SAR boosts arts with global fair

Local | Sophie Hui 28 Mar 2018

Art Basel yesterday kicked off at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, featuring 248 art galleries from 32 countries, including 26 from Hong Kong.

A private preview started yesterday and members of the public are to gain access from tomorrow until Saturday.

Six more galleries will be on display at the art fair this year. Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said the opening of new museums will facilitate the development of Hong Kong's arts and culture.

She said Art Basel has "turned out even better than I could have imagined."

Lam said at the opening of the art fair four years ago that it would "become a very significant event in Hong Kong's cultural landscape."

She said yesterday: "In the last four or five years, Art Basel has really helped us build Hong Kong into a cultural hub, bringing a lot of world-class arts exhibitions and galleries. What is most exciting is the increase in visitors." Lam also said "the future looks extremely promising for arts and cultural development in Hong Kong" with two new museums to be established at the West Kowloon Cultural District.

This includes the 66,000-square-meter M+ for contemporary arts, and the 30,000-sq-m Hong Kong Palace Museum.

The Hong Kong Museum of Art will be expanded by almost 40 percent over the next few years.

The latest art market report by Art Basel and global bank UBS indicated that China accounted for 21 percent of global sales last year, surpassing Britain and emerging as the second largest market for art pieces across the world after the United States.

Said Marc Spiegler, global director of Art Basel: "Hong Kong clearly takes a premier position here, accounting for an estimated 90 percent of art imported into China."

He said there has been steady growth within China's market over the past 10 years, and he believes that growth will continue to expand.

He also said the taste of Chinese art collectors has been broadening as they have been buying art works from international artists. They also support international art shows.

Meanwhile, another event - Art Central - opened to the public yesterday at the Central Harbourfront. The event, which runs until Sunday, features 102 international galleries, with six large-scale installations.

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