Art Basel Hong Kong 2024 marks a full-scale return with 242 top galleries, reinforcing Hong Kong’s stature as a global art nexus. Shanghai’s art market flourishes, with ART021 and West Bund Art & Design driving significant growth. AI continues to reshape the art landscape, from creation to market analytics. Singapore explores GST exemption on art to enhance its regional art hub status. Art Basel pilots ‘Access’ platform, intertwining art sales with philanthropy. Meanwhile, star athletes are emerging as influential art market players, spotlighting underrepresented artists.

Art Basel Hong Kong Announced Full-Fledged Return 

Art Basel Hong Kong has announced its much-anticipated 2024, edition, boasting a strong lineup of 242 premier inernational galleries. This presents a 37% increase in participation rate since last year, and a return to pre-pandemic numbers signalling the art market in Asia returning to its full strength. Beside offering works from Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei, the fair affirms its commitment to elevating Hong Kong as an international art hub, featuring galleries from London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Rome, Sao Paulo and Vienna. 

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Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week Signals Strong Growth in Chinese Art Market

Last week marks the conclusion of the Fifth Shanghai International Artwork Trade Week, with more than 100 individual art fair events adn 30 auctions taking place in the city over 5 days. The two flagship art fairs, West Bund Art & Design and ART 021, both saw remarkable growth, with ART021 in particular showcasing more than 15,000 works valued at more than 3 billion yuan ($414 million), generating total sales revenue of $169 million dollars. In response to the energetic spending by Chinese art buyers, the head of UBC Gloabal Wealth Management in China told ChinaDaily that “Asia has seen a strong resurgence in art buying post-COVID, surpassing Europe and the United States in certain sectors.”

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AI is Revolutionising the Art Market

Since the pandemic, AI tools have played a huge part in the art market. Artists such as Soungwen Cung and Ana Ridler have utilised AI in their work, while other gallerists use AI as a tool for efficient translation of texts and emails. The art auction powerhouse Christies uses AI tools to mine, extract and catalogue data, as well as track and interpret market behaviour. However, plenty of art players still hesitate to use AI, particularly around sensitive areas such as pricing consideration where decisions are still made between gallerists and artists, or in predictive modelling where data is scarce and hard to find. 

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Singapore NMP Suggests GST Exemption for Art

The Nominated MP for arts, Usha Chandradas, suggested this week in Parliament that Singapore should consider exempting high-value art sales from the goods and services tax (GST), which would help Singapore boost its standing as a desirable arts hub in Asia. The move would make it cost-effective for dealers to transact higher-value sales in the country, allowing the nation to strengthen its position as a key centre for art trade in Asia. She also cited fund raising challenges by private arts institutions such as NAFA, another obstacle in allowing Singapore to reach its full potential as an arts hub. In response to her queries, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth Low Yen Ling affirmed the government’s commitment to developing the art economy and workforce. 

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Art Basel Tests Charity-Based Online Platform

The pilot programme, called Access by Art Basel, features a “philanthropic component baked into the technology”, and will ask collectors to donate 10% of the price of each work to humanitarian organisations such as the Red Cross. Though organisers have not committed to implementing it at subsequent art fairs, the move is a refreshing one that signals Art Basel’s willingness to reexamine its social responsibilities to the wider community. At this point, more than a dozen galleries have already signed onto the launch, including household names such as Hauser & Wirth and Pace Gallery. 

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Star Athletes are Buying into Art Market

In the USA, professional athletes have begun investing in the art market, with their personal fame and reputation automatically elevating them to the status of tastemakers. This move has also shone a spotlight on lesser-known African-American artists, who have become popular among successful basketball stars such as Carmelo Anthony, the 10-time N.B.A All-Star who proudly exhibits works in his Westchester home. Corey Robinson, a collector and former football star who worked for Gagosian and Sotheby’s, told the New York Times that elite athletes “are starting to see thesmelves in artists”, finding common ground in their powerful devotion to their respective passions. 

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