Now in its second year, Art Basel Hong Kong follows hot on the heels of Frieze New York and a few weeks in advance of its namesake, Art Basel (in Switzerland). Next year, it moves to March in an attempt to space things out for art world jet-setters, but for now, we've rounded up some of the highlights from the fair’s 245 galleries.
The fair is split across two floors at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai. As well as hosting the usual suspects—David Zwirner, Hauser and Wirth, Gagosian, and Lehmann Maupin—there is a strong focus on galleries from Asia and the Asia Pacific region in the Insights section.
There’s a lot to see, but we’ve selected some works you definitely shouldn’t miss.
If you were in L.A., Houston, or New York last summer, you probably saw one of James Turrell’s exhibitions. The artist tends to make enormous installations in unusual spaces—most notably Roden Crater in Arizona—which is tricky if you want something for your home. Thankfully Pace Gallery has come to your rescue with its set of three ukiyo-e woodcut prints, available for $20,000.
Vik Muniz is up to his usual trick of assembling images from nontraditional materials (he has previously used diamond dust, honey, rubbish from Brazil, and cigarette butts, among other things). For Ben Brown Fine Arts, he has produced Hong Kong Postcard, assembled from an collage of postcards from around the world that reproduces the Hong Kong skyline.
Japanese artist Mariko Mori has been making deeply meditative works for a long time but has shifted away from mainly video art to producing Zen-like sculptures. Sean Kelly has a collection of her works for sale, including the magnificent Renew III. Ommmm.
New York gallery owner James Cohan is showing British artist Yinka Shonibare’s Ballerina with Viola. The sculpture features a faceless figure, wearing an outfit made from material that is popular in Africa, but tends to be made in Holland and sold in England, all of which reflect issues of colonialism and multiculturalism.
Glenn Kaino's Rooftop Studies at Kavi Gupta Gallery are based on photos the artist took in Cairo when he was preparing works for the Cario Biennial (which was postponed as a result of instability in the region). The landscapes have no people in them, and yet people are referenced through the technologies they use, all of which have been covered in gold leaf. In one work, it’s the satellite dishes; in another, the air conditioning units reveal a human presence.
Ever wondered what becomes of those abandoned toys you sometimes see lying on the side of the road? Well if Adeel uz Zafar is around, he will pick them up, take them home, bandage them, and use them as models for his art. His works at Gandhara-Art are created by painting the vinyl white, adding a layer of black over that, and then engraving these mummified characters into the surface. They may look creepy, but the gallery owner confided that children love them.
As you enter the third floor, you are greeted by Forever, one of Ai Weiwei’s now well-recognized bicycle sculptures at German gallery, neugerriemschneider. Although Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, the artist is still not allowed to travel there.
It’s always interesting to see what people love to photograph at fairs, and Taiwanese artist Hsi Shih-Pin’s Symbolic Steed of Memory at Soka Art seems to be one of the most popular works this year. The shiny surface is perfect for #artselfies.
One artist who really understands the selfie allure is Kyoung Tack Hong. The Korean artist’s large painting at Hakgojae Gallery is titled Reflection 1 and shows the artist posing with a camera phone in the various surfaces of the dazzling object.
Perennially hip Arndt Gallery has the perfect piece for the skater in your life. This pop art skateboard is titled Tempus Fugit (Latin for “time flies”) and was created by Indieguerillas, made up of Indonesian artist duo Santi Ariestyowanti and Dyatmiko “Miko” Bawono. The work sold early on to a European collector for $5,000.
More bright and shiny work is on view at Nanzuka Gallery, including The Uncrossable Upswept Bridge by Keiichi Tanaami. The 78-year-old Japanese artist is inspired by anime and pop culture. Although most of his early work is 2D, he made some sculptures in the 1980s and picked the medium up again in recent years.
Kaikai Kiki is showcasing works made by Takashi Murakami’s studio assistants. Mr. is one of their most well-known painters, having worked with Murakami for over 10 years. The artist champions “kawaii,” the Japanese style of work that’s “pretty” or “cute”. Also at the booth is Reminiscence by Ob, which was surrounded by real life Hong Kong school girls.
And this was a scene repeated at Galerie Perrotin, where more school children sat on the floor to sketch a large work by Mr. Perrotin. The Perrotin booth also has a number of Takashi Murakami works on view, including New Red Flowerball and DOB in Pure White Robe.
Lastly, an art fair wouldn’t be an art fair if it didn’t have a spot painting by Damien Hirst. Of course, White Cube obliged, but if you’re looking for something a little more interesting, check out Gilbert and George’s Killers, from their London Pictures series, based on newspaper headlines in a daily London newspaper.