The new realities

Published in Australian Art Collector, Issue 60, April – June 2012

Art HK director Magnus Renfrew believes the art world has changed. It’s a fact, he says, that all kinds of interesting work is now being produced outside of the ma in internat ional art centres of Europe and America. But has Renfrew ma naged to reta in the Hong Kong art fair’s focus on Asia since its change of ownership last year? He talks to Jane O’Sullivan.

There was a curious sense of both regional pride and disdain when the news came through in May last year that the Art HK Hong Kong International Art Fair had been bought by the owners of Art Basel and Art Basel Miami Beach.

On the one hand it was vindication of the fair’s success and the growing importance of Asian collectors in the international contemporary art landscape.

But it also raised eyebrows. Would Art HK become just another Art Basel outpost, showing the same galleries from the same countries? More to the point, did Asian galleries still have a future with the fair? After all, Art Basel and its American counterpart Art Basel Miami Beach are not exactly known for embracing Asian art (or, for that matter, Latin American art, or African art). And even before news of the change of ownership emerged, it was evident the 2011 edition of the fair had attracted ever greater numbers of galleries from Europe and the United States.

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