Number three in an occasional series highlighting the best of Australian art writing…
“Hong Kong is ideally located to take advantage of an Eastern economic boom that keeps defying Western prophets of doom. Although it may sound scarcely believable, that defiant attitude is shared by leading Western art dealers who have begun opening gigantic new spaces in a city long known as a cultural backwater.
“Those bad old days when Hong Kong was all business and no art have been swept away by the realisation that art can be very big business in its own right. The crucial catalyst has been the Hong Kong International Art Fair (ART HK), which has grown exponentially in popularity and turnover since its inception in 2008. At the age of five, it may be said that ART HK is no longer an emerging fair – it is a fully mature operation that ranks alongside Basel and Miami as one of the world’s leading showcases for the commercial art trade.
Featuring 266 galleries from 38 countries, ART HK is now almost the same size as its peers in Europe and the US.
“The final list was chosen from more than 700 applications, using a selection process that required applicants to show flair and innovation. This produced a show of exceptional quality and consistency. In Asia, ART HK reigns supreme, with fairs in Singapore, mainland China and Korea offering scant competition.
The mushrooming gallery scene is all the proof that is required. Last year, Gagosian and Ben Brown opened new premises in the Pedder Building, and have now been joined by Pearl Lam and Simon Lee.
“John McDonald travelled to Hong Kong as a guest of ART HK.”
John McDonald, The Big Picture, The Sydney Morning Herald.