The Hong Kong art landscape has changed a lot in the six years that I’ve lived here. In fact, there wasn’t much of an art scene to speak of until the last several years really, and oft repeated was the lament that the city was a cultural desert. When asked, an art-loving Hong Konger most likely couldn’t name you a local artist, and for not a few art buyers art was merely something to fluff up an investment portfolio in a bullish market. But when things move they move quickly in this city.
From just a handful of local galleries on Hollywood Road, Hong Kong now boasts dozens of top international galleries, hosts the Art Basel HK fair, has growing creative industrial communities populated with artists, designers, architects and writers, and the work of its local artists is demanding the attention of collectors and galleries worldwide. Hong Kong is now the world’s third largest art-auction market after New York City and London, and has indisputably become an international art hub. So an initiative thought up by the Hong Kong Gallery Association to bring together this diverse and rapidly growing community and showcase a series of exhibitions and art events to a broader local audience over a week couldn’t have come at a better time.
The first ever Hong Kong Art Gallery Week, which kicked off last night, is a citywide event dedicated to exploring the gallery culture and art scene in Hong Kong with a programme that aims to open up the city’s art spaces and bring the culture of gallery hopping to the general Hong Kong public. Almost 50 galleries will present exhibitions in different parts of the city as well as taking part in two art walks– Art After Hours: Art Gallery Night on Friday 22 November, and Art Gallery Day on Saturday 23 November.
With over 75 exhibitions and art events packed into one week there’s a lot to see in just a week. Highlights include a breakfast with art market specialists at 10 Chancery Lane Gallery on 21 November; a visit to Fang Lijun‘s studio in Hong Kong; a festive Day of the Dead celebration with Mexican art, food and music at Puerta Roja Gallery; and a series of talks and lectures on contemporary art by Christie’s.
Check out some of my favourite exhibitions including: Yinka Shonibare‘s first ever Hong Kong solo show at Pearl Lam Galleries; a group show of contemporary Thai art at Sundaram Tagore Gallery; Korean artist Do Ho Suh at Lehmann Maupin; Marc Quinn at White Cube; Hong Kong artist João Vasco Paiva, who recently signed on with Edouard Malingue Gallery, will be showing at the gallery from 27 November; local artist Angela Su‘s haunting and macabre ink drawings at Gallery Exit; and non-profit art space Para/Site‘s exhibition of art from the ’60s from Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
For more information on events visit: www.hk-aga.org