Art Basel’s first edition in Hong Kong

May 28, 2013

The fair was attended by over 60,000 people, including prominent collectors

such as Belgian baron Guy Ullens, Russian Roman Abramovich and his partner Dasha Zhukova, Swiss collector Uli Sigg, Chinese-Indonesian Budi Tek and Indonesian Deddy Kusuma as well as representatives from all the major institutions: Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; Asia Society, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Dallas Museum of Art; Fondation Beyeler, Riehen; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; MoCA Miami; M+, Hong Kong; OCAT, Shenzhen, Beijing; The Royal Academy, London; The Serpentine Gallery, London; Tate, London; Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; White Rabbit Collection, Sydney; and the Yellow River Arts Centre, Yinchuan

There were 245 galleries in total, with 48 of them showing in Hong Kong for the first time. Originally Art HK, the fair became the largest in Asia. In 2011, Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach organizers “MCH Swiss Exhibition (Basel)” acquired a 60 per cent stake in Art HK’s “Asian Art Fairs”, leading to this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong version. While there was some fear of a drop in local representation, the fair saw 26 Hong Kong galleries represented.

Reported sales:

Quarteto by Colombian painter Fernando Botero was purchased for US$1.3 million by a Malaysian collector from Galerie Gmurzynska.

Gallery Hauser & Wirth sold SP234 by Sterling Ruby to an art foundation on the mainland for more than US$250,000. Pearl Lam Gallery in Hong Kong sold Four Noblemen by Zhu Jinshi for US$195,000.

London’s Victoria Miro, co-presenting with Asia’s Ota Fine Arts, sold the 1988 Yayoi Kusama work Flame of Life – Dedicated to Tu-Fu (Du-Fu) for US$2 million to an Asian collector.

Zhang Xiaogang’s painted bronze sculptures of children’s heads, priced from US$100,000 to US$350,000, were sold.

Taiwanese dealer Tina Keng sold eight works from the series Eight Tall Sunflowers by Xu Jiang for US$2.6 million AND Wang Huaiqing’s abstract work Chinese Emperor for US$2.6 million
White Cube reported several sales to Asian collectors, and Lehmann Maupin which opened a space in Hong Kong in March, also sold well (including Tracey Emin’s neon Now Love is for You!, 2013, for US$75,500).

On the last day of the fair Art Basel announced that its main sponsor would shift from Deutsche Bank to UBS. Art Basel’s other two fairs, which are held annually in Basel, Switzerland, and Miami Beach, are already supported by UBS.

In other news, M+, the planned museum for the $2.8 billion West Kowloon Cultural District, announced at Art Basel a major acquisition of work by Tehching Hsieh, a New York-based performance artist originally from Taiwan.

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