Art Basel takeover of ART HK: What did dealers at ART HK 11 say?

CONTEMPORARY ART FAIRS HONG KONG GLOBALISATION

While chatting with galleries at ART HK 11, Art Radar took the opportunity to ask some of the questions everyone wants to know the answers to. In this post we collect gallerist responses to the Art Basel buyout of ART HK. What did the dealers in attendance think about this potentially game-changing news?

Douglas Young‘s 'The Red Lantern Banquet' shown at ART HK 11 by Hong Kong's Para / Site Art Space. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Douglas Young‘s 'The Red Lantern Banquet' shown at ART HK 11 by Hong Kong's Para/Site Art Space. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

While most gallerists seemed positive about the change in fair management, more than a few Asian-based galleries expressed their concern with the announcement that ART HK would be moved to a February time slot. Because of this, the fair organisers made the decision to stick with a May date for at least 2012.

Other galleries were concerned that, with the fair becoming more international, the event may lose it’s unique local flavour, while still others thought it would lead to increased professionalism among Asian art galleries and art management.

Read for yourself what ART HK 11 attendees thought of the Art Basel “takeover”:

It’s exciting. It shows the quality of the fair [ART HK] and that Hong Kong is a good location, and it’s interesting both for the galleries and for the visitors. It’s interesting how quickly it happened. The fair [ART HK] is only four years old and it’s already been bought by Art Basel. It will only get better.

Rokeby Gallery (London)

It was great news … because the structure of the organisation [Art Basel] is very established and they were very successful … when they founded Miami [Art Basel Miami Beach] … six, seven years ago. … It’s a very good team and Art Basel has the best reputation of the [international] art fairs, so it is, I think, a very good sign that they’re investing in Hong Kong.

Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac (Paris and Salzburg)

Sculpture by Miki Taira, Tokyo Gallery+BTAP, ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (KCE).

Sculpture by Miki Taira, Tokyo Gallery+BTAP, ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (KCE).

Well, I think it’s probably a good thing. They [Art Basel] will only add their expertise to the fair….

The Paragon Press (London)

Art Basel sees that Asian art buying is [and Asian] art fairs are gradually becoming sophisticated, so it bought it. This purchase means that [Art Basel] will bring its way of doing business into Asia and this fair. From now on it will be more and more difficult for galleries to get into the fair. In other words, the general quality will keep on increasing. This rise in quality will attract collectors to the fair to buy art. … Of course, this is [an improvement]. It will transform the basic business structure of Asia galleries. They have to showcase top artists and top artworks in order to join this top fair. [Attendance at ART HK] becomes a goal that galleries have to work hard in order to attain, so the gallery business across the whole of Asia will undergo a fundamental transformation.

Galerie Grand Siecle (Taipei)

I’m not sure [how I feel about Art Basel holding a majority share in ART HK]. I don’t know yet. It’s about finding a balance, not making … the fairs all the same and trying to keep an identity for this area [Hong Kong].

Greengrassi (London)

It’s good news because [Art Basel] is a huge fair – there’s one in Switzerland and one in America. If Hong Kong is going to become one of their stops, I think it’s good news.

Grotto Fine Art (Hong Kong)

Work by Hong Kong photographer South Ho, The Blindspot Gallery, ART FUTURES Section, ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Work by Hong Kong photographer South Ho, The Blindspot Gallery, ART FUTURES section, ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

I think it’s something that had been on the cards for a while. There had been rumors about it and now that it’s happened it will be interesting to see how the fair [ART HK] changes next year. Then, this fair is already considerably bigger than last year so we’ll wait and see.

Pilar Corrias Gallery (London)

[It] will bring more people to Hong Kong, all the collectors and all the galleries. This will make Hong Kong an even more prominent place in the world.

Hanart T Z Gallery (Hong Kong)

I don’t think [we have] any sort of any reaction, we’re just interested to see how it develops. It might be nice if they changed the time [from May to February] even though it’s fun to come out here at this point, but we’ll see.

James Cohan Gallery (New York and Shanghai)

Work by Damien Hirst at ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Work by Damien Hirst at ART HK 11. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Art Basel’s a fantastic fair so I can only imagine it being a good thing.

Vilma Gold (London)

We were really excited to hear that [Art Basel had purchased a majority share in ART HK]. It [ART HK] has always been a voraciously paced fair; it’s grown and multiplied very quickly, and grown in significance. Basel having a stake in the fair is testament to how important it [ART HK] has become.

The Cat Street Gallery (Hong Kong)

Very positive. Obviously this fair [ART HK] has grown, tripled in size over the past three years . Art Basel is a proven entity and they will bring their expertise to the fair, making it even more global.

Timothy Taylor Gallery (London)

Booth of Beijing Commune, ART HK 11 Galleries Section. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

Booth of Beijing Commune, ART HK 11 Galleries Section. Image by Art Radar Asia (CBKM).

It should be a good thing, I hope, but already… the fact that they have changed the date to early February is a big problem. Art Basel is a big event but in China there’s also a small event called Chinese New Year [laughs]….

F2 Gallery (Beijing) and Fabien Fryns Fine Art (Los Angeles)

We are curious about the change of date next year [2012], because Spring Festival [Chinese New Year] begins on 10 February. All Chinese people [participate in] Spring Festival. It will still be OK for us [gallerists] because we can start working on 10 February, but many mainland transportation workers, they can only go home once a year. So around that time it is very possible that there will be problems with transportation. I hope that they [Art Basel] will consider that, but we [also] understand that this exhibition center [Hong Kong Convention And Exhibition Centre] is almost fully booked.

Beijing Commune (Beijing)

Editor’s note: Due to protest from a number of galleries in attendance at ART HK 11, the organisers of the fair made the decision not to change the May date for 2012. Click here to read the official announcement made by ART HK.

Art world luminaries kick off ART HK 11 (From left to right): David LaChapelle (iconic artist), Alistair Hicks (Deutsche Bank Collection Curator), Richard Chang (Advisory Board Member), Magnus Renfrew (Fair Director, ART HK 11) and Tim Etchells (Chief Executive, Asian Art Fairs Ltd). Image courtesy ART HK.

Art world luminaries kick off ART HK 11 (From left to right): David LaChapelle (iconic artist), Alistair Hicks (Deutsche Bank Collection Curator), Richard Chang (Advisory Board Member), Magnus Renfrew (Fair Director, ART HK 11) and Tim Etchells (Chief Executive, Asian Art Fairs Ltd). Image courtesy ART HK.

We are hoping that it’s not going to monopolise the art management around the world, meaning all fairs will eventually look pretty much the same. We [also] hope that the Art Basel committee pushes for Asian galleries to come to the fair as much as the current committee does.

Galerie Bruno Bischofberger (Zurich)

Art Radar was in Hong Kong for ART HK 11 and reported directly from the event all week. Click here to browse through our original coverage of ART HK 11.

KN/HH

Related Topics: art fairs, Hong Kong art events, globalisation of art

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