In the month of May, it would be hard to imagine the word “art” missing in discussions and chit chats among city dwellers in Hong Kong as one of the world’s biggest art shows, Art Basel, is returning for its second year.
Not only does Art Basel bring all the arty people into town such as participating galleries, artists, collectors and curators, but also it has created a chain reaction to other organizations and units trying to establish a presence of art around the time of the Art Basel show dated May 15 to 18 (and Preview on May 14).
Here are some brief words about the happenings in Hong Kong’s art scene that come along with Art Basel:
Numerous exhibition openings
The gallery-packed Pedder Building in Central and its area around is getting crowded than any other time of the year, because many galleries participating in Art Basel are also exhibiting at their own galleries simultaneously to draw bigger public attention. Lehmann Maupin Gallery is presenting Hernan Bas’s Solo Show Case Studies from May 13 to Jun 28; Pearl Lam Galleries will hold Su Xiaobai’s “Painting & Being” Exhibition from May 14 to Jul 15; Asia Society Hong Kong Center is having the “It Begins with Metamorphosis” Exhibition by Xu Bing; Ullens Center for Contemporary Art is also showing works by 17 Chinese artists at its “Aftermath: Post-Sense Sensibility, Fifteen Years On” Exhibition at Duddell’s.
Similar art fairs and festivals
Other similar art fairs and festivals are scheduled to launch around the time of Art Basel from medium to large scale ones. Asia Contemporary Art Show which showcases interesting works from emerging and mid-career artists will be held from May 15 to 18 at the Conrad Hong Kong; Hong Kong Contemporary Art Fair featuring trendy and accessible modern art collection will start on May 16 until 19 at The Excelsior Hotel.
Independently organized art show like the Chai Wan Mei, From May 16 to 17, mixes art with various entertainment programs such as concerts, performances and pop-art installations, held at the Chai Wan Industrial City. Since this show is focused on visual effects and visibility, there will be a large led display rental installed for all to enjoy. HKwalls, acclaimed Hong Kong’s first street art festival showcasing HongKong-based and visiting overseas street artists also takes place in the area around Blake Garden, Sheung Wan from May 12 for a week.
Of course we cannot forget to mention Le French May Arts Festival (From May 2 to June 28) that features multiple programs in visual arts, classical and contemporary music, dance, multi-arts performance, cinema and fashion.
Luxury brands’ art presence
Artists and galleries aren’t the only niche that are eager to be a part of this important art event, luxury brands too. Introducing art elements into particular product lines through special themed programs seem to be a new trend for luxury labels now. Those programs include limited edition launch, artist residency and pop-up exhibitions, to name a few.
Louis Vuitton is holding “Escape Play” Exhibition by Hong Kong artist Lam Tung-pang from May 9 to September 30; tobacco accessory maker Dadvidoff unveils its first Davidoff Limited Art Edition of which the cigar box prints are designed by Caribbean artist Quisqueya Henriquez; luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet will present a new lounge at Art Basel to exhibit historic and contemporary timepieces.
It seems like art is no longer something strange and new to Hong Kong people, it’s getting its way to become a part of people’s lives now. Artists are no longer considered as a bizarre profession. The city’s retail and hospitality labels are also blending artistic elements into their offerings.
And of course, with the opening of PMQ (Police Married Quarters), independent artists, designer and boutique owners will be able to establish a footstep in the city’s latest art hub. One more exicting thing? We’re all waiting for the M+ Museum to be open at the West Kowloon Cultural District in a few more years to come.