Hong Kong's Art Scene Sprouts More Buds

A Ming dynasty porcelain vase sold for HK$167.8 million ($21.6 million) including buyer's premium, at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong.
A Ming dynasty porcelain vase sold for HK$167.8 million ($21.6 million) including buyer's premium, at a Sotheby's auction in Hong Kong.
(Sotheby's)

Beijing and Shanghai have long had significant art scenes, and been home to a number of notable artists, such as Beijing’s high-profile Ai Weiwei (who recently sold his “Sunflower Seeds 2010” to the Tate Modern for an undisclosed amount). 

Yet, it is Hong Kong that has fast become a contender in the art world; known for its trade and finance the city is poised to become Asia’s art capital. 

Beginning in 2007, the former British territory has held the position of world's third largest art auction market, after New York and London. As of 2008, Hong Kong has hosted a successful contemporary art fair; the inaugural edition drew 19,000 visitors, and representatives from 100 galleries, numbers that have more than doubled.

Hong Kong's artist community, however, is still small and the expense of living in the city means that artists must often work day jobs to support themselves.  Finding open studio space is also tricky.

Also lacking was a significant museum, but now plans are underway for a contemporary art museum, which would open to the public in 2018.  An international competition for the building design will be held this year and plans include 20,000 square meters of exhibition space.  The ambitious project aims to rival with New York’s Museum of Modern Art and London’s Tate Modern.

On an earnings conference call Feb. 29, Sotheby's CEO William Ruprecht and CFO William Sheridan said China was an "underpenetrated" market. With consolidated sales of $1 billion, the company plans to open new premises in Hong Kong which will have competition in strong mainland auction houses such as Beijing Poly International and China Guardian Auctions.

Hong Kong has already attracted a number of well-known art galleries, including London's White Cube, which accommodates the area's newly wealthy collectors. Graham Steele, the gallery's Asia director, said to the BBC, “The energy of the city is very seductive for dealers and artists. It's a scene that's about to blossom and in a really great way."

Whether the nascent gallery scene expands will depend on whether China can continually produce the buyers and sustain its economic upward trajectory. MarketWatch points out that, according to the World Bank, almost all of China’s growth since 2008 has come from “government influenced expenditure”.

(Report: Christine Bolli for ARTFIXdaily)

More News Feed Headlines

Yamashite Chair, part of National Portrait Gallery's 'Black Out: Silhouettes Then and Now' exhibition.

ARTFIXdaily Closed April 23 to 26

  • April 22, 2018 23:39

ARTFIXdaily will be closed from April 23 to 26. E-newsletter service will resume on April 27. ...

Read More

Antonio Banderas plays Pablo Picasso in NatGeo's "Genius: Picasso" anthology series.

Antonio Banderas Portrays Picasso in 'Genius' Series

  • April 19, 2018 23:05

Actor Antonio Banderas, a native of Spain, seems to be perfectly cast as Pablo Picasso in ...

Read More

Dorothea Tanning (1910-2012), The Temptation of St.  Anthony, painted in 1945-1946.  Oil on canvas in the artist's painted frame.  47⅞ x 35⅞ in (121.4 x 91.2 cm).  Estimate: $400,000-600,000.  This work is offered in the Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale on 16 May at Christie’s in New York

Artwork from La Salle University Collection Hits the Auction Block

  • April 18, 2018 13:00

Philadelphia's La Salle University is unloading a trove of 46 American and European artworks from ...

Read More

THOMAS WILMER DEWING, The White Dress.  Oil on canvas.

Judge Rules for Berkshire Museum Sales of Norman Rockwell, Other Artworks

  • April 06, 2018 14:33

A Massachusetts judge on Thursday gave the final approval for Berkshire Museum's controversial ...

Read More

Related Press Releases

Related Events from ArtfixDaily Calendar

 

ArtfixDaily Artwire