Chuk Hang Art Night includes Blindspot and Pékin Fine Arts, and in the Foton area there are 200 artists’ studios to be visited. The Chai Wan Mei festival on May 16 and 17 brings together 60 artists and 40 studios for a weekend of exhibitions, performances, installations and workshops. And not to miss: the always excellent non-profit Para Site – with an intriguing Sex in Hong Kong show – and Asia Society’s exhibition of Xu Bing in its Admiralty building, a former explosives store. Bang!


7:01 am HKT
May 13, 2014

Arts & Culture

Where to See Art Outside Art Basel Hong Kong

‘Circus’ by American painter Mark Bradford, on show at White Cube in Hong Kong, was inspired by the city’s public housing.

White Cube

Consider it part of the halo effect of Art Basel, which kicks off Wednesday in Hong Kong: an explosion of gallery openings and art events around town, which Asian-culture watchers say is proof that the city’s art scene has come of age.

“It’s changed so much in just the past three to five years,” said Melissa Chiu, museum director at the Asia Society, which is showing works by Chinese multimedia artist Xu Bing in an exhibition that opened last week. Ms. Chiu is also leading a group of visitors for a tour of some of the city’s private galleries, most of which have opened in the past three years.

“There is so much quality art now in Hong Kong,” she said.

Here’s a taste of what to see this week when you’re not at Art Basel:


Join the legions of art gawkers in Hong Kong’s Central district as galleries unveil their most impressive shows, from boldface international artists to rising Asian stars. The latest entrant to the city’s scene is Pace, which opens its Hong Kong location today with a show of oil-on-paper paintings by Chinese auction favorite Zhang Xiaogang.

White Cube is showing American painter Mark Bradford’s dense, abstract paintings inspired by the floor plans of the city’s public housing, both in its main space and at its Art Basel booth. “Galleries are becoming more confident to show big international artists in Hong Kong, and artists are becoming more excited to show here too,” said Graham Steele, the gallery’s Hong Kong director, who describes Art Basel week as the busiest of the year.

In the nearby Pedder Building, blue-chip commercial galleries are highlighting contemporary Chinese ink painting. Increasingly popular among Asian collectors, the genre includes Beijing-based artist Sun Xun, who also works in sculpture and animation, at Edouard Malingue, and New York-based painter Gu Wenda, whose ink works are inspired by ancient Chinese calligraphy, at Hanart TZ.

Also in the building is Pearl Lam Galleries, where Chinese abstract painter Su Xiaobai is displaying his vibrant, lacquer-finished oil-on-wood works, and Ben Brown Fine Arts, which has a new show by Spanish painter Miquel Barcelo. Meanwhile, Gagosian Gallery is exhibiting lithographs and sculptures by famed Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti.

A stone’s throw away is Galerie Perrotin, which has a two-person show of Parisian artist Jean-Michel Othoniel, whose sculptures feature intertwining strings of outsize beads, and New York-based photographer Ryan McGinley, known for his surreal style of nude photography.

Eschewing contemporary art, de Sarthe Gallery is focusing on the first wave of 20th-century Chinese artists who lived and worked in Paris. The group includes Lin Fengmian, Sanyu and Wu Guanzhong, three artists whose works have risen exponentially in value at auction in recent years.


Don’t have a ticket to Art Basel’s vernissage? Take advantage of the down time to rest up – the weekend is when the crowds flock to the fair.


Galleries in Wong Chuk Hang, a former industrial district in Hong Kong Island’s south, are grouping together to promote their off-the-beaten-path location during Wong Chuk Hang Art Night. Shuttle buses will take visitors from the art fair at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre and from the Central piers. Art spaces to check out include Spring Workshop, FEAST Projects and Gallery EXIT.

On the same day as Art Basel opens to the public, Carsten Nicolai will launch his fair-sponsored light installation “Alpha Pulse” starting from 8:30 p.m. Taking over the façade of the International Commerce Centre, Hong Kong’s tallest building, the work is best experienced with a downloadable app that has an audio track to go with the hypnotic lights.


Styling themselves as “affordable,” two satellite fairs are piggy-backing on the main Art Basel event: The Asia Contemporary Art Show is slated to take place at the Conrad Hotel, in Admiralty, while the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Fair will occupy the Excelsior Hotel in Causeway Bay. Both will last through the weekend. Meanwhile, the two-day Chai Wan Mei Festival, which starts Friday night, will feature 60 local artists and designers in the warehouse district of Chai Wan in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island. A 15-minute taxi ride from the fair, the festival promises everything from pop-up art installations to studio visits and all-night parties.


Art Basel Hong Kong
Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1 Harbour Road, Wanchai,, Hong Kong, China
May 14, 2014 – May 18, 2014

Art Basel | Hong Kong: User’s Guide

by Peter Augustus

Following a successful launch last year, Hong Kong’s edition of Art Basel is back with a larger schedule of events and even more art than one can see in a week. This year boasts more than 3,000 works of art from over 200 galleries.

Although a welcomed spotlight, Hong Kong was never lacking in the international art show circuit, or arts for that matter—we currently have several a year and even two fairs that proudly share the weekend with Basel (read on to find out who).

While Basel has prepared an impressive schedule of artist talks, public art displays, and exhibitions in addition to their main event held at the HK Convention Hall, local galleries and businesses have been peppering the week with their own celebrations of art, beginning on Monday the 12th.

With a slew of official, unofficial, and underground events happing across the S.A.R., here is our breakdown of how you can enjoy the much anticipated annual event whether you’re a local, a tourist, or an art connoisseur.


Kicking off on Monday, the week starts with the Asia Society’s annual Art Gala, celebrating artists who have contributed to contemporary art. This year the honorees are Bharti Kher, Lio Guosong, Zhang Xiaogang and Takashi Murakami. The evening includes an auction to benefit the many important initiatives the Society puts on throughout the world. If you can’t make it to the gala, start the art week whetting your appetite by attending the opening of The Scarlet Bauhinia in Full Bloom, at the always inspiring Amelia Johnson Contemporary. A group show featuring four local artists, the works speak to the sensitive but important issue of the relationship between China and Hong Kong (through May 31st, G/F 6-10 Shin Hing Street NoHo, Central).

Also of note on Monday is Beijing-based painter Song Yige’s recently opened exhibition Another Dimension at Sotheby’s gallery (10AM to 6PM, through May 18th, 5/F One Pacific Place, 88 Queensway, Hong Kong) and the opening of Space Painting by Chinese contemporary artist Zhang Enli, his first solo exhibition, at the K11 Foundation Pop-up Space (11AM to 7PM, through July 13th, G/F, Cosco Tower, Grand Millennium Plaza, 183 Queen’s Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong).

Su Xiaobai, Painting and Being New Green, 2013; Courtesy Pear Lam Galleries



The headlining event on Tuesday is Art Gallery Night, sponsored by the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association. The free event includes thirty-six participating galleries staying open past your bedtime for exploration and discovery, while featuring cocktail parties and artist talks. It’s the perfect way to brush up on your art vocabulary for Basel later in the week (6PM to 10:30 PM). Be sure not to miss the impressive works by French sculptor Jean-Michel Othoniel at Galerie Perrotin (through June 21st, 50 Connaught Road, Central, 17th Floor), or local diva Pearl Lam’s eponymous gallery exhibiting the celebrated Chinese artist Su Xiaobai, featuring his labor intensive painting technique and unique final presentation (through July 15th, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central, 6th floor).

Tuesday also plays host to the debut of Swarovksi’s new installation by Patrik Fredrikson and Ian Stallard of the British design duo, Fredrikson Stallard. Titled Prologue, a symbol of “life and rebirth,” the temporary display will be housed at the courtyard of a former police married quarters, repurposed as the recently opened PMQ, a new creative hotspot in Hong Kong housing design related businesses and shops. Featuring over 8,000 crystals and soaring 12 feet high, this will be a sculpture that Swarovski lovers won’t want to miss (35 Aberdeen St Central, Hong Kong).

And for something really different, check out the Paloma Powers boardroom. Hosted by Focus Media at The Centrium this event features a “corporate environment” designed by Shawn Maximo with a soundtrack by Justin Simon. There will be cocktails and various refreshments, but space is limited, so you’ll want to RSVP or they may turn you away empty handed (60 Wyndam Street, Central Hong Kong,  4 – 6 PM; RSVP to


Officially, Art Basel kicks off Wednesday afternoon with the invitation only Private View followed by the Vernissage, a preview party complete with a cash bar and celebrity sightings (with tickets available for public purchase and a price to match the fancy name). If you haven’t got the connections to score an invite or the cash to shell out for the party, you can attend the public opening on Thursday, with tickets that start at a reasonable HK$250 from any Hong Kong Ticketing outlet.

Following Basel’s opening, it’s the after party everyone’s been waiting for. Each year, Absolut Vodka chooses one artist to create a theme and installation that will become the Absolut Art Bar. Hosting the opening night’s post-show festivities, it will remain open throughout the week to serve thirsty art lovers. This year Absolut picked Nadim Abbas, a lecturer at the Hong Kong Art School and one of most impressive artists on the local Hong Kong art scene (read our interview with Abbas here). Drawing inspiration from movies like A Clockwork Orange and Alien, Abbas dreamed up Apocalypse Postponed—a science fiction theme which entails a bunker styled setting complete with specially designed cocktails served out of blood bags and an impressive showcase of live music and DJs (Free, open to the public beginning Thursday, 5PM to 2AM, Stonewall Plaza II, Midtown POP, 1 & 29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay).

If drinking and dancing with someone who you’re not sure is a real zombie or just brain dead from viewing too much art isn’t your cup of tea, head over to the Asia Society for Captured in Ink on Wednesday afternoon. Gala honoree Liu Guosong, along with Hong Kong artist Wucius Wong and American photographer Michael Cherney, will be on hand for an interesting discussion on traditional ink drawing and the blending of ancient art practices with modern interpretations. Moderated by M+ curator, Tina Yee-Wan Pang (12:15 PM to 2:15 PM, HK$490 Asia Society members; HK$650 non-members, 9 Justice Drive, Admiralty).

Carsten Nicolai, a (alpha) pulse



Finally, once Thursday rolls around Art Basel is officially open to the public. In addition to the show, launching today is the impressive list of daily side events, such as Basel’s morning scheduled Conversations (free!), special curated films and afternoon Salon (show ticket required, check website for details). But don’t think the famed art fair rules the day. Also launching today is the Asia Contemporary Art Show at the Conrad Hotel. Promoted as their largest event to date, the biannual fair offers a more intimate setting but equally as powerful a showing as Basel (through the 18th, tickets from HK$180).

Thursday is also the much anticipated launch of a (alpha) pulse, a commissioned audio-visual public installation by German sound artist Carsten Nicolai. Taking place on the outside of the International Commerce Centre building in West Kowloon, and visible from most of western Hong Kong Island, the nightly event will feature a pulsating light based on viewer interaction via a custom designed app which allows the pattern to be affected by the audience. The multi-sensory experience will include sight and sound (free App download: alpha pulse, showing each night from Thursday to Saturday, 8:30 PM to 9:20 PM).

For those saving the light show for another night, be sure to head over to Sin Sin Fine Art, for the opening of Exposure, an exhibition showcasing the works of four talented Indonesian artists. The night includes a special live art performance and wraps with an after party at Hong Kong’s exclusive KEE Club (6PM to 9PM, performance at 8PM, 52-54 Sai Street, Central, RSVP required).

Also on the calendar for Thursday is the Wong Chuk Hang Art Night, located on the south side of Hong Kong Island. A growing art gallery hood, the area features annexes of established galleries as well as the headquarters for local galleries housing some of the most provocative local art. Not to be missed is Gallery Exit’s group show The Bold Sopranos, a multimedia whirlwind of fiction and reality (7PM to 10PM, SOUTHSITE, 3/F, 25 Hing Wo Street, Tin Wan, Aberdeen).

If you’re down for something a bit off the cuff, and want to increase your knowledge by going back to school, head over to famed auction house Christie’s where they’re offering a two day course as an essential guide to post-war art. Taught by NYC based Program Director Robin Reisenfeld, the lectures are designed for those who want to learn more about important contemporary art and is suitable for all levels (HK$9,000, offered in English, May 15th to 16th, and Mandarin, 17th to 18th).

Pio Abad, The Bold Sopranos – Decoy II, 2014; Courtesy Gallery Exit



With Basel still in full swing, two more important events launch on Friday. Yet another fair, located in yet another hotel, opens today. The Hong Kong Contemporary Art Fair, housed in The Excelsior Hotel, focuses on more accessible modern art from around the world, and with tickets starting at HK$50, it’s worth a visit (May 16th to May 19th).

Following the art fair, head east to the Chai Wan Mei Open Studios. Located in the fast growing center of Hong Kong’s creative scene, the industrial area is home to a number of innovative galleries, artist studios, and secret shops, such as a vertical gallery space in a warehouse stairwell. Organizers are offering a round trip shuttle bus from the HKCEC (where Art Basel takes place), so we better see you there.


Saturday marks the last day for Basel’s Conversations and afternoon Salon panels, but have no fear, it’s actually when Hong Kong celebrates International Museum Day (who knew?). Take the Star Ferry across the harbor to the Hong Kong Museum of Art for an impressive display of 120 artworks by celebrated Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming. On show are works made of wood, bronze, stainless steel, and more (HK$20, 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon).

If you want to stay island side, here are two great options: First, be sure to take some time to visit the Hong Kong Arts Centre Open House. The HKAC houses a theater, restaurants, several galleries, indie clothing shops, and a well-stocked book store to keep you busy for hours (Open from 10AM to 10PM, 2 Harbour Road, Wanchai). Second, the Asia Art Archive is hosting a live war of words, with no blood spilled (hopefully). Presented by artists-in-residence C&G (Clara and Gum), the event will be a parody of the local education system—in quiz show format—pitting different local artists and their teams against each other over knowledge (or lack thereof) of Hong Kong’s local contemporary art scene. An impressive list of contestants has been arranged, including Hong Kong artists Kacey Wong, Leung Mee Ping and Law Man Lok. Note: The Quiz will be in Cantonese, but will feature live commentary by sound and performance artist Samson Young. Live action sport sounds like a great way to finish off the week.

M Bar.



As the week comes to a close, it’s the perfect time to veg out and reflect on the action packed week you’ve had. Luckily, the Mandarin Oriental, Art Basel’s official host hotel, has a few things to help you relax. Of note are the Art Chocolates, on sale in The Mandarin Cake Shop, featuring edible art supplies in the form of brushes and palettes, as well as the Art Cocktails in the M Bar, featuring drinks inspired by Art Basel Hong Kong (5 Connaught Road, Central). Enjoy.


Peter Augustus 


(Image on top: View of Hong Kong Convention Centre, Art Basel in Hong Kong 2013, General Impressions MCH Messe Schweiz (Basel) AG / Courtesy of the artist and Art Basel Hong Kong)

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