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Contemporary art trends and news from Asia and beyond

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Posts Tagged ‘Damien Hirst’

Korean art hit and miss at Seoul Auction Hong Kong: New York Times

Posted by artradar on July 21, 2010


SEOUL AUCTION HOUSE RESULTS

A recent article by The New York Times explains the market trends of recent Hong Kong newcomer, Seoul Auction’s two highly successful auctions held in 2009:  Korean collectors continue to acquire Western contemporary artists, Chinese artists buy modern Chinese paintings and Korean art sales are a hit and miss affair. Read on for more…

Seoul Auction was established in 1998, and was for many years was the city’s only auction house. In 2008, it opened an office in Hong Kong, and since then has been gaining international credibility as a top-rate Asian auction house. Seoul Auction uses the auction platform as a way to introduce Western art to the Asian market, as well as introducing relatively new work from South Korea and other Asian countries to the international market.

Damien Hirst, The Importance of Elsewhere – The Kingdom of Heaven. 2006. Butterflies and Household paint on canvas. 292x243.9 cm

Damien Hirst, 'The Importance of Elsewhere – The Kingdom of Heaven,' 2006, butterflies and household paint on canvas, 292x243.9 cm.

Trends in Western art

Seoul Auction’s record-breaking 2.2 million dollar sale of Damien Hirsts The Importance of Elsewhere – The Kingdom of Heaven, arguably its most notable achievement, and similarly pricey sales of other Western artists have revealed a flourishing market for Western Art in Asia. Works from Damien Hirst’s “Butterfly” series have proven very sell-able, although Seoul Auction has avoided his brush paintings – a pair of silk screen prints failed to sell at their April sale.

Donald Judds linear block sculpture Untitled (Progression 87-26) and Robert Indiana’s Eight from his number series are among those that fetched the highest prices. Roy Lichtenstein has also been introduced and has had a healthy reception.

According to the chief executive of Seoul Auction, Jun Lee, “Korean collectors are very sophisticated.” He adds that they had been collecting Western contemporary art “for the past twenty years, even when the market was not that active, even in New York. They are very open-minded. It’s a survival strategy under these circumstances, in periods of recession. We’re trying to persuade our contacts with whom we’ve built relationships over the past ten years to sell.”

Popular Asian contemporary artists

The “Infinity Nets” mixed media sculptures by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama have been highly successful. Works by Anish Kapoor, introduced to Korea by Seoul Auction, have also been highlighted as having healthy sales.

A photographer takes a picture of Yayoi Kusama, Venus No.1, Statue of Venus, Obliterated by Infinity Nets, 1998, Oil on canvas and fiberglass, 227x145.5cm, 68 x 60 x 21cm, at Hong Kong International Art Fair. Taken from freep.com

A photographer takes a picture of Yayoi Kusama's 'Venus No.1, Statue of Venus, Obliterated by Infinity Nets' (1998) at the Hong Kong International Art Fair. Taken from freep.com.

Korean art hit and miss

Although Korean works account for forty percent of Seoul Auction’s offerings in Hong Kong, sales of Korean art have been hit and miss. Kim Whanki’s abstract geometry paintings have sold well, but video artist Nam Juin Paik’s work has failed to sell. The article accredits this to the relatively short history of South Korean art in the international market compared to that of Japanese and Chinese artists, although in recent years sales to Western collectors have increased.

Chinese collectors prefer traditional art

Chinese art has been undeniably popular among Chinese buyers. Sanyu’s Flowers in a White Vase, Wang Yi Dong’s Girl and Peaches and Zeng Fanzhi’s Mask Series no 21 3-1 sold for good prices, some even exceeding their estimates.

Also popular among Chinese buyers are traditional paintings, such as works by Impressionists Chagall, Renoir, and Picasso, but they are less interested in less familiar American pop artists. According to an article by the Hong Kong Trader, there is also a trend for crossover art.

With the growing trend for crossover art (Chinese buying Japanese art, Japanese buying Korean art, etc), Ms Shim expects more Asian auction houses will look to set up a base in Hong Kong. By moving early, she says, Seoul Auction will gain a strong foothold. ‘We are preparing now for the good times ahead.’

As expressed in The New York Times article, the buying power of China is told only too well through the popularity of traditional works when contemporary works are struggling to sell.

Read the full article here.

MM/KN/KCE

Related Topics: venues- Hong Kong, collectors, market watch – auctions

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Posted in Auctions, Business of art, Collectors, Hong Kong, Market watch, Promoting art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

ART HK 10 reports strong sales figures, lists major artworks sold

Posted by artradar on June 16, 2010


ART HK ART FAIR SALES ARTWORKS LISTED

Strong sales figures have been reported since the third Hong Kong art fair drew to a close in late May this year. Million dollar sales of artwork by Zhang Xiaogang and Damien Hirst, plus high-priced sales of works by Anish Kapoor and Yoshitomo Nara, suggest the event is now able to comfortably position itself as one of the world’s top art fairs.

“It’s our second time at the Fair and sales this year are up 100%. We sold to collectors from Japan, Taiwan and Beijing. I think the fair has increasing energy in the way Miami Art Basel had when it launched,” Johann Nowak, Director, DNA, Berlin.

A post-event press release from ART HK 10 listed six major transactions made at the event:

The Inescapable Truth (2005) by Damien Hirst, sold by White Cube for £1.75 million.

The Inescapable Truth by Damien Hirst (2005) is the first formaldehyde work by the artist to be shown in China.

The Inescapable Truth (2005) by Damien Hirst is the first formaldehyde work by the artist to be shown in China.

Green Wall – Husband and Wife (2010) by Zhang Xiaogang, sold by Pace Beijing for US$1 million.

Zhang Xiaogang's Green Wall - Husband and Wife (2010)

Zhang Xiaogang's Green Wall - Husband and Wife (2010)

More Light (1988) by Sean Scully, sold by Galerie Lelong for US$750,000.

Untitled (2010) by Anish Kapoor, sold by Lisson Gallery for £550,000.

Composition with Bamboo and Grass (2007-08) by Liu Ye, sold by Sperone Westwater for US$650,000.

Liu Ye's Composition with Bamboo and Grass (2007-8)

Liu Ye's Composition with Bamboo and Grass (2007-8)

Rock’n Roll the Roll (2009) by Yoshitomo Nara, sold by Marianne Boesky Gallery for US$350,000.

Yoshitomo Nara's Rock'n Roll The Roll (2009)

Gallerists and dealers had a mostly positive response to this year’s fair and what they had to say seems to mirror the high sales figures reported.

“The response to our solo exhibition by Liu Ye exceeded my expectations. Sales were made to new collectors from Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, and Singapore and to a prominent New York collector. There is so much positive energy here. We look forward to returning next year,” David Leiber, Director and Partner, Sperone Westwater, New York.

“We’ve met some very interesting collectors from other countries in Asia. The level of sophistication and interest in Western art is rising exponentially in Asia,” Ben Brown, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Hong Kong and London.

Art Radar Asia was determined to hunt down first-hand perspectives of galleries in attendance this year and spoke with 19 during ART HK 10. Reactions to the fair were as varied as the galleries we spoke with. Read what they had to say here.

CBKM/KN

Related Topics: events – fairs, market watch, venues – Hong Kong

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Posted in Business of art, China, Collectors, Events, Fairs, Hong Kong, Lists, Market watch, Venues | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

‘Guerilla’ gallerist on introducing Banksy to Asia, art atmosphere in Hong Kong- interview

Posted by artradar on April 14, 2010


HONG KONG ART MARKET

Two year old gallery Fabrik, known for its unique guerilla exhibitions and for bringing Western iconic artists to Asia, sets up permanent home in Hong Kong.

The Fabrik Contemporary Art Gallery is young in Hong Kong, having exploded onto the art scene about 2 years ago with its first show LOVE ART, which caused a sensation introducing works by the notorious street artist Banksy, who had never before been exhibited in Asia. Although the Fabrik Gallery is young, it stands out in Hong Kong’s Chinese-saturated art market for its rare support of Western and contemporary pop artworks and its unique practice of holding ‘guerilla exhibitions’ in temporary or borrowed spaces. In fact, 2 years into its business of promoting art, Fabrik Contemporary has just recently found itself a fixed home in the heart of Central in Hong Kong.

The gallery is a joint venture, owned and operated by Sean Coxall, Jurgen Abergas, and Mark Saunderson, and was originally intended as a platform for the art enthusiasts to share and market their ever-expanding private collections of Warhol and other iconic pop artworks.

The business partners recognized the void of popular Western artworks within the Hong Kong art market, which generally does not expose art lovers to Western phenomena.

The gallery’s flagship Banksy show in April 2008 shocked the art community with its overwhelming success, drawing unprecedented crowds and attention. This Spring, Fabrik fittingly celebrated the opening of their permanent space with another show featuring Banksy, accompanied by the likes of Damien Hirst, Francis Bacon, and Gilbert & George in ‘The Great British Show,’ which ran February 25-March 25.

Art Radar catches up with the Fabrik Gallery’s lively co-owner and curator Jurgen Abergas, a London-educated cosmopolitan whose background includes growing up in the Philippines and living in Los Angeles and China. He shares his perspective on the Hong Kong art scene, Hong Kong’s reaction to Western pop art, and tells all about the series of serendipitous events that culminated in bringing Banksy to Hong Kong.

Was it logistically easy to have the Banksy LOVE ART show in Hong Kong?

Yes, it was actually, because there is no tax on importing art here. We were not yet even registered as a company at that time. We were just working as a private dealership. We collaborated with the Schoeni Gallery, because [the Gallery Director] Nicole Schoeni loves Banksy and wanted to bring him here too. This was also a jump starting point for Nicole’s Adapta Gallery project in Hong Kong.

The show was comprised of 3 days in the Hong Kong Art Centre, and then another 2 weeks with additional pieces for the Schoeni show.

What is the mission of the gallery?

The mission of the gallery is to encourage first time collectors. We try to provide known iconic pieces that accurately represent the style of an artist. For instance, if you want a piece by Hirst, you wouldn’t want a piece that is only a squiggle or a dot, because that is not a known Hirst. We show work that is more iconic and familiar.

Japanese Apricot 2, 2005, by Chiho Aoshima. 55 x 77.8 cm Lithograph. Contact Fabrik Gallery.

What type of art did you intend to share with Hong Kong?

Definitely Western contemporary art. The Japanese art was not a fluke; I’ve been into manga since I was a kid, and it was something that my two partners only got eventually.

We were at a gallery showing of Murakami and other artists, and I told them we should definitely show Murakami. I mean, we go to London, New York, Los Angeles, and we see all these [Murakami] retrospectives, but we don’t see it here. I thought it would make a difference in the Hong Kong arts scene if someone showed works of Murakami here. And also, we wanted to prove that what Murakami does is beyond just Louis Vuitton.

When we opened this gallery, it was supposed to only be a stockroom. But, I said, let’s just do it properly. We were just kind of sick and tired of showing art out of our homes. It’s not ideal, but there are many dealers in New York and London that show art out of their home. However, in Hong Kong it is so crazy outside that you really need your home to be sacred space.

So, we launched the Murakami show, and we pre-sold most of the art before hand! It was one of those shows where we were struggling because clients wanted their art immediately and not wait until the end of the show! So, we were re-hanging stuff that wasn’t even Murakami anymore, because we ran out of the pieces that were actually in demand. We didn’t see that coming at all. Nobody was specializing in Murakami in Hong Kong. However, I have to credit Nicole [Schoeni], because she had works by Chiho Aoshima, who is another artist by Murakami. Aoshima is a lady who just paints women. Nicole had an amazing Japanese apricot lithograph. It is a piece that is really stuck in my head. After seeing that, I was like, ok, let’s include other artists with Murakami.

How is the Fabrik Gallery unique among galleries in Hong Kong?

I think we’re unique because we deal with art that is not generally represented in Hong Kong, and we do not deal with Chinese art.  I love Chinese art, but in a sea of contemporary Chinese art, there is only so much you want to see. We are looking to offer something different.

We also think it’s important to educate the viewer of the message behind the piece. You can go to galleries and think a work is beautiful, but not understand the inspiration for a work. We support more people, especially students, coming into the gallery and reading about an artwork so they do not have unprocessed thoughts about art. When you have a guide to read or someone who will explain the art to you, it really makes a difference and makes a lasting impression on someone who visits the gallery.

Can you describe the Fabrik Gallery’s ‘guerilla’ approach to art sales?

Basically, we went to different venues, like the W Hotel, rented out space, painted it, put up lights, and showed our works there.

Which galleries and arts organizations do you work closely with?

We work closely with White Cube in London, Aragon Press (the publisher of Damien Hirst), Other Criteria (again, Damien Hirst.) Hirst is our specialty. Also KaiKai Kiki, which is Murakami, the Helium Foundation, and other galleries in New York for our private collections.

Do you attend art fairs? Are you participating in Art HK?

This May we will be. We’re going to Art HK. One of the reasons we did the Banksy show is because we were rejected from Art HK in 2008. We were accepted this year, but we’re still deciding whether we should go. They prioritize the international galleries and we notice that most of the galleries here in Hong Kong are not participating.  I’m not exactly sure why, but it’s a very weird process.

Although we were rejected the first time, it’s the best thing that ever happened to us. If we had done Art HK, the Banksy show never would have happened.

What was your impression of Art HK?

I love Art HK. It’s a great way to see art! I think it’s one of those events that can give a platform and democratize the buying of art and make international artworks accessible to a wider audience. However, I don’t approve of hard sales tactics, and showing artworks without providing the context of the artist. In art fairs in general, it is hard to create the intimacy of an actual gallery.

What was Hong Kong’s reaction to your flagship show featuring Banksy?

It was phenomenal, they loved it. No other exhibition has ever graced the front page of the City section of the South China Morning Post. The turnout was around 1,000 people, and people from Christie’s and Sotheby’s were lining up. We had to hire security because it was just too packed. It was a very well publicized event that just happened in about 3 weeks. People usually plan this sort of thing 6 to 8 months in advance, and we did it in only 3 weeks. We worked around the clock, and were so tired afterward. Before we opened the Art Centre the next day, people were already lining up to see the show.

Was the turnout local?

It was a combination of both local and expatriate people, which is good. I think people in London and Europe are more passionate about these things, though. It’s weird, because when we opened the Banksy show, Banksy-style art of monkeys appeared on the bridges, and the next day it was already erased. A lot of people thought the graffiti was actually authentic Banksy. If this was in London, they would have preserved that. If it was in New York, they would have preserved it. But here in Hong Kong, it was wiped the next day.

The government needs to promote more sensibility toward the arts, especially here in Hong Kong Island. We’re on the cusp; we’re still not there yet.  The Hong Kong crowd still has a lot to see compared to London. However, we’re never going to be London and we need to make our own niche in Hong Kong, and make a city where art and commerce blend in. It’s still a financial city; that is what we are all about. We are not exactly an art city. That is one of the disadvantages of being here in Hong Kong. We are not exposed to a lot, and important art can get erased the next day by the cleaners. Because it’s not important to them.

Has Banksy been featured in Asia prior to your first show?

We definitely wanted Banksy to be our first show. It is the first and largest show of Banksy in Asia; Tokyo rejected it, so we were glad to take it. Ironically, now Tokyo is hungry for his works.

Does the Fabrik Gallery intend to feature other street or urban artists?

Paul Insect, Icon 8, 2008. Wooden panel, gold leaf, natural powder paint, shellac, acrylic paint.

We are planning to bring Lazarides U.K. artists Antony Micallef and Paul Insect before the end of the year. We love their works and they relate well to Warhol, especially Paul Insect. He creates appropriated images that reference historical art.

How does Banksy promote his art if his identity is kept secret? Does he directly work with galleries for his shows?

He’s not with his manager Steve Lazarides anymore, since they had a falling out. They had different intentions; it’s hard when you’re turning art into a commodity. Banksy doesn’t work directly with galleries either, and doesn’t show up in exhibitions. He just wants his identity to be secret and to keep a low profile, and to continue creating smart work and churning out really good stuff.

Why do you think Banksy created the sensation in Hong Kong?

His works confront a lot of issues and are very tongue in cheek, yet also is close to the heart. Banksy’s art talks to each individual and is easy to relate to. It makes you think, but it makes you smile as well.

Do you see any major differences between the art of Banksy and the art of the other artists in the ‘Great British Show’?

His work, whether it is rendered in canvas or in print, is from the street. There is a roughness that you can see and feel, although it is a screen print. It is still raw, and there is something sinister about it. You know the artist made this on the street in the middle of the night and ran away from the police, knowing he could get caught at any time while he was painting.

Are you familiar with the street art scene and artists in Hong Kong?  If so, who would you consider important artists?

I am familiar with Hong Kong street artists, like the ST/ART Collective… However, in general the street scene in Hong Kong is not very prolific. Funnily enough, I saw a tagging by the U.K. artist Word to Mother on a wooden board in the market. I am sure that it’s his authentic tag, since no one else can really do that. Someone just used the board to cover the fruits they were selling.

Do you view Hong Kong as an international art hub?

With Art HK, the success of ArtWalk, and the international galleries— The Gagosian Gallery is coming, Ben Brown is here, and the Malborough Gallery is opening here. Obviously people are looking at the potential of Hong Kong, and there is a big market here.

Tsang Kin-Wah, 2006. Untitled wallpaper detail for Shu Uemura in California.

What is great about the local art scene?

There are particularly 2 artists that I really like. One is Tsang Kin-wah. He was commissioned to create the wallpaper of The Pawn restaurant in Wan Chai. He made repetitions of words to create a flock wallpaper pattern. He has had exhibitions in New York, Paris and Norway. He’s really a major artist, but he’s very humble.

Nadim Abbas is another Hong Kong artist who used to work for Plum Blossoms, and is now showing his art at Para/Site. He’s a very conceptual artist, and was featured in the [Hong Kong Museum of Art] Louis Vuitton show representing Hong Kong artists. I love artists who work from their stream of consciousness, and he obviously does this.

I also like the illustration style of Carrie Chau, [featured at the Wun Yin Collection Gallery] at the Homeless boutique on Gough Street.

What news sources do you read to stay informed about the art world?

Art Observed.com is my number one resource. The Art Newspaper is good too, although I’ve noticed that not all their stories are up to date. Sometimes their news seems to be relevant to say, 1o months ago.  I also read Frieze MagazineThe Art ReviewThe Guardian, blogs, anything!

What advice would you give to someone looking to start a dealer gallery in Hong Kong?

Show only the artists that you love and the artists that you’re passionate about. Art is a very personal thing, and the general public may come in and hate it. Be prepared to be judged.

Is there any particular information, news, or advice you would like to share with our readers?

Start collecting now.  If you like something, save your money and make it your goal. In the next few years you will probably regret not getting it.

What is your next show at Fabrik Contemporary Art?

In the Name of Pop, featuring Jeff Koons, Andy Warhol, and Keith Haring will run May 6-June 10, 2010.

Visit Fabrik Contemporary Art’s new and permanent home at 412, 4F, Yip Fung Building, 2 – 18 D’Aguilar Street, Central, Hong Kong.

EW/KCE

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Posted in Art spaces, Business of art, Curators, Galleries, Gallerists/dealers, Gallery shows, Graffiti, Hong Kong, International, Interviews, Pop Art, Profiles, Street art | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Why do banks buy art and will they continue to? BBC podcast

Posted by artradar on December 15, 2009


ART PATRONS BANK COLLECTORS 

How has the 500-year-old tradition of art patronage by banks changed, particularly after the events of 2008? Why do banks collect art? Will they continue to collect after the Financial Crisis and if they do will their reasons for collecting change? Razia Iqbal asks art advisors and staff of banks including Deutsche Bank and the Royal Bank of Scotland in a Wise Buddha production made for BBC Radio 4. 

Turning the World Upside Down Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor, Turning the World Upside Down III, Deutsche Bank Collection

Art has been bought by banks for all kinds of reasons over the centuries. In the Middle Ages art patronage helped banking families wash away the sin of usury and gain social status.  In more recent times art was bought to decorate boardrooms and for investment. Pre-recession banks came full circle and art collections were actively used for image management again. The events of 2008 have now created a double pull for banks with art collections: should they sell which would help their image of prudent fiscal management or should they keep and share their collections with the public who now own many of them.  Iqbal’s programme hints at intriguing echos: there may no longer be a need to atone for Christian guilt but corporate guilt is perhaps another matter. The podcast is no longer accessible but here are some snippets. 

Bank collectors buying wider range of media 

Alex Heath, Managing Director of Independent Art Consultants which sources art for Barclays Bank amongst others says that the type of works which banks are interested in buying have changed in the recent past. “It is now less about straight painting and prints” and more about bringing “variety into the workplace”‘ with other media. 

Art now part of marketing mix 

In the past many banks bought works for decorating public spaces and board room he explains and over time the pieces accumulated into collections. More recently though he says that art is used consciously as part of the marketing mix. He describes how, in his work with clients, the marketing department or agency is his first port of call where he will ask “‘What do you want to say about the bank?” and from there he will generate art ideas which will complement the marketing message. 

Deutsche Bank recognised by peers 

Asked if he thinks that banks are cautious in their purchasing decisions, favouring traditional over contemporary works, he explains that there are banks which are taking leading positions as collectors of contemporary art and particularly singles out Deutsche Bank as “‘doing very well” at this. 

Art for staff, art to stimulate intellectual curiosity 

Alistair Hicks adviser to Deutsche Bank, which has a collection of over 56,00o pieces, shows Iqbal some of the works in the Deutsche Bank lobby, corridors and board rooms and explains the bank does not buy for investment.  Deutsche Bank’s primary purpose in buying art which began in the 1970s as an initiative called “Art in the Workplace” is to stimulate the intellect of its staff. “A good banker has to be curious about what is going on in the world and artists play a leading role in expressing current ideas”. 

In the lobby an early spot painting by Damien Hirst is reflected in an Anish Kapoor sculpture called “‘Turning the World Upside Down”‘. Iqbal is invited by Hicks to come around and inside the “almost spiritual” sculpture to experience its echo effect. Artwork is so intimately integrated into the environment of the office that boardroom are named after artists and Kapoor’s sculpture, affectionately known as ‘The Silver Ball’, has been adopted as a meeting point “We are in the Freud room. Meet you at the Silver Ball in 5”.

Art atones for sin 

Banks have traditionally been patrons of the arts with the first significant example occurring in Italy in the 1300’s when a banker commissioned a chapel containing religious artworks to atone for the sins of the family who had gained their wealth as bankers at a time when money-lending with interest was regarded as sinful by Chrisitians. 

Art for social status 

Iqbal explains that the Medicis in the fifteenth century, developed the concept of patronage considerably but used art not to atone for the family’s sins but rather to elevate its status. Artworks funded by gains from the prosperous Medici bank became a means to help the family gain public prominence, access and power and eventually noble status. 

What will banks do with art collections after the Financial Crisis? 

In an interview with the management of the Royal Bank of Scotland which since the Financial Crisis 2008, is now almost entirely public-owned, Iqbal learns about their strategy for the Barclays art collection going forward.  

Acknowledging that the trust of the public has been lost and taxpayer money needs to be refunded, the art collection strategy of RBS comprises three parts: art of historical importance will be retained, loaned out and made accessible to the public, some art will be retained for decorative purposes and the strategy towards the remaining part of the collection is to become “net sellers”. 

Though the reasons why banks buy art may change over time, Iqbal points out that banks’ tradition of collecting art stretches back over 500 years so probably won’t change any time soon. Do you agree? Leave your thoughts below. 

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KCE

Posted in Advisors, Banks, Branding in art develops, Collectors, Corporate collectors, Professionals | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Newslink roundup Hong Kong art fair – Art HK 09

Posted by artradar on May 13, 2009


  

 

Mu Boyan, Nude No 2

Mu Boyan, Nude No 2

HONG KONG ART FAIR NEWS

Flu SeasonArtforum – 24 May 09 – Must read – This gossip column-style drily written piece, complete with photos of Asian art scene-shapers, takes a comprehensive look at most aspects of the fair: management (white plastic and undrinkable wine), gallery sales (“Art HK winners: major Western galleries, local Hong Kong galleries. Big losers: major mainland galleries.”), the parties (one a victim of its own exclusivity) and the panels (a big thumbs up).  Not much written about the art itself though.

Art market reporting is notoriously conflict-ridden. Business class tickets and VIP jollies for journalists are not unknown and big ad bucks in harsh economic times also make a potent lure for bias. There is not much evidence of (or opportunity for) independent research: most of the hard data about sales and visitor numbers comes from galleries and event promoters who have an inherent commercial conflict.

Now that the ‘blog reader beware’ warning is done with, grab a handful of salt and enjoy the read.

There is some interesting coverage of lesser known Asian-based artists by the New York Times and read (the more honest??) comments by the Asian galleries about sales which are at odds with those of the Western galleries – this is covered in several of the pieces. Overall the reviews are mostly positive (of course) but for what it is worth we thought both the art and the  fair management were excellent in this second edition of the show.

 

 

Art fair saw 31% rise in visitors and several major sales South China Morning Post – May 20 09 – Gives details of visitor numbers (sourced from the fair managers) and specific big sales claimed by Western galleries and Western artists. A Korean gallery reported few sales.

An artistic quest in high gearInternational Herald Tribune / New York Times – May 20 09 – Must read – Interesting piece with a focus on the art on display, with a refreshing emphasis on lesser known Asian artists such as Konstantin Bessmertny, a Russian artist based in Macau. Several images.

More art, better art, riskier art at Art HK 09Art Radar Asia – May 19 09 – Report on visitor opinions of the fair this year, gallery sales (weak for lesser known and Asian galleries), the management of the fair (better) and quality of the art.

Artist makes sure fair goes with a bangSouth China Morning Post – May 20 09 – Short piece about avant-garde artist Chow Chun-Fai’s 2 performance pieces hosted by Shanghai Tang.

Art HK 09 –  George Chen – May 17 09 – Set of photos on Flickr

Asian auction houses starting to come of ageSouth China Morning Post – May 17 09 – Brief piece about auctions staged to coincide with the Hong Kong art fair (Est-ouest Auctions and the inaugural Asian Auction Week – a joint auction by Korea’s K Auction, Japan’s Shinwa, Kingsley’s from Taipei and Larasati from Singapore).

The second edition – Financial Times – May 16 09 – Describes art on sale and sold half way through sale.

Hong Kong Art FairArt World – June/July 09 – promotional blurb with a list of Australian galleries

Solid start to Hong Kong art fair despite downturnReuters – May 16 09 – Brief report on ‘notable sales’ in fair’s first days – This Uk edition focuses on sales (at the top end with values at tens and hundreds of thousands US$ per piece) of Western artists by top London and New York galleries including Damien Hirst, Gilbert and George, Julian Opie.

Opening HK art fair – Arrested Motion blog – May ? 09 – More than 80 images of works on show at the fair – Unfortunately not tagged but it gives a flavour of what exhibitors have brought.

Art HK 09: Hong Kong International Art Fair has a good startArtdaily –  May 15 09 – List of artworks sold on first day – Reports ‘robust sales’ and a ‘heady atmosphere of excitement’. Sales by Damien Hirst, Gilbert and George, Kohei Nawa, Fang Shao Hua, Ron Arad.

Hong Kong Art Fair Part 11 – Illustrator James Feldman blog – May 15 09 – Acerbic blog piece about weak and strong art at the fair – Baselitz and Schnabel stand out against bloated ‘reverse engineered Botero’ sculptures. Hong Art Fair Part 1 drily discusses the pecking order of tickets – ‘I have a pink ticket and a black ticket and I can’t work out which is more exclusive’.

Tennis art at the Hong Kong International Art FairNY Times Globespotters – May 14 09 – Short feature about live demonstration of Martina Navratilova creating one of her tennis ball paintings –  She has been making these with fellow Czech and artist Juro Kralik since 2000 but has only recently started to sell the works.

Strange Hong Kong art fairDetroit Free Press – May 13 2009 – A set of 6 images, mostly sculptures at the fair and the concurrent Seoul Auction. Artists Mu Boyan, Yi hwan Kwon, Yayoi Kusama, Damien Hirst, Lin Yilin.

Insider Art FairArtinfo – May 13 2009 – Short list of artists’ works and prices brought to the fair by leading galleries.

 Prefair coverage

Much of the prefair coverage republishes the press release or gives other repetitive promotional content. A couple of links covering the basics are given here and a more complete list can be found on the Hong Kong art fair site.

Magnus Renfrew on ArtHK09 Artinfo – May 12 2009 – Pre-fair interview with director Magnus Renfrew. Great questions, predictable answers. Content is mainly promotional but does cover failure to get sponsorship this year. Claims Hong Kong is superior location in Asia for art fair: well-positioned geographically to tap mature collector groups in Taiwan and South Korea as well as latent potential of future Chinese market; tax benefits.  Gallery mix is 65% Asian, 35% international. MR also claims that HK art fair is more regional than competing fairs.

Hong Kong’s contemporary art fairFinancial Times – May 9 2009 – A somewhat promotional pre-fair piece which lists participant galleries and side events.  Based on a news angle which suggests Hong Kong (and environs) is a rising star in Asian art scene. Evidence for its growing importance as a cultural hub is given as 1) Guangzhou Triennial “widely considered China’s most important art event” 2) last year’s budget approval by HK government for the development of West Kowloon cultural district –  a 40 hectare site for the arts 3) Hong Kong has become third largest art market by auction sales in world 4) last year’s introduction of ArtHK, Hong Kong art fair.

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Guggenheim shows copy of Cai Guo Qiang sculpture

Posted by artradar on July 25, 2008


CHINESE NEW YORK EVENT “Unbeknownst to the casual viewer, Cai’s spectacle, “Inopportune: Stage One,” isn’t the real thing. It’s a copy. The original is 3,000 miles away at the Seattle Art Museum” says Newsweek.

A small army of assistants and a team of rock climbers under the artist’s direction transformed the Guggenheim’s famous rotunda into the site of an explosive tumble of nine cars decked out in blinking lights—an installation that Guggenheim director Thomas Krens says “may be the best artistic transformation of the Frank Lloyd Wright space we’ve ever seen.”

But unbeknownst to the casual viewer, Cai’s spectacle, “Inopportune: Stage One,” isn’t the real thing. It’s a copy. The original is 3,000 miles away at the Seattle Art Museum. It’s made of more or less the same parts—white automobiles and LED light rods—but it’s oriented horizontally rather than vertically. The only clue for Guggenheim visitors that they weren’t seeing the “original” was the small print on a wall label that labeled the piece an “exhibition copy.”

But what exactly is an exhibition copy? If the artist oversaw its creation, why isn’t it an original? The Cai exhibit, which drew huge crowds to the Guggenheim, raises questions that many museum goers have probably never considered. And when we’re talking about contemporary art made from common or mass-produced materials, how do we know when a work of art is the “real thing”?

Cai’s car piece may be the single most extravagant exhibition copy ever made. It came about because its owner, the Seattle Art Museum, didn’t want to loan the flashy artwork, which is its lobby centerpiece. At that point, according to Guggenheim curator Alexandra Munroe, Cai came up with the solution of creating the copy.

There is very little consensus in the museum community about who has the authority to copy a work of art and what constitutes “good” reasons for doing so. Last October, the Tate Modern in London held a conference called “Inherent Vice: The Replica and its Implications in Modern Sculpture,” which raised heated debates about just these issues.

Most commonly the question comes up when a work of art degrades, and if the artist is alive, he or she gets the final say on what to do. (Think Damien Hirst’s decaying shark in a tank of formaldehyde, which after a time needs a fresh carcass.)

But if an artist has died and an artwork has deteriorated beyond recognition, is it better to repair it, re-create it entirely or let it die? If it’s re-created from scratch, should the replica and the deteriorated version be exhibited together, as co-representatives that add up to the most authentic possible whole?

Part of the reason for the endless nuance has to do with sculpture’s historically complex relationship with replication. A painting has no mold, but a sculpture can be recast. In the 19th century, all the great American museums proudly displayed plaster casts of classical sculptures, thinking they’d never be able to get their hands on the originals and that copies were better than nothing. When originals became all-important, museums destroyed or stuffed away entire collections of copies.

Of course, artists are always ahead of the curve…..for full story http://www.newsweek.com/id/140167/page/1

Source Newsweek   http://www.newsweek.com/id/140167/
Image details Cai Guo Qiang: Inopportune Stage One

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