The Artists Everyone Was Talking about during Art Basel in Hong Kong
By: Alina Cohen, Apr 1, 2019 1:03pm
Early last week, a well-heeled group of international gallerists and collectors infiltrated Central Hong Kong’s busy streets as Hong Kong Art Week kicked off. Before the seventh edition of Art Basel in Hong Kong commenced, a flurry of exhibitions opened in galleries across the city, including at some younger, hipper spaces, such as Empty and Blindspot, which have set up shop on the island’s Southside district of Wong Chuk Hang. The events offered visitors and locals myriad opportunities to discover new artists and view recent work by old favorites—and to tell us all about them.
For a significantly more DIY evening activity, New York gallerist Robert Dimin mounted a show at Denny Dimin Gallery partner Katie Alice Fitz Gerald’s Hong Kong apartment. He brought the exhibition’s works—a series of Erin O’Keefe’s photographs and Matt Mignanelli’s geometric enamel-and-acrylic paintings—to Hong Kong in his checked luggage. As the party wound down, Fitz Gerald showed me the sparkling view of the city from her rooftop. The gallery, she said, was interested in having “a more intimate setting, which is less intimidating perhaps than the austere white cube space.” (Also, of course, it comes with much less overhead.) On the Southside, she’d enjoyed Hong Kong artist Lam Tung-pang’s “atmospheric” mixed-media show at Blindspot—a refreshment from the main fair.
All this activity, more or less, traces back to the advent of the first Art Basel in Hong Kong in the early 2010s. Sans noted that since then, a new dialogue has emerged between the West and the East. “Within five years, the entire world came to Hong Kong and China,” he said. “A few years ago, many of my Western friends were still suspicious about this part of the world. Now they are wholly here and it shows a radical change.”