Evan’s corner: Hong Kong Art Fair 2017

Written by: Evan Lowenstein
Photos by: Evan Lowenstein
After not attending for two years it was a great pleasure to be able to travel to the Art Basel Hong Kong Art Fair that covered a whole week of events from the 21 to 25 March 2017 at the Hong Kong Exhibition Centre.
An interesting aspect to this year’s experience was that there was an equally successful satellite fair, Art Central, which was set up between the Exhibition Centre and the ferry terminals.
Both fairs were great fun with hundreds of major galleries showing their finest art in booth-like settings.
It was exhausting but a rare privilege to see so many great art works that were accessible to members of the public.
At Art Basel, major international galleries, such as Gagosian, Marlborough, Waddington, David Zwirmer and Acquavella were located right next to some smaller but nevertheless impressive galleries from such far flung countries such as Turkey, India and Denmark, to name but a few.
Australia was, as usual, well represented by galleries such as Sullivan + Strumpf, Tolarno, Roslyn Oxley9, Dianne Tanzer, Darren Knight and Murray White Rooms
It was also great to see a number of Australian artists showing with overseas galleries such as Aida Tomescu, showing with Jensen Gallery from New Zealand.
According to anecdotal evidence and art fair gossip, it was quite a successful fair from a financial point of view.
According to reports, despite the paucity of the usual big spending US collectors, it was the Asian art buying market who dominated the sales of mid-tier works.
Over at Art Central, the vibe was decidedly less blue chip and more focused on the younger art buying public, who also flocked there to enjoy the relaxed format of live music, food trucks and moderately priced artwork.
At the same time as the launch of Art Basel, there was a report issued by UBS on the global art market. Amongst its many findings buried amidst pages of statistics and graphs, one point stood out to me the most: that all the art fairs generated USD13.3 billion in sales in 2016, an extraordinary figure and one that points the way to the future of the art world.