White Cube’s opening in Hong Kong this week has generated a lot of press around the world. Here the BBC says the Southern city is also becoming a place where artists might want to live . . . really?
Graham Steele, the gallery’s Asia director, says the decision to open in Hong Kong was driven by a number of factors, including the ease of doing business in a city where there is no sales tax and the import and export of art work is duty free.
“The energy of the city is very seductive for dealers and artists,” he says. “It’s a scene that’s about to blossom and in a really great way.”
White Cube’s first exhibition will feature the work of British contemporary artists Gilbert & George. High-profile art dealers Larry Gargosian, Ben Brown and Edouard Malingue have also opened gallery spaces in the city over the past two years. […]
Beijing and Shanghai have arguably more vibrant art scenes that are home to a number of a high-profile Chinese artists such as Ai Wei Wei that generate a lot of attention.
Hong Kong’s artist community, however, is small and high costs mean that artists struggle to find studio space and often have day jobs as architects and designers.
And despite changing perceptions about Hong Kong as a place to produce and exhibit art, the scene is still commercially driven – primarily by China’s newly minted millionaires and billionaires.
They have demonstrated a healthy appetite for the art and antiques of their own country but their demand for the conceptual Western contemporary art sold by the likes of White Cube is less proven, and could dry up if China’s economy slows.
Hong Kong Emerging As Asia’s Art Capital (BBC News)