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Special Edition: Art Hong Kong
by ArtSlant Team



Jiang Pengyi, Luminant: BTV (A) Beijing, 2008, Light box, 180 x 240 cm (Edition of 3), 79 x 100 cm (Edition of 8), Archival inkjet print, 90 x 125 cm (Edition of 3); Image courtesy of the artist and Blindspot Gallery, Booth 1x11, ASIA ONE, Hall 1.

Hong Kong Goes Baselistic

by Sophia Powers

Can going global make a razzle-dazzle art fair more local? We are set to see with this year's upcoming Hong Kong Art Fair, kicking off May 17th. Just a little over a year ago, the MCH Group, the owners of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach, purchased a 60% stake in the company that runs the Hong Kong fair, giving them a formidable monopoly over the global art fair circuit.

Will this takeover lead to the McDonalds-ization of the circuit? Perhaps just the opposite. As Art Basel co-director Marc Spiegler put it: "We have no desire to do the same show three times a year. There will be certain qualities that are the same, but the shows will naturally reflect their environment. We don't want 'Groundhog Day.'" Of course, Spiegler's intentions make good business sense. Since much of the assumed audience of the fair will have been to one if not both of the other Basel extravaganzas, they won't want to circle the globe yet again for a repeat performance. Instead of the HK Art Fair striving to appear more global as it must have felt compelled to when it first got off the ground, the pressure now is to showcase something that can't be had anywhere else. As is often as of late, Asia is the answer.

What exactly can we expect to define this extra-"Oriental" approach?

...Click here to read more about ART HK and Asia with Sophia...

YU Youhan, A Pocket Western Art History about Mao - 'Foreign Mao', 1999, Acrylic on canvas, 72 x 127cm; Image courtesy of Shanghart Gallery, Booth 3A09.

See you in Hong Kong!

–the ArtSlant Team

FAIR WATCH - Hu Xiangqian

Hu Xiangqian, Xiangqian Art Museum (Beijing), 2010, Single-channel video, 14 min 31 sec; Courtesy of Long March Space, Booth 1A03.

Performance artist Hu Xiangqian, something of a legend in Chinese art circles, will perform for guests on a yacht trip during ART HK. His video works will also be on display with Long March Space. Robin Peckham spoke with this rising star of the Chinese contemporary art scene in this week's Rackroom interview:

RP: You’re coming to Hong Kong this month during the art fair to deliver a performance on an evening cruise organized by Long March Space. Can you describe the project?

HX: I wrote a song, and put it together with some Beijing musicians. It’s a complete song, the content of which is basically all kinds of curses, plus self-mockery...

FAIR WATCH - Zhang Dali

Zhang Dali, Man and Woman on Bikes, 2010.05.31, Photogram Mounted on Fine Linen, 230 x 300 cm; Courtesy Pékin Fine Arts, Booth 1E06.

Perhaps best known for spray painting and chiseling the shape of his own head in profile on walls throughout Beijing, Zhang Dali's current series of photograms and cyanotypes captures shadow images passing by. These works will be shown at Pékin Fine Arts at ART HK. For more on Zhang Dali, read Sophia Powers' 2009 interview with him, as well as Edward Sanderson's review of this latest series:
[Zhang says,] “The shadow is the soul impressed on the land, after a short time it disappears, and my photogram canvas tries to retain it.”...I read a heavy touch of nostalgia in these pieces. They are documents of the shadows left behind, but these cloths present images that say more about memory and wishful thinking than of preserving an accurate record...

TALK OF THE TOWN - What to See, Where to Be Seen Around Hong Kong

by Robin Peckham

For ART HK, Robin Peckham gives us the local run-down, neighborhood by neighborhood: where the art-loving visitor should eat, drink, and shop during off-time from the fair.

Nightlife in Hong Kong, Wan Chai. Photo by cav... Creative Commons License.

Wanchai, the neighborhood immediately surrounding the convention center in which the art fair is housed, is not normally a major gathering point for the art crowd. For a week in May, however, we learn to love it and make the trek several times daily from the fair through the parallel streets marked by aging stripped clubs (that’s a state of being, not becoming) and former naval watering holes to the few decent spots on the south side of the area abutting the mountain.

For lunch or dinner, the best choices are all delivered by restaurateur and arts patron Alan Lo, whose outlets the Classified Mozzarella Bar, The Pawn, and The Principal offer a selection of reasonable choices, arrayed here in ascending order according to the number of days ahead of time one might consider making a reservation. On the after-dinner walk of shame from one to the next, don’t miss the popular design stores and boutiques around the corner, particularly Kapok and Chen Mi Ji. There’s also the new bar Tai Lung Fung back in a much older neighborhood closer to the center of Causeway Bay; done up to look like a diner from the 1960s, it’s a bit rough around the edges and overly thematic, but the people-watching experience on the front porch is a pleasant one.

Of course, Wanchai is ground zero for Hong Kong karaoke, from the Cantonese chain Neway popular with local teenagers just across the street from the Foo Tak Building (365-367 Hennessy Rd.), the largest agglomeration of artist studios downtown, to MusicBox, a somewhat more refined experience. And if the evening doesn’t end until the sun comes up, stop in at Fu Sing around the corner for the absolute best char siu in town, as well as some of the most jaw-dropping dim sum...

Read more of Robin's great tips on Hong Kong here...

Thank you to ART HK and all of the galleries, organizations, institutions, curators and artists who bring us this Hong Kong extravaganza.

For more information on our Special Edition packages featuring ArtSlant Insiders and Watchlist for galleries, artists and art services, please contact

Posted by ArtSlant Team on 5/21/12

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