Las Vegas collectors are casting their eyes eastward as Art Basel in Hong Kong is set to dazzle with its third show.
Furniture Art (Shikoku and Hakone), Mika Tajima, 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 whose combined estimated sales topped $1 billion. As the fair celebrates its third edition (March 15-17), Art Basel’s director, Marc Spiegler, shares an overview of what connoisseurs and collectors can expect to see and experience in the new capital of art and culture in Asia.
An estimated 65,000 people attended ABHK in 2014, up 10 percent from 2013. What are some key factors driving this growth? 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 had a tremendous impact on the burgeoning art scene in Hong Kong, further cementing it as a global hub for the region.
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.
2014 saw an enthusiastic reception for ABHK’s initial Film sector. What can we expect to see 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, among others.
How has Art Basel helped to expand the art scene in Hong Kong? Art Basel focuses an international spotlight on the lively art scene in Hong Kong. The show is not only an opportunity for galleries from across the world to make new contacts and 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 throughout the city during the show. 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 collectors.
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. In addition to a robust list of returning participants, 29 galleries are exhibiting for the first time.