Hong Kong art fair director Magnus Renfrew featured in Art + Auction's Power Profiles 2008

ART FAIR ART PROFESSIONALS

Art and Auction recognises Magnus Renfrew and Stephanie Driekvoss in its Power Lists 2008 for their achievements with the inaugural edition of the Hong Kong art fair in May 2008 which brought in 19,000 visitors and about $20 million for its 101 exhibitors.

According to Art + Auction that is

Not bad for a first run. Many market observers were quick to attribute the fair’s success to Hong Kong’s almost total lack of tax on art sales-but not so fast. The steam engines driving this event are its two tireless directors, Magnus Renfrew and Stephanie Dieckvoss.

Renfrew and Drieckvoss

Renfrew and Drieckvoss

In 2007 the British-born Renfrew, who caught the art bug at a young age from his archaeologist father, moved to Hong Kong from Shanghai, where he had spent the previous year working for the peripatetic art-and-design dealer Pearl Lam at her Contrasts Gallery. In performing that job, he visited China’s major cities and met both young and established Chinese artists. “I started to understand not just the art scene but the people,” Renfrew says. Before his stint with Lam, he’d been a specialist at Bonhams in London, where in June 2006 he assembled the auction house’s first sale of contemporary Asian art.

Perhaps the directors’ most impressive achievement is how quickly they put the event together. Renfrew started recruiting galleries only in early June 2007. While Renfrew looks after galleries from the Asia Pacific region, Dieckvoss, who worked for Gagosian in New York and for Paris’s Karsten Greve gallery before going to Frieze, handles those from the U.S., Europe and South America.  

In an interview with Artfacts.net, Renfrew explains why Hong Kong was chosen

One of the key things is that Hong Kong gives us a neutral territory among Asians, it is really it’s the world city of Asia; it’s a part of China, but it’s also distinct from it. If you look at the other art fairs in Asia, they’re very much subordinate to the country in which they take place; so the majority of the art fairs in China are very Chinese, the KIAF is very Korean, as is the same with Taipei and Singapore. We really thought that there was an option to set up a hub fair in and for Asia, where we could attract galleries from Korea, Taiwan, mainland China, and elsewhere in the world.

Though yet to make Artprice’s top ten international contemporary art fairs, Georgina Adam of the Financial Times tips the Hong Kong art fair as the most likely of the fairs in the region to be Asia’s next Art Basel. Not bad indeed.

Sources: Artinfo, Artfacts.net,

Related categories: art fairs, art professionals, reports from Hong Kong

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