The New York Times looks at Hong Kong’s continuing cultural ambitions and the role art plays in those plans. The story is about the Louis Vuitton: Passion for Creation show that is currently on display there:
At a moment when Hong Kong has been passionately debating the next steps toward creating the West Kowloon Cultural District — a taxpayer-funded project budgeted at 21.6 billion Hong Kong dollars, or about $2.8 billion — this exhibition, which runs through Aug. 9, highlights the obstacles and opportunities in the city’s grand ambition to become an internationally recognized cultural center.
Admirably here, the conservative, government-run museum goes beyond its usual comfort zone. The effort recognizes that, if Hong Kong is to live up to its marketing slogan as “Asia’s World City,” it needs to have a diversity of world-class art programming.
The museum has showcased Western collections before, but mostly antiquities. “Treasures of the World’s Cultures from the British Museum” from 2007 remains one of its most successful to date. “Passion” is the first large-scale showing of contemporary art.
“It is a good way to stimulate creative dialogue,” said Tang Hoi-chiu, the museum’s chief curator. “We see it as a very good opportunity to show masterpieces of contemporary art to educate the public and broaden people’s horizons.”
Despite heavy rainstorms, the show drew 3,100 visitors for its opening last weekend, a 130 percent increase in attendance over typical weekends, a museum official said.
A City and Fashion Empire Come Together Over Art (New York Times)