Art Basel Hong Kong
Art Basel, the big international contemporary art fair, is held on a different continent each year. The first show took place in Hong Kong at the end of March, followed by a second one that will occur in Basel in June, and the third and final show of the year under the hot sun of Miami Beach in December.
The Asian market opened the season with pomp and circumstance as fashionable artists, celebrities and millionaires contribute to the fair’s festive, intense reputation. And Art Basel HK is also ahead when it comes to sales!
Now in its fifth year, the Hong Kong fair is the latest addition to the Art Basel circuit. The fair allows for a critical overview on creative activity, art collecting and art investment growth on the Asian market. Art Basel Hong Kong is the region’s largest economic event, stealing all the attention from Beijing and Shanghai, the neighbouring art capitals. From March 21 to 25, Art Basel featured 242 galleries from 34 countries, including the usual leading players such as Gagosian and Pace Gallery, as well as over 10% new participants. Art came in all forms, from painting to photography, installation to video works.
Todd Murphy, “Stag”, 2017, Art Central Hong Kong. Courtesy of Mark Straus Gallery.
Most of the galleries represented are already part of Art Basel’s European and Miami Beach circuits. The Hong Kong event is crucial for winning over Asian collectors. The first two days of the fair are reserved for VIP previews. The wealthiest Chinese patrons scout the fair and its satellite manifestations, purchasing works before the event opens to the public. Exclusivity pays: most sales take place during that time. Rumour has it that Art Basel Hong Kong’s 2017 private sales revenue exceeded the public sales figure for Asia in 2016. Sotheby’s and Christie’s Hong Kong spring auction sales are scheduled for April… Something to keep an eye on!
Text: Barbabra Stehle