Opening its doors this past Wednesday at the Hong Kong Convention Center, the Art Basel fair franchise has once again left its mark on the Chinese metropolis, concluding the seventh edition with impressive results and a strong selection of works. As is usually the case for the fair, impressive sales figures and strong attendance was the norm, signaling the fair’s continued impact on the Asian art circuit, and the broader landscape of the contemporary art market.
At the David Zwirner booth, one of the most committed and long-running participants at the event had brought together impressive selection of works from across the gallery roster, including an impressive selection of polished steel sculptures by Carol Bove, alongside works by Oscar Murillo, Alice Neel, Sigmar Polke, and more. At Lehmann Maupin, the gallery was presenting a series of small-scale works by Do Ho Suh, collecting reproductions of various household objects as well as a large refrigerator work from his New York apartment. Also of note was artist Lee Bul’s gigantic 10-meter-long stylized replica of a Zeppelin floating aircraft, Willing To Be Vulnerable — Metalized Balloon, shown in collaboration with PKM Gallery and Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac at the fair’s popular Encounters section. Also of particular note was the dazzling installation by artist Lu Yang at Berlin’s Société, a series of paneled lights and brightly colored surfaces that present as an altar of sorts, a psychedelic installation that investigates collisions between spirituality, technology, and the languages of devotion that seem to pervade both. Also of note was artist David Hockney’s commanding portrait of Henry Geldzahler, which was on sale at Acquavella Gallery for $15 million.
Away from the bustling aisles of the fair, galleries across the city had also opened up a striking series of works, bringing a range of alternative perspectives to the presentations at the Convention Center. At Hauser & Wirth’s two-floor space, work from the final two decades of Louise Bourgeois’s life was on view, curated by her longtime assistant Jerry Gorovoy. The show is a fascinating and dedicated look at the artist’s life and work, showcasing her evolving language using figurative and surrealism in equal measure. Meanwhile, at David Zwirner’s exhibition space, the gallery had opened a show of paintings by German artist Neo Rauch, mining the artist’s impressive application of similar tenants through the painted canvas. Blending peculiar moments of bodily horror and a sense of historical mysticism, the works were a fascinating counterpoint to the gallery’s roving fair booth. Down at the city’s vast harbor, one could also view a floating version of KAWS’s Companion, although the work was soon pulled from exhibition thanks to inclement weather.
All told, the fair’s early days underscores the vibrant interest of the region towards the contemporary art market, and Hong Kong’s central role in the ever-growing impact of the Chinese and broader Asian markets on the field at large.
The fair closes Sunday, March 31st.
— D. Creahan
Art Basel Fair Recap [Art Basel]
Acquavella to Present $15 M. David Hockney Portrait of Henry Geldzahler at Art Basel Hong Kong [Art News]
Beyond Art Basel: exhibitions to see elsewhere in Hong Kong [FT]