Wrapped up their fourth edition on March 26, 2016, Art Basel Hong Kong broke records by attracting over 70,000 visitors, the highest until date. 239 galleries from 35 countries across the globe came together for five days at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition centre to look for serious art buyers.
Among the visitors are directors, curators, trustees and patrons from over 100 leading international museums and institutions. Confirming Art Basel's standing as the leading international art fair in Asia, some galleries across all sectors reported strong sales throughout the week.
For example, David Zwirner reported a sold out booth that included a five Michaël Borremans paintings that went for as much as $1.6 million. Night Gallery sold out of all its paintings by Mira Dancy, while another Los Angeles gallery, David Kordansky, reported selling nearly all of its stock that included pieces by Jonas Wood and Rashid Johnson.
Participating galleries also spoke positively of their experience at this year's show in Hong Kong. "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," said Tina Keng, Executive Director, Tina Keng Gallery, Taipei, Beijing.
"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," said Patricia Crockett, Director, Sprüth Magers, Berlin, London, Los Angeles.
The Galleries sector, the main sector of the show, featured 187 modern and contemporary art galleries, presenting the highest quality of painting, sculpture, drawing, installation, photography, video and editioned works. The Insights sector, dedicated to curatorial projects by galleries with spaces in Asia and the Asia-Pacific region, featured 28 solo shows, exceptional historical material and strong thematic group exhibitions. This year's edition was a particularly strong presentation of modern work, with around half of the galleries presenting material from this period.
The Discoveries sector, presented its strongest showcase of emerging artists to date, with solo-and two-person exhibitions presented by 24 galleries. For this year’s edition, five of the galleries were completely new to the show.
Alexie Glass-Kantor, Executive Director of Artspace in Sydney, returned for a second time to curate Encounters. The selected artists and works demonstrated unprecedented ambition, with six of the art works premiering at the fair, while four were site-specific for Art Basel's show in Hong Kong.
The third edition of the Film sector expanded to show over 70 films. Beijing and Zurichbased multi-media artist and producer Li Zhenhua returned once again to curate the sector, which centered around six diverse themes. For the first time, the program also included five feature-length films, which were screened at the HKCEC. The Art Basel film program was attended by over 1,500 visitors.
Conversations and Salon, Art Basel's talks program, attracted over 2,000 visitors over four days and presented renowned cultural figures from Asia and across the international art world. This year's Premier Artist Talk featured Chinese American artist David Diao in conversation with Pauline J. Yao, Curator, M+, Hong Kong. Anne Pasternak, Defne Ayas, N'Goné Fall, and Thomas J. Berghuis joined a discussion titled "Building Platforms’", moderated by András Szántó, exploring the various ways in which independent institutions might flourish as contemporary platforms.
Art Basel also unveiled the new initiative: Art Basel Cities, announcing that Art Basel Cities will offer the art world new opportunities to discover and engage with cultural scenes across the world. As part of this initiative, Art Basel will work with selected partner cities to develop vibrant and content-driven programs specific to the city, connecting them to the global art world through Art Basel's network.
Photo courtsey: Art Basel