Chicago’s art collectors head to Art Basel in Hong Kong for its third dazzling exhibit of the world’s most creative contemporary artists.
A. Senna O/G 1 by JPW3, 2014.
In its first two years, Art Basel in Hong Kong attracted more than 125,000 visitors to marvel at works offered by 294 galleries, ultimately garnering estimated sales of more than $1 billion. As the fair celebrates its third year (March 15-17), Art Basel’s director, Marc Spiegler, shares an overview of what Chicago’s connoisseurs and collectors can expect to see and experience in the new capital for art and culture in Asia.
In 2014, an estimated 65,000 people attended ABHK, up 10 percent from 2013. What are some key factors driving this growth? Marc Spiegler: Art Basel in Hong Kong has established itself as the premier international art show in Asia, giving visitors an opportunity to view the best art from Asia and Asia-Pacific, where half of our galleries have exhibition spaces. The show has also had a tremendous impact on the burgeoning art scene in Hong Kong, further cementing its place as a global hub for the region.
Pose Boedjang Ajam (Pose Playboy Rooster) by Yunizar, 2014.
What will you be doing in 2015 to make ABHK a standout? Alexie Glass-Kantor, executive director of the Sydney-based Artspace, has very ambitious plans for the Encounters sector, which presents institutional-scale artworks and installations. I am also excited about some of the younger US galleries in the Discoveries sector: Eleven Rivington from New York will present the artist Mika Tajima, while Night Gallery from Los Angeles will show work by John Patrick Walsh III [also known as JPW3].
2014 saw the enthusiastic reception of the initial film sector to ABHK. What can we expect in that sector this year? Hong Kong is a cinema city. The Film sector, therefore, was very well received, as we presented 49 films by 41 artists. This year promises to be just as strong, with artist/curator Li Zhenhua returning to curate the sector. Themes for his upcoming program include Urbanity, Animated Reality, and Healing, amongst others.
Furniture Art (Shikoku and Hakone) by Mika Tajima, 2014.
How many galleries will be participating at ABHK this year? The selection of galleries participating in the show this year is our strongest to date with a total of 233 exhibitors from 36 countries, including Chicago’s Richard Gray Gallery. In addition to a robust list of returning participants, 29 galleries are exhibiting for the first time.
How has Art Basel in Hong Kong’s success helped to expand both the domestic and international art scene in Hong Kong? Art Basel focuses an international spotlight on the lively art scene in Hong Kong. The show, therefore, is not only an opportunity for galleries from across the world to exchange ideas, but also for the city’s galleries, artists, nonprofit art organizations, and museums to reach a global audience. We work closely with key cultural organizations across Hong Kong—including Asia Art Archive, the Asia Society, Para/Site Art Space, Spring Workshop, and M+, Hong Kong’s future museum for visual culture—to offer an associated program of events. In fall 2014, we started working with HKU Space and Central Saint Martins to create a first-of-its-kind continuing education program on collecting contemporary art for novice art collectors.