The Asian financial capital will host Art Basel Hong Kong from March 23 to 25. The well-liked large-scale art section will return here in the first season following the pandemic.

Last year was a big success for the global Art Basel community. A new significant date and location has been added: the end of October in Paris, supplementing the fairs in Basel, Hong Kong, and Miami, which are already well-established in the international art calendar. After winning the bid to host these events in this prestigious location for the next decade, the Swiss have wrested the French capital from one of the oldest contemporary art shows, FIAC, which had been held beneath the arches of the Grand Palais for about fifty years. The victory most likely means significant financial gain for the fair’s organizers, who chose to give the Old World’s bourgeois capital a jolt, as well as for the numerous Parisian gallerists who had their sights set on the well-to-do of America and Asia. The latter, who had demonstrated their dedication to modernity for more than a century, had little affection for modernism’s actual birthplace, preferring to bring their millions to Basel’s businesslike milieu. They now have the chance to augment their collections with top-tier, museum-quality pieces, while also savoring the fabled l’art de vivre, all in one location. 

All of the aforementioned categories have seized the chance. There were 156 significant galleries from 30 countries participating at the new Paris+ par Art Basel. Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, as well as billionaires, famous people from all walks of life, and curators and directors of museums from Europe, Asia, and America all attended the grand opening. According to fair reports, the number of pieces that sold at a million or more was nearly equal to that of the Basel parent exhibition.

The enthusiastic marchands are now moving to Hong Kong after four months. The Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC), the largest business and art hub in the Asia-Pacific region, will host 177 galleries from 32 nations this year. VIP previews are scheduled for March 21 and 22. All the traditional fair sections, including Encounters (large-scale objets d’art), Kabinett (curatorial projects), Film (art-film and video-art programs), and Conversations (round tables and gatherings involving artists, collectors and curators) have also been announced. 

That considered, the primary nuance of the Hong Kong show has always been and continues to be the Asian accent, despite its broad international scope and representativeness. Even with the non-discriminatory nature of local collectors—many of the auction records, globally and in all categories, belong to Japanese and Chinese collectors—their patriotic spirit in seeking out works by their fellow citizens is still there. Because of this, the fair primarily displays creations by regional or local artists. Heavy hitters in the art world who have locations in Hong Kong, such as Gagosian, Pace Gallery, Perrotin, and Simon Lee Gallery, also bring them. All of them will be the foundation of Art Basel Hong Kong’s core sector, along with top dealers from mainland China, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan. 

Works by one of the pop art movement’s founding fathers, Peter Saul, will be the sole focus of the booth by New York’s Venus Over Manhattan gallery. Other anticipated hits include a painting exhibition by Dresden-based Chinese artist Rao Fu at Mind Set Art Center, a display of works by members of the Japanese avant-garde calligraphy movement at Shibunkaku, and a total installation by Vietnamese sculptor Danh Võ at Vitamin Creative Space.

Nearby museums are getting ready for the influx of fans of contemporary art as well. This includes the Rocco Design Architects-created Hong Kong Palace Museum, which debuted last fall with a collection of Chinese artifacts. The Hong Kong Museum of Art, the city’s oldest art gallery, is another venue with a number of exhibitions of contemporary and classic Chinese artwork. There is also the enormous M+ by the Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, featuring a Yayoi Kusama retrospective, honoring one of modern day’s most well-known artists, as well as its own impressive collection of modern art.

Photo: press office,