Though the Chinese contemporary category looks to be in a downturn, Evans sees potential in the Hong Kong market.

Art Radar‘s Founder and Executive Editor Kate Cary Evans recently spoke with ArtTactic about Sotheby’s autumn 2012 auction of Asian contemporary art. Evans also discussed a few recent developments in the Hong Kong art market and gallery scene and their implications.

Kate Cary Evans

Art Radar founder and Executive Editor Kate Cary Evans.

Kate Cary Evans spoke with ArtTactic’s Adam Green about the Sotheby’s auctions, particularly the notably unsuccessful Asian contemporary sale. Evans, who attended the auctions, found the atmosphere of the sale “shocking”. “I haven’t seen anything so bad since 2009,” she told ArtTactic.

Though she concedes that there were some successful and record-setting transactions, a large string of high-profile Chinese contemporary works from blue-chip artists failed to sell, putting the entire room on edge. When asked the reason why the sale did so poorly, Evans noted,

It wasn’t that there was a complete lack of bidders, … it’s just that they never reached the reserve. So I think it was just a price sensitive issue, they were overpriced.

The struggles in the Chinese contemporary segment were thrown into even starker relief when compared to the successful Modern and Contemporary Southeast Asian Art Action, in which work by Filipino artists sold particularly well. Even within the Asian contemporary category, the Chinese under-performance was offset by the relative success of Hong Kong artists, who had a few lots in the sale. As Evans explained,

There’s plenty of reason to expect success with the Hong Kong artists. For a start they were very low priced, as Hong Kong artists. And then, Uli Sigg …, having given away the great proportion of his Chinese contemporary art collection, was recently asked, “What are you collecting now?” It’s Hong Kong art. Hong Kong art is very much an up-and-coming category, I think.

Evans goes on to discuss developments in the gallery scene in Hong Kong. While many galleries are struggling, she discusses the branding advantage Western organisations have in breaking in to the Asian market, with many local collectors trusting foreign names over local institutions.

For more on these topics, listen to the full podcast over at ArtTactic. You can also read Kate Cary Evans’ three-part analysis of the Hong Kong gallery scene here on Art Radar.


Related Topics: market watch – auctions, art in Hong Kong, market watch – galleriesbranding in art, market watch – recession

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By Brittney

Brittney is a writer, curator and contemporary art gallerist. Born in Singapore and based in New York City, Brittney maintains a deep interest in the contemporary art landscape of Southeast Asia. This is combined with an equally strong interest in contemporary art from the Asian diasporas, alongside the issues of identity, transmigration and global relations.

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