Mu Boyan, Nude No 2
HONG KONG ART FAIR NEWS
Flu Season – Artforum – 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 gear – International 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 09 – Art 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 bang – South 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 age – South 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 Fair – Art World – June/July 09 – promotional blurb with a list of Australian galleries
Solid start to Hong Kong art fair despite downturn – Reuters – 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 start – Artdaily – 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 Fair – NY 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 fair – Detroit 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 Fair – Artinfo – May 13 2009 – Short list of artists’ works and prices brought to the fair by leading galleries.
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 fair – Financial 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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