Hong Kong Goes Art – A Guide Through HK’s Art Week
The month of March in Hong Kong means it's time to explore all things arty! Let us guide you through the events of this year's unofficial 'art week'.
Hong Kong’s Art week is just around the corner – or, as Adeline Ooi, the eloquent director of Art Basel Hong Kong aptly put it, our very own “Christmas in Spring“. At least for art connoisseurs that is. Flamboyant collectors from all over the world fly in and make our city a more sophisticated one. And even if you don’t have the funds to buy that Basquiat painting for your bedroom – this week is an excellent occasion to explore public art that has sprung up like mushrooms all over Hong Kong with the family. Right on the harbour front, in luxury malls, hotels, MTR stations, office towers and the Marine Museum. We love these unusual artsy vibes all around the city. Just prepare yourself for a visual overload – and wear comfy shoes!
Art Basel Hong Kong
Let’s be honest: Hong Kong’s art scene wouldn’t be what it is now if the Swiss hadn’t taken over the previous fair Art Hong Kong. Under the brand name ‘Art Basel Hong Kong’ it not only became Asia’s biggest and most influential art fair – it’s still growing every year! The sixth edition 2018 will be joined by 248 (!) leading galleries from 32 countries – presenting stunning work ranging from Modern masterpieces of the early 20th century to contemporary installations and concept art. It’s always divided into five sectors: with ‘Galleries’ being the sector where the most established galleries showcase works by the most famous artists. ‘Discoveries’ focuses on shows by emerging artists. ‘Kabinett’ is dedicated to curated exhibitions within gallery booths. ‘Insights’ will present important artists from Asia and the APAC region, while ‘Encounters’ is always the most popular amongst Instagrammers for its extra-large, sculptural installations. Speaking of superlatives: the heaviest sculpture ever shown in Hong Kong will be a piece by Jeff Koons at the David Zwirner booth.
When: 27-31 March 2017
Where: Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Wan Chai
Tickets: Day tickets starting from $250 in advance via HKTicketing or available at the door (starting from $300) – premier pass for three days only in advance: 2280 HKD
Two years younger, this satellite fair placed in white tents on the harbour front, is something like the cool little sister of the top dog. It aims to attract a hip, interested crowd – not only experienced art collectors – and thus showcases mostly younger artists. Over 75% of the 102 participating galleries this year hail from the Asia-Pacific region – amongst them some a few influential dealers from Hong Kong, such as Puerta Roja, Whitestone Gallery and Park View Art.
But Art Central wants to be more than just a large trade fair. The almost one-week-long event encompasses different cultural experiences – daily live performances, talks, workshops – plus an amazing cuisine: Michelin-starred chef Phillipe Orrico will once again headline the gastronomical lineup in his French pop-up bistro Le Marche. And at the open-air pavilion ‘The Terrace’ exhausted art lovers can refuel with innovative creations by Beef & Liberty, Bread & Beast, Limewood, Cô Thành, Chef Tiff’s Kitchen, Fat Legs, L’Ami Cafe and Little Birdy.
When: 26 March (VIP opening) – 1 April 2017
Where: Central Harbourfront
Tickets: From $230, Ticketflap
NEW FOR 2018! Thursday Late @ Art Central
Enjoy a late night of art on Thursday 29 March and purchase entry to the Fair from 5pm -9pm at the special price of two tickets for $300HKD!
Art Gallery Night (I) at H Queens
The opulent 24-storey building on 80 Queens Road is the coolest new kid on the block! It’s the brainchild of architect William Lim, who is an artist and art collector himself and saw a growing demand for art spaces big enough to host larger installations. So he specifically designed this skyscraper with high ceilings and a crane outside to hoist heavy, bulky artworks – not to forget some interesting restaurants to please the in-crowds later on. While the restaurants are not open yet, most galleries have already celebrated their first vernissages (David Zwirner, Ora Ora, Tang Contemporary Art, Whitestone) with overwhelmingly positive response. Three more inaugurate their new spaces right before Art Basel: Swiss powerhouse Hauser & Wirth launches its first space in Asia with a new solo-show of Mark Bradford, one of the most prominent contemporary artists worldwide. Hong Kong’s grand lady Pearl Lam will open her third art space in the city with technical sculptures by Italian artist Arcangelo Sassolino that push past their physical limitations. And Pace Gallery will inaugurate its second gallery on Queens Road with ceramic sculptures and paintings by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara.
Last but not least: David Zwirner, supposedly the most important art dealer in the world, is to present his second show – new work by a fellow German, star photographer Wolfgang Tillmans.
When: Art Gallery Night, 26th of March, 6.00 – 8.00 pm
Where: H Queens, 80 Queens Road
Art gallery Night (II) @ Pedder Building
Art gallery night wouldn’t be complete without stopping by at the colonial mansion on Pedder Street – which has always been the ‘place to be’ on the evening before Art Basel’s VIP opening. Come and check out what the Blue Chip Galleries at Pedder have come up with to lure the crowds away from H Queens: Gagosian will present Jennifer Guidi’s soothing mandala-like compositions – six of them are triangular. Simon Lee brings works by multi-disciplinary Jim Shaw, also from Los Angeles, reflecting social issues and pop culture. Massimo de Carlo will present another great Californian, Doug Aitken – known for his monumental billboards and fine video installations. And Lehmann Maupin will host the duo “Osgemeos” (Portuguese for twins), identical twin brothers Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo from Sao Paulo, who will show their dynamic universe – contemporary Brazilian culture mixed with hip hop, street culture and folkloric elements. More info about all participating galleries citywide on: www.hk-aga.org
When: Art Gallery Night, 26 March, 6.00 – 8.00 pm.
Sprueth Magers & Skarstedt x George Condo @ Maritime Museum
Two big international galleries who don’t have showrooms in the city yet, join forces in order to stage new works by their acclaimed artist, American George Condo at the Maritime Museum. Given Condo’s eminent status in the art world, the vibrant cultural institution on the harbour seems quite appropriate. Some of his contemporary cubist paintings were specially created for the site.
When: From March 27 – April 6, 2018. Monday to Friday: 09:30 – 17:30,
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holidays: 10:00 – 19:00
Where: Hong Kong Maritime Museum, Central Pier No. 8
For more information: Event Website
Harbour Arts Sculpture Park @ Tamar
A pumpkin, a horse, spiritual Chinese charms… – 19 completely different colourful sculptures have landed a few weeks ago on the harbour front around Tamar Park. It’s the city’s first international sculpture park, curated by artistic director of the Royal Academy of Arts, Tim Marlow and Fumio Nanjo, director of the Mori Art Museum.
The result is a collection of notable works by world famous artists like Tracey Emin, Jenny Holzer or Yayoi Kusama – as well as younger locals like Morgan Wong or Matthew Tsang Man Fu. Some works come alive especially in the evenings, for example “Memories from the Tower of Light“ by Wong Chi-yung, located at The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. It’s a very interactive event, accompanied by guided tours and a photo competition. Make sure to download the app!
When: Until 11 April – FREE!
For more information: www.harbourarts.hk
A beast, a god, and a line @ Para Site
Cosmin Costinas, Para Site’s director, has curated a massive travelling exhibition on the consequences of European colonisation across the Asia Pacific and on different ideas that circulate around that geographical area ever since. Typical for this non-profit art space, it’s a thought-provoking, multi-disciplinary show, including artists of various historical and cultural backgrounds. Stunningly vibrant and beautiful!
When: 17 March – 20 May
Where: 22F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Road, Quarry Bay
For more information: Event Website
Art Workshops for Kids
Creative children can channel their inner artists at different venues during HK art week. UBS, the lead partner of Art Basel, will return on the public concourse at the Exhibition Centre throughout Art Basel HK with its “UBS Junior Art Hub” – inviting the next generation of artists to create their own masterpieces. They can make woven 3D textile structures, paper art, spin paintings and more in a kid-friendly space.
Art Central also offers a number of workshops for school students.
Street art in Quarry Bay by Swire Properties
British street artist Remi Rough will inject more beauty and energy into the Taikoo Place exit tunnel from Quarry Bay MTR station with a site specific new mural. His geometric graffiti called ‚Morning Dynamics’ will surely make everyday commute for all Hongkongers more fun.
When: 22 March 2018
But that’s not the only live event commissioned by Swire Properties and architecture -design practice Aedas in Quarry Bay: They will also bring three British street artists together, Phil Ashcroft, Graeme Brusby and Duncan Jago, for an art happening called ‚Live Urban Arts’, in which they work parallel on three blank canvas mural walls. (Each mural wall is made of 50 smaller canvases which will later be sold individually to raise money for the Hong Kong Youth Arts Foundation.)
Jim Lambie’s Spiral Scratch @ Pacific Place
Scottish Pop artist and 2005 Turner Prize nominee Jim Lambie will transform the Garden Court atrium @ Pacific Place into a kaleidoscopic experience. His site-specific work juxtaposes an intricate, rhythmic floor pattern with a collection of 15 ladders painted in vivid hues.
When: 19 March – 8 April 2018
Where: Garden Court, LG1, Pacific Place
Love Long: Robert Indiana @ Asia Society
Asia Society’s stunning premises are a bit off the beaten track – but this exhibition with works by American pop artist Robert Indiana definitely deserves public attention. Works by contemporary Asian artists like Hung Keung, Charwei Tsai and Chim-Pom are placed next to Indiana’s colourful verbal art works. In honour of Indiana’s hippie spirit, they even called their big Art Week party “Eat, peace, love” (31 March, see website for event details).
When: until July 15.
Where: 9 Justice Drive, Admirality
For more information: Event Website
South Island Art Day
With many international and local galleries residing, the Wong Chuk Hang area has deservedly become Hong Kong’s first real art district. Explore the adjacent galleries and studios at one go during their joint South Island Art Day on the 29th. Guests can expect exhibitions and performances in 16 galleries, outdoor installations, even free food and drinks. Some local artists will also open their studios. And American street artist JonOne will celebrate his new solo show at Art Statements gallery with a life performance.
When: 29 March 2018, all day long
More info on: Event Website
HK Walls Street Art Festival
This year’s edition of the Street Art Festival HK Walls will be happening from March 24 – April 1 with famous street artists getting creative all over Central, Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun.
When: Until 1 April, Central, Sheung Wan & Sai Ying Pun area
For more info: Event Website
I Was Not Invited by Leila Hekmat @ DUDDELL’S
‘I Was Not Invited’ by Leila Hekmat is a site-specific musical performance, which tells the story of the two characters: a singer and pianist. With a song cycle inspired by Franz Schubert’s ‘Winterreisse’, Barthe’s ‘A Lover’s Discourse’, the poems of Mallarme and Baroque costumes, this performance is going to be special. The exhibition with Hekmat’s costumes and photographs will be on display until 28 June 2018.
When: Opening performance 29 March, 10.00 pm, after party from 11.00 pm, RSVP essential.
Where: Art-Restaurant Duddell’s
For more info: Duddell’s Website
Art in Hotels
Kicking off Hong Kong art week, the Asia Contemporary Art Show is in its 12th edition and will continue the tradition of presenting the work of up and coming and mid-career contemporary artists in spacious guest rooms.
When: 23-26 March 2018
Where: Conrad Hong Kong, 40-43 floors
Tickets: $250, Event Website
A relatively new addition is the Harbour Art Fair at Marco Polo Hotel – the first fair on the Kowloon peninsula. More than one hundred art pieces from over 50 young Korean galleries will be showcased.
When: March 23 – 26
Where: 7/F, Marco Polo Hong Kong Hotel, 3 Canton Road, Harbour City, Tsim Sha Tsui
Tickets: $100, Event Website
Mastercrafts from Persia @ Liang Yi Museum
Hong Kong’s largest private museum Liang Yi Museum is a hidden gem on Hollywood Road. Their new exhibition The Blue Road: Mastercrafts from Persia, is dedicated to the colour blue in Persian culture and its impact on other artistic traditions in Asia and beyond. 94 exhibits ranging from pottery, tilework, manuscript painting and glasswork will be featured.
When: 20 March – 24 June 2018, by appointment only.
Where: 181 -199 Hollywood Road, www.liangyimuseum.com
Samson Young: Songs for Disaster Relief World Tour
The Hong Kong edition of the exhibition Songs for Disaster Relief will feature a series of sculptures, objects, videos, sound installations and site-specific pieces to offer a unique audiovisual experience that re-examines the popularity of charity singles from the 1980s.
When: 9 February – 6 May 2018
Where: M+ Pavillion, West Kowloon
For more information: Event Website