Art Basel Hong Kong Attracts Young Asian Buyers

The recently opened 11th edition of Art Basel Hong Kong has drawn a new generation of Asian art collectors who are deeply invested in purchasing new works. This latest demographic — ambitious, fashionable, and wealthy collectors from mainland China and Hong Kong — have proven to be interested in artists of diverse backgrounds and nationalities, as well as various formats such as installation, sculpture, and two-dimensional works. Popular artists include Filipino artist Jana Benitez, Japanese artist Chiharu Shiota, and Indian artist Jitish Kallat, alongside mainstays such as Yayoi Kusama, Philip Guston, Willem de Kooning, and Le Bul. Despite downturns in the mainland Chinese real estate sector, the overall energy at Art Basel Hong Kong this weekend was reported to be “strong, feels vibrant”, with buyers “being more selective and taking more time to make decisions”, according to Shanghai-based gallerist Mathieu Borysevicz. 

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‘Asia is a dynamic market.’ Gallerist Emmanuel Perrotin Reflects on His Career in Asia

A world-class dealership operating 7 galleries in some of the greatest art hotspots across the globe, the name Galerie Perrotin is synonymous with high-flying artists and art market success. Now planning to sell a 60% stake to a private equity firm, founder Emmanuel Perrotin reflects on his humble beginnings in 2012, during which he had only one gallery in Paris. At that time, the French businessman elected to open his second space in Hong Kong, working alongside gallery partner Alice Lung to create a gallery with a truly international vision. Despite the significant risk due to high rental costs, Perrotin’s Hong Kong venture was a success, and he subsequently expanded to Shanghai and Tokyo, stating that “There are a lot of developments possible in the region. I can’t discuss other plans we have yet but if we develop in India, for example, it is not against other parts of Asia because each entity brings different artists.” He also reflected on his famous extended partnership with Japanese artists Takashi Murakami, calling it “one of the most beautiful stories of my life”. 

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Mixed Media and Film Highlights at Art Basel Hong Kong

The iconic art fair has traditionally been home to more eclectic works by the world’s greatest artists, and this year is no different. Other than the 242 galleries hailing from 40 countries across the world, Art Basel’s organisers have put together a comprehensive programme of public art, seeking to reconnect with art audiences and recapture the appeal of Hong Kong as the foremost Asian art hub. The program includes Encounters, a curated section dedicated to 16 large-scale installations, 11 of which were specially commissioned for the fair. Kabinett is another segment that brings together 33 galleries to present works with a strong emphasis on historical and contemporary solo Asian works. Free to the public, the Conversations and Films programmes take place at the iconic Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, while Chinese contemporary artist Yang Fudong has taken over the M+ Facade with his site specific “architectural film” Sparrows on the Sea. With growing concerns over rising political repression in the city, Art Basel remains proof that the art scene still flourishes for art audiences around the world. 

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The Met Appoints Sotheby’s Executive to Head of Provenance Research 

Lucian Simmons, the current vice chairman and worldwide head of the restitution department at auction titan Sotheby’s, was last week named appointee to the newly created role of head of provenance research at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. Working with an expanded team of 11, Simmons will work alongside other art historical specialists to research the provenance of all objects under the Met’s purview. The Met is particularly invested in finding out if any of its collection has passed through the hands of illegal looters, following a series of seizures in 2022 by the Manhattan District Attorney of Greek, Roman, Italian and Egyptian antiquities which had been deemed to have been illegally obtained. As the head of restitution at Sotheby’s, Simmons had previously worked on objects with provenance issues, and will continue to do so in his new role under the auspices of the Met. 

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What Supporting Women Artists Looks Like Today

Despite prevailing notions, the art world today still suffers from a striking lack of representation for female artists, particularly in the higher ends of the market. Nonetheless, female gallerists today have formed strong connections with contemporary female artists, striving for a more equal art scene. Artsy spoke to 5 such gallerists, seeking wisdom on what supporting women artists entails in today’s art world. 

Among the advice offered, the gallerists emphasised the importance of showing women artists in a public setting, telling powerful and current stories rooted in ongoing movements, and paying particular attention to female artists coming out of marginalised global communities. Rather than performatively supporting women artists like some current museums and art institutions, gallerists must commit to providing women with a space to showcase their work in a public capacity. 

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Paris-based Musée Guimet Celebrates Asian Art

As one of Europe’s largest collection of Asian antiquities, the Guimet National Museum of Asian Art has taken on the difficult task of untangling Europe’s complicated relationship with the Asian region. This duty includes excavating the provenance of the Museum’s collection, and determining whether or not the artifact had been acquired legally or, more likely, obtained from illegal smugglers and traffickers in the region. According to Guimet president Yannick Lintz, “What is important is not to refuse to speak, but on the contrary, to speak a lot about how our collections arrived in our museums,” which is important in understanding the nuanced history of how the work arrived in the museum’s hands. This commitment to transparency also manifests in Guimet’s extensive international collaborations with institutions in Southeast Asia and China; partnering, for instance, with the Shanghai Museum in 2021 for an exhibition on “West Encounters East: A Cultural Conversation between Chinese and European Ceramics”. Guimet has also enjoyed an extensive collaboration with the Cambodian government, working together to promote Cambodian heritage to the French public.

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