Property companies splurge on art in Hong Kong, recent trend

ART SPONSORSHIP HONG KONG

At the end of last year Time Out noticed a new trend in Hong Kong,

one with its own strange momentum. Property companies appeared to be competing with one another to sponsor the arts.

Zhang Yu, A One and a Two

Zhang Yu, A One and a Two

When the Olympics surged into town in August 2008, the Sun Hung Kai Charitable Fund revealed their City Art Square in Sha Tin, a 190,000 square foot area developed in association with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), featuring 19 public art works by international and local artists (from Zaha Hadid to Freeman Lau). The project won a prestigious Cityscape Architectural Award, and brought a welcome dose of innovation to the New Territories.

There were also exhibitions in Causeway Bay as Wharf, owners of Times Square, launched a series of high profile exhibitions in the development’s public space.

Meanwhile, the Sino Group continued with their award-winning Art in Hong Kong campaign, sponsoring art projects and holding exhibitions in their properties.

Joaquin Gasgonia Palencia, Red Horse

Joaquin Gasgonia Palencia, Red Horse

Even The Link launched the Artsmart fair in Stanley.

But in December, Swire Properties dropped their arts bombshell.

Following their consistent support of the arts since the 1970s, they opened ArtisTree, an astonishing 20,000 square foot space in Taikoo Place dedicated to visual and performing arts.

The opening exhibition (showing until the end of January) was Dame Vivienne Westwood’s retrospective exhibition ‘A Life in Fashion’, organised in conjunction with London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Just to rub it in the face of the LCSD, the Museum of Art had turned down the chance to hold the same exhibition several years ago.

Essentially, here was a property company doing the work of an art museum.

And looking forward in 2009

one of the most unusual property-art events of the year will occur in autumn when an ‘Art Mall’ will open in the new K11 development in Tsim Sha Tsui. The project is a partnership between New World Development and the the Urban Renewal Authority.

“K11 is probably the first art mall in the world, combining an art gallery with a shopping mall,” explains Adrian Cheng, Executive Director of New World Development. The art loving 28 year old and driving force behind the project promises to showcase artworks by local and international artists throughout the mall.

“TST has the Cultural Centre and Museum of Art, and K11 is the main force to integrate the art and cultural elements of TST, so that the district becomes the ultimate cultural district in Hong Kong, like Tribeca or Soho [in New York],” adds the young developer. “Giving local artists the resources and platform to display their masterpieces is the main vision for K11 to promote local art.”

There is a tradition of arts sponsorship by Hong Kong property companies pioneered by Hong Kong Land,  but now there is a new ‘splurge’ which brings with it some risks. Read more at Time Out

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