– By Ethan Low, Founder of Bespokcracy Travel
Many argue that the true genesis of Hong Kong’s art market is attributed to the emergence of the Art HK art fair. It was established in 2008 to spark investor interest in art in Hong Kong and with the larger hope of capturing the burgeoning Chinese market. With its historical legacy as an ex-British colony, it also ensured that established western collectors with a taste for modern and contemporary Chinese art had a friendly jurisdiction to double as their art playground. The fair was an instant hit, and in 5 short years, even got bought out by Art Basel, which sealed its place in the luminary halls of the world’s most important art fairs.
This popular fair became the keystone of Hong Kong’s annual Art Week and was complemented by the establishment of the more Asian-focused Art Central and fringe events organised by private players, the Hong Kong Art Galleries Association and the Hong Kong SAR government. There is now good utility of spectacularly-refurbished heritage buildings for art and design exhibitions, Tai Kwun and PMQ, to name a prominent few. These come even more alive with themed shows to engage the public, ensuring that the Art Week is not just for big-time collectors and art industry insiders.
Impressively on the commercial galleries front, several international blue-chip galleries have set up their Asian base, and almost all present blockbuster exhibitions specially for the Art Week and participation at Art BaselHong Kong. The bulk of these are concentrated around the Central business district, and the arrival of H Queen’s tower right in the heart of it has upped the heat even more, with brand names like Hauser & Wirth, David Zwirner and Pace all consolidated in this one building. The nearby venerable Pedder Building houses its own prestigious share of galleries as well.
Photo credit: Art Basel
With the completion of the behemoth West Kowloon Cultural District edging closer by the day, Hong Kong Art Week will no doubt get even more dynamic and prove even harder to catch up with. Everyone is especially holding with bated breath, the opening of its flagship contemporary art museum of M+, with its official opening slated for 2020.
Hong Kong Art Week looks set to have a blindingly bright future, making it one event on the arts calendar that no one with an interest in art in Asia should miss.
Photo credit: West Kowloon
Join us in our upcoming Exclusive Insider’s Tour to Hong Kong Art Week this year as we take you through a curated selection of access-only and insider-look activities which include VIP access to Art Basel & Art Central, sneak previews to art districts such as West Kowloon District and M+, private dinners with leading art figures like Carla Chan and cultural scene and thoughtfully-curated walks and introductions by Benjamin Hampe, a highly-regarded personality in Southeast Asia’s art circle.
Have an idea for a themed journey that you’ve only dared to dream of? Drop us a note and we’ll help you turn it into a reality.