Hong Kong Art Week/Month has heralded the return of visual culture to the Asia-Pacific market hub. It has been a long uphill struggle following the hiatus of COVID-19. But, finally, the buzz and parties were back in full swing, reminding us of happier times. Another monument this year was the chance to visit Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, which now boasts M+, a spectacular new gallery designed by Herzog & Meuron and the Hong Kong Palace museums.
Art Basel Hong Kong 2023
The 2023 edition of Art Basel Hong Kong opened with optimistic sales and relief at the return of pre-COVID attendance figures. In addition, the dealers noted enthusiastic international buyers for all mediums. Fortunately, news about Art Basel’s main sponsor, UBS’s takeover of Credit Suisse, was a footnote to the excitement of the Fair.
The Fair presented 177 galleries in 2023 – and saw the return of all sectors, including Encounters, Film, Kabinett, and Conversations. Forty-two galleries rejoined the fair, following a hiatus during the pandemic, while 22 galleries debuted at the Fair.
The Discoveries sector featured 24 booths of solo presentations providing a breather with several engaging single-artist shows.
Art Central, Hong Kong 2023
Art Central, Hong Kong’s most extensive collateral art fair, is core to Art Basel art week. The fair showcased interesting installations and hosted several galleries exhibiting top-quality Asian and Western art forms.
The fair closed on Saturday following its five-day showcase of over 400 artists from around the globe, presented by 70 galleries from Hong Kong, Asia and beyond. Robust sales were widely reported across the week.
Over 40,000 collectors and art-seeking visitors from Greater Asia, the Americas and Europe attended the Fair, reaffirming its role as a centrepiece of Hong Kong Art Week and a premier platform for contemporary art in Asia.
M+ – Palace Museum’s – Hong Kong Museum Of Art West Kowloon Cultural District
Greater Hong Kong boasts not one but a host of significant museums of interest. For example, the newly opened M+ is housed in an architectural gem designed by Herzog & Meuron, the Swiss architects known for their innovative Tate Modern building. In addition, the museum is currently showing the largest exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s work outside of Japan. It also houses the Sigg Collection of Contemporary Chinese paintings, which is well worth visiting.
The Palace Museum surveys Chinese art from the neolithic period to the present. It is displayed in a refreshing family-friendly way. The ceramics on show are world-class. Traditional scroll painting and calligraphy are highlighted along with contemporary art, something for everyone.
HKMoA is a well-designed building housing a permanent collection with the facilities to host travelling exhibitions. They currently have a major survey exhibition of the Catalonian painter Joan Miro.
Contemporary Art Galleries H Queen and Pedder Building
Hong Kong hosts several international Art Galleries, including leaders Hauser & Wirth (Rashid Johnson), Gagosian (Katharina Grosse) Pace, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Lehmann Maupin, White Cube (Tunji Adeniyi-Jones) and David Zwirner, to name a few.
Other Galleries of interest
Para Site Gallery was Founded in 1996 by local artists Patrick Lee, Leung Chi-Wo, Phoebe Man Ching-Ying, Sara Wong Chi-hang, Leung Mee-ping and Tsang Tak-ping. It is one of Hong Kong’s oldest independent artist-run institutions for visual arts. This edgy gallery presents exhibitions and educational programmes exploring local and international contemporary art and frequently collaborates with other art institutions, museums and schools. These projects include Para Site’s International Art Residency Programme and pioneering educational scheme for training young local art professionals and curators.
Tai Kwan Contemporary is a beautifully renovated space carved from a 19th-century prison and police station. The current exhibition Myth Makers, explores LGBTQ+ art with several installations of digital art, paintings and sculpture. The subject is brave for a public gallery and possibly the region’s first in-depth exhibition of this genre of work.
Street Art is also well represented by HK Walls, which commissions several new works annually. Best to walk around the Wan Chai area to see what’s on offer.