AO Preview – Art Basel Hong Kong, May 15th – 18th, 2014

May 13th, 2014

A rendering for Carsten Nicolai's Alpha Pulse, via Wall Street Journal
A rendering for Carsten Nicolai’s Alpha Pulse, via Wall Street Journal

Coming hot off the heels of Frieze New York, Art Basel’s growing Hong Kong fair opens this week, shifting the art market’s attention halfway around the globe for the newest entry in the Basel fair franchise as it prepares for its second year.

Doug Aitken at Eva Presenhuber, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Doug Aitken at Eva Presenhuber, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Packed between New York’s fading clamor and the soon to open Art Basel flagship fair in Switzerland, the Hong Kong edition serves as a fitting tide over for avid collectors.  Even so, the potentially narrow time between fairs moving forward has prompted ABHK to move its scheduling to March, making this the last May event in the conceivable future.

Zao Wou-K at Applicat-Prazan via Art Basel Hong Kong
Zao Wou-K at Applicat-Prazan via Art Basel Hong Kong

The feel is decidedly Asian in Hong Kong this year, with over half of the 245 exhibiting galleries hailing from the continent.  Even so, the major international dealers like Acquavella or Gagosian haven’t shied away from this opportunity in the Asian marketplace, particularly with the support of the Basel brand behind it.  That being said, the same frenzy for new works seen at other fairs doesn’t seem to be as intense in Hong Kong, where buyers are much more likely to take their time and consider each purchase.

Sue Williams at 303, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Sue Williams at 303, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Hauser and Wirth will be on site, offering a selection of works from both blue-chip American and Asian artists.  A monumental wooden sculpture from Paul McCarthy’s White Snow series will be on sale, as will works by Subodh Gupta and Zhang Enli.  Also of note is David Zwirner’s booth of new works by Oscar Murillo, alongside works by Carol Bove and John McCracken.  On a local end, White Space Beijing will be showing one of He Xiangyu’s immediately recognizable sculptures resembling the unconscious or dead body of Ai Weiwei.  A number of other galleries are also focusing on Chinese and Asian artists particularly for the fair, like Marian Goodman’s exhibition of works by Yang Fudong.

He Xiangyu, The Death of Marat, via White Space
He Xiangyu, The Death of Marat, via White Space

The fair is also offering its trademark series of talks, projects and special sections during the fair this year, including a special film section, paying homage to the long history of the Hong Kong film industry, and which has drawn submissions and official selections from both Asia and the rest of the world.  Other notable draws include talks by Liu Kuo-sung, and a roundtable discussion on the growing impact of Biennials in the Asian region, led by organizers from the Gwangju, Sharjah and Sydney Biennials.

Roxy Paine at Kavi Gupta, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Roxy Paine at Kavi Gupta, via Art Basel Hong Kong

As has been the case with past fairs, the event will also be marked by a series of special events, art installations and projects.  Leading the way is Carsten Nicolai’s ambitious project Alpha Pulse, which will light up the full profile of the International Commerce Center in downtown Hong Kong.  Tracey Emin will also bring her light works to the public space, with a neon installation at the Peninsula Hotel.

The fair will opens its doors on May 15, and will run through the end of the weekend.

Haegue Yang at Kukje, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Haegue Yang at Kukje, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Mark Handforth at Franco Noero, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Mark Handforth at Franco Noero, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Paul McCarthy via Hauser and Wirth
Paul McCarthy via Hauser and Wirth

Richard Pettibone at Castelli, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Richard Pettibone at Castelli, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Makoto Taniguchi at NANZUKA, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Makoto Taniguchi at NANZUKA, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Yinka Shonibare at James Cohan, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Yinka Shonibare at James Cohan, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Yang Fudong at Marian Goodman, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Yang Fudong at Marian Goodman, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Jennifer Steinkamp at Lehmann Maupin, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Jennifer Steinkamp at Lehmann Maupin, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Wilfredo Lam at Galerie Gmurzynska, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Wilfredo Lam at Galerie Gmurzynska, via Art Basel Hong Kong

Georg Baselitz at Thaddeus Ropac, via Art Basel Hong Kong
Georg Baselitz at Thaddeus Ropac, via Art Basel Hong Kong

— D. Creahan

Read more:
“A Hong Kong Fair’s Emerging Identity” [WSJ]
Art Basel Lights Up Hong Kong [WSJ]
“Art Basel Hong Kong’s new film section”  [Art Newspaper]
“Art Basel Makes a Difference to Asia” [Japan Times]
Fair Site [Art Basel Hong Kong]