Bringing you daily news bytes from Art Basel Hong Kong 2015.

As the art world converges on Hong Kong for the third Asian edition of Art Basel, Art Radar picks out the best of the international press coverage for you every day. Catch up on key debates, trends and controversies right here.

General impression, Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015.  Photo by Jessica Hromas. Image courtesy Art Basel.

General impression, Art Basel in Hong Kong 2015. Photo by Jessica Hromas. Image courtesy Art Basel.


Art Basel Hong Kong: the reviews are in – The New York Times – 18 March 2015

  • around 60,000 people attended – slightly less than last year because the fair was open for one day less
  • more action, more interaction, more local and regional collectors
  • Asian buyers take longer to snap up works compared to Western counterparts
  • especially strong showing of mainland Chinese collectors


Hong Kong audience decides art world is not a boys’ club – ArtNews – 16 March 2015

  • annual Intelligence Squared debate at Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre takes on gender
  • Gregor Muir and Frances Morris argue for the motion (the art world is a boys’ club); Charles Guarino and Elaine Kwok argue against; Alexandra Munroe moderates
  • art world is “a bastion of male privilege and prejudice” – Gregor Muir, based on top-selling artists and prices
  • Kwok argues that Muir’s statistics may not be relevant to the motion – art industry not dominated by men; 60 percent of employees at Christie’s are women
  • Frances Morris: women well represented at art schools, but statistics drop considerably when it comes to gallery representation; “the boys’ club is still there, it is still entrenched”
  • Guarino brings spotlight to art publishing – overwhelmingly female-dominated; art dealers – “the true visionaries […] the most seminal gallerists in the world were women”; curators and museum directors


Art Basel Hong Kong sees strong sales out of the gateArtINFO – 16 March 2015

  • “strongest collection of Western galleries we’ve had” – Marc Spiegler
  • Large paintings most popular with buyers; Gutai, photography also sell
  • other Asian artists that sold well include Trevor Yeung, Wang Zhan, Yu Hong, Handiwirman Saputra, GAMA, Faig Ahmed
  • “art in Asia is no longer a niche interest” – Adeline Ooi


What sold at Art Basel in Hong Kong and for how much? Sales report – Artnet News – 16 March 2015

  • David Zwirner Gallery sold Chris Ofili’s Dead Monkey – Sex, Money and Drugs (2000) for USD 2 million immediately after the fair opened at 6pm on 13 March, and Neo Rauch’s Marina (2014) to a Shanghai collector for USD 1 million
  • Hauser & Wirth sold works by Zhang Enli (USD250,000-350,000), Jakub Julian Ziolkowski (USD30,000-165,000), and Rita Ackermann (USD75,000 each) within the first two hours of the fair
  • De Sarthe Gallery sold five paintings by modern Chinese masters who lived in France for undisclosed prices within the first three hours of the fair
  • fair’s March dates bring more visitors and new collectors; galleries report a wider diversity of clients
  • VIP outreach programme has been greatly expanded
  • other important sales include Sean Scully (ShanghART), George Condo (Skarstedt Gallery), Nam June Paik and Chung Sang Hwa (Hakgojae Gallery), Atsuko Tanaka (Hauser & Wirth)
  • contemporary Chinese art sold quickly; emerging local artists make an impression


Pharrell and fast sales as Art Basel Hong Kong continues – Artnews – 16 March 2015

  • Two paintings by Neo Rauch sell for USD 1 million each (Zwirner); Yu Hong work for USD 207,000 (Long March Space)
  • this year, the pace of business at the fair is much faster; brisk sales in opening hours
  • collectors feel pressure to buy works quickly
  • dealers eschew flashy “art fair art” for subtler pieces this year
  • Art Central complements Art Basel with more affordable art


Australian galleries killing it at Art Basel HK – Visual Arts Hub – 15 March 2015

  • strong gathering of Australian collectors, curators and art community in Hong Kong
  • 8 Australian galleries present at the fair
  • Sydney-based Alexie Glass-Kantor curates Encounters sector; Art Central also has Australian connection in Tim Etchells and Maree di Pasquale
  • Sam Jinks’ sculptures exceptionally popular. Hiromi Tango, Bill Henson, Daniel Boyd, Alex Seton also do well
  • Charles Mereweather, Aaron Seeto, Thomas J. Berghuis, and John Batten on various panels


Three emerging artists shortlisted for BMW Art JourneyArtINFO – 15 March 2015

  • Mika Tajima, Trevor Yeung, and Samson Young shortlisted for the BMW Art Journey project
  • the gives emerging artists the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world to create or showcase their art
  • artists will develop their proposals by the end of April and the winner will be announced in the summer


Big fairs like Art Basel Hong Kong are great for business but bad for art – Quartz – 15 March 2015

  • not much room for contemplation; art fairs are often frustrating for collectors
  • gallery owners more concerned with recouping booth costs than offering a meaningful experience
  • artists under pressure to produce art that will sell rather than art they want to make
  • art fairs moving art away from the public eye: the top 1% invest in art to store their cash; expensive art fair tickets make them inaccessible to many
  • “[…] the original intentions of the artist can be obscured by market values” – Lars Nittve, Director of M+


Seeking out Southeast Asia – The Art Newspaper – 15 March 2015

  • despite some Southeast Asian galleries skipping the fair this year, good presence from the region; diversity of ASEAN countries represented by 22 galleries
  • institutions from the West looking towards the region, including Guggenheim and Tate
  • Indonesian artists among the best known; ARNDT sold Eko Nugroho’s Lot Lost (2015) to an Australian museum for USD 330,000 and Gajah Gallery sold 3 sculptures by Yunizar for USD 62,000 each
  • “We saw extraordinary growth in this market four to five years ago, then it slowed a bit, but prices are still very reasonable” – Jasdeep Sandhu of Gajah Gallery.


Art and politics collide on fringes of Hong Kong art fair – Reuters – 13 March 2015

  • artists are keeping the pro-democracy movement that took over Hong Kong three months ago alive
  • Kacey Wong and Phoebe Man among artists taking on the theme, which also has a presence at new satellite fair Art Central
  • artists express concern about the narrowing of artistic freedom in Hong Kong


Hong Kong artists break loose from confines of market forces amid Art Basel – South China Morning Post – 12 March 2015

  • “Hong Kong artists are striving to counter the commercial force of the established Swiss-based show by offering their own narratives outside of the fair grounds”
  • local artists concerned that commercial considerations could curb creativity
  • Fotanian Open Studios this Sunday encourages visitors to browse more than 70 artist studios; “grassroots art festival” Chan Wan Mei also this weekend to “provide an artistic experience outside the market context”
  • art fairs provide exposure; part of art ecology – Kacey Wong


Asia gears up for Art Basel Hong KongThe New York Times – 12 March 2015

  • article focuses on the March dates of the fair
  • 29 new galleries to exhibit, more Western art players
  • fair clashes with a dozen others, including Art Dubai, but benefits from not being as close to the Venice Biennale, Frieze New York and Art Basel’s Swiss edition in June


Artnet’s claims of controversy between Art Basel and Artsy not accurate: Marc Spiegler – Observer – 12 March 2015

  • Spiegler says Art Basel did not send a letter to Artsy, as was misreported on Artnet (later edited)
  • says Art Basel did not “rebuke” Artsy for “deceptive […] practices”, nor was it a “conflict” but simply a matter “requiring clarification”
  • Artnet is Artsy’s biggest competitor
  • Artnet stands by its story


Art Basel rebukes Artsy for false and misleading practices involving galleries – artnet News – 9 March 2015

  • controversy surrounding leading online resource for art collecting over unauthorised co-branding
  • Art Basel “rebuked” Artsy for “deceptive and misleading business practices” and sent a letter to all Art Basel participant galleries to clarify misconceptions about a partnership with Artsy or any other art sales website
  • misconception arose due to a recent article in Fortune magazine that incorrectly stated that Art Basel pays Artsy “to produce fair-specific micro-sites”
  • concerns about Artsy’s business model have been raised by several New York galleries regarding the website’s pricing system


Adeline Ooi on art market trends and Art Basel in Hong KongArtINFO – 9 March 2015

  • interview with Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Asia Director who is leading the fair’s Hong Kong edition talks about “putting regional art into context”
  • increase in cross-regional collecting, opening of collecting habits
  • Art Basel Hong Kong’s March move has allowed leading galleries from the United States and Europe to show at the fair this year


The brands in Art Basel’s orbit – The New York Times – 7 March 2015

  • Art fair for the wealthy; Art Basel Hong Kong overrun by luxury brands including Davidoff, BMW, NetJets and Ruinart
  • some brands collaborate with artists while others represented in the Collectors Lounge meant for companies to market their products
  • Art Basel only allows companies with a “day to day engagement with the arts”. But for some of them, art is merely a “part of corporate social responsibility”
  • “Brands pay more to take part in the fair than galleries” – Marc Spiegler, director of Art Basel
  • Artists benefit from brand sponsors, especially for exposure


Sneak peek: Southeast Asia thinner on the ground at Art Basel Hong KongArtINFO – 6 March 2015

  • 3 galleries from Singapore will not return, exhibiting instead at Art Paris Art Fair
  • several Indonesian galleries to skip the fair this year as well
  • “works on offer will typically be by artists well known to fair goers”
  • renowned Thai artist Pinaree Sanpitak’s work debuts in Hong Kong courtesy of Yavuz Fine Art
  • other prominent Southeast Asian galleries include Gajah Gallery, ARNDT and Tyler Rollins Fine Art

Kriti Bajaj


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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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