Art Basel show Hong Kong attracted over 70,000 visitors, among them directors, curators, trustees and patrons from over 100 leading international museums and institutions. The show, which closed today, Saturday, March 26, 2016, featured a new floorplan, spotlighting strong performances by galleries from Asia and the West. Confirming Art Basel’s standing as the leading international art fair in Asia, galleries across all sectors reported strong sales throughout the week. Despite recent doubts surrounding the robustness of the international art market, Art Basel proved that there continues to be strong demand when high-quality work from premier galleries worldwide is presented to an audience of highly engaged collectors and museum directors. The continuing expansion and sophistication of the collector base from Asia’s many regions was widely noted by gallerists.
This year’s edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong, whose Lead Partner is UBS, offered its visitors 239 galleries with exhibition spaces in 35 countries and territories. Over half of the galleries have exhibition spaces in Asia and the Asia-Pacific, signifying Art Basel’s commitment to representing the continent at its Hong Kong show. Consolidating Insights, the sector dedicated to galleries and artists from across Asia, on the third floor and rearranging the distribution of smaller and larger galleries across both halls created a more balanced floorplan that ensured visitors navigated the show more extensively.
28 galleries exhibited at Art Basel in Hong Kong this year for the first time, including 18 leading Western galleries, alongside nine key Asian galleries and Selma Feriani Gallery from Tunisia. Art Basel’s show in Hong Kong is a unique presentation of the art scenes that are developing across Asia and the Asia-Pacific, showcasing their diversity and rapid development. In addition, the show presented more historical material of exceptional quality, as well as leading contemporary art by international artists. This year’s edition also saw the return of an ambitious Encounters sector comprising 16 large-scale installations, including six entirely new works and four site-specific works. The popular Film sector was doubled to include feature-length documentary and feature films.
The show was attended by over 70,000 visitors, a new record for Art Basel in Hong Kong. Gallerists reported meeting many new collectors from across Asia and the West, including representatives from museums who had visited the show for the first time. Directors, curators, trustees and patrons of leading museums and institutions came to the show including 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney; Art Gallery New South Wales, Sydney; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas; Fondation Beyeler, Basel; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London; Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul; Long Museum, Shanghai; Mori Art Museum, Tokyo; National Gallery Singapore, Singapore; Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; Royal Academy of Arts, Londo n; Solom on R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate, London; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing; and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.
Participating galleries spoke positively of their experience at this year’s show in Hong Kong:
‘This was certainly our most successful Hong Kong fair ever, with a super positive response from collectors all over the region, including Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul, and Taipei. We were fortunate to have Belgian artist Michaël Borremans join us in Hong Kong for the week, where he entrusted us with five new paintings for the fair, which were all sold within the first few hours.’
David Zwirner, Founder, David Zwirner, New York, London
‘This year’s show has been one of the best fairs in Pace’s 55-year history. The exhibition sold out and we placed a Rauschenberg masterpiece in a great Asian museum.’
Arne Glimcher, Founder, Pace, Beijing, Hong Kong, London, Menlo Park, New York
‘This year has been another incredible edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong. The show impresses every year, but this year in particular, we’ve consistently sold work by both our Asian and Western artists.’
Pearl Lam, Founder, Pearl Lam Galleries, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore
‘It’s particularly rewarding to see real engagement with the artists we have been showing here for a number of years. Our clients from Taiwan and Korea were all at the fair, and we’ve made some important new contacts with significant collectors and institutions from China and Malaysia.’
Polly Robinson Gaer, Executive Director, Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac, Paris, Pantin, Salzburg
‘We are thrilled about the fair this year as all the works on the booth have been sold. We brought younger artists like Peng Wei for the first time, which also received a great response. Apart from collectors from Mainland China, Europe and Taiwan, buyers from Philippines and Indonesia are particularly strong this year as well.’
Tina Keng, Executive Director, Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Beijing
‘This is only the second year we are exhibiting at Art Basel in Hong Kong and the response we have received this year has been beyond positive. We have met a number of Asian collectors, but also institutions and museums. The fair within itself is impressive, and we have noted how in just a year visitors are so much more informed.’
Regina Fiorito, Director, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne
‘With its attraction of the top international collectors, Art Basel in Hong Kong continues to be one of the most important fairs for us, and this year we were delighted to see new and familiar faces. We placed works, in prominent Chinese and Asian collections.’
Patricia Crockett, Director, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London, Los Angeles
‘We are very certain that Art Basel is the biggest platform for the primary art market in Asia and the show attracts the most exciting artists, collectors, and visitors every year.’
Emily Chao, Director, Eslite Gallery, Taipei
‘We have had a successful fair this year. We brought a solo presentation by Glenn Ligon, which for many in Asia has been the first opportunity to view the work and to understand its physicality. The booth has generated an extremely positive response and we have placed works in important collections in the region.’
Thomas Dane and Martine d’Anglejan-Chatillon, Partners, Thomas Dane Gallery, London
‘We are delighted that all of the works on the booth have gone to great collections within the first three days of the show. We also met a few good overseas institutions who are interested in our program at the gallery.’
Simon Wang, Director, Antenna Space, Shanghai
‘The fair has been great this year, with a wonderful buzz. We’ve spoken with returning clients who we first met years ago in Basel, as well as collectors from Shanghai, New York, Australia, and across Asia, from private collectors to institutions.’
Neil Dundas, Senior Curator, Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, Cape Town
‘We’ve sold works by both emerging artists of the gallery and historical material. We are excited to have forged so many new relationships with important collectors in this region and look forward to continuing to focus on developing our presence here.’
Trina Gordon, Director, Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
‘Art Basel’s reputation as the world’s greatest art fair and Hong Kong’s fast growing reputation as the cultural hub of the Asia-Pacific region gives Art Basel in Hong Kong the power and multi-faceted edge we look for on the circuit. It performs perfectly as an art fair, but also opens up a space between the art museum and the art market where galleries can present exhibitions and projects that are aimed at curators and exhibition-makers as well as collectors. Under the new directorship of Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Hong Kong show has lifted its game.’
John McCormack, Co-Director, Starkwhite, Auckland
‘We’ve had a really phenomenal response to Tiffany Chung’s work in our booth, with large crowds every day, including several international museum groups. The project’s Hong Kong focus has struck a particular chord with local audiences, and we are thrilled that the acquisition by M+ will allow the main installation to remain here.’
Tyler Rollins, Founder and Owner, Tyler Rollins Fine Art, New York