The Wall Street Journal delves deeply into the long-simmering struggle between Singapore and Hong Kong for dominance of the Asian art market. Alexandra Seno talks about the battle to build museums and the tax differential and Hong Kong’s intention–long unrealized–to build a multi-billion dollar arts district:
For a city, having the ingredients for a thriving art market creates a virtuous circle. The powerful marketing machines of the big auction houses, including public previews of coming sales, raises awareness and appreciation of art in the community. All this encourages local artists to create more art. And that momentum, in turn, contributes to the development of a city’s broader cultural scene, including music, theater and design.
“We are a financial city, so people understand money but don’t always understand art,” says Claire Hsu, executive director of Asia Art Archive, a Hong Kong-based regional culture think tank. “People pay attention to prices, thinking in terms of investment,” she adds, so “people have become interested in art.” […]
The point is “about attracting the people who make it matter — artists, critics, curators and collectors,” says Eugene Tan, formerly head of Singapore’s Institute of Contemporary Arts and a high-profile personality on the Singapore arts scene who recently relocated to Hong Kong. “Hong Kong has that advantage” of a collector base that “Singapore has always lacked.”
Art Wars: Hong Kong v. Singapore (Wall Street Journal)