ART BASEL IN HONG KONG, HONG KONG CONVENTION & EXHIBITION CENTRE; MARCH 13-17
Art Week came upon us earlier than usual this year, as Art Basel in Hong Kong mounted its first March show on Friday the 13th, having moved the fair forward from its original May dates. But while this particular day may have been traditionally branded as unlucky, both the fair organisers and gallerists would argue that the opening-evening private view was anything but. Art lovers and collectors wandered the booths at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre marvelling over pieces that had been shipped from all corners of the world, and even pulling out wallets on more than a few occasions.
Art patron Adrian Cheng was described as having gone on a “shopping spree”, while the folks at David Zwirner fretted over the happy problem of having sold too many of their key pieces on the first night (including a magnificent Chris Ofili and a large-scale Neo Rauch that went “in the final minute” of that first evening).
The large-scale installations curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor were a hit with the general public, whether it was the gigantic Xu Longsen ink painting that reached the lofty ceiling of the convention centre, Siobhan Hapaska’s vibrating tree sculpture, or Yang Maoyuan’s mutant horse, which, along with Myeongbeom Kim’s deer piece, were the most Instagrammed works at the fair. Cao Fei shared a video which played inside a tent, and also programmed a light show inspired by ’80s video games that played hourly on the ICC building across the harbour (shame about that fog, though).
Over in the Swire hub, in an arching, free-standing installationcum-lounge titled Ephemera, Susan Sarandon addressed a crowd packed shoulder-to-shoulder that included fashion designer Vivienne Tam and artist Isaac Julien. In fact, quite a number of stars, both local and international, were spotted eyeing works of art, from Hong Kong actor Louis Koo to burlesque sensation Dita Von Teese (who performed at fair partner Davidoff’s Friday-night soirée in the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong) to Robin Thicke, squeezing in some post-amfAR cultural sightseeing before a private dinner with Prestige Hong Kong. In a weekend filled with Hollywood star wattage, it was nice to see that the art still took centre stage.