The South China Morning Post depicts the opening of ArtBasel Hong Kong as a key inflection point in the Asian art market. That may be overstating it for dramatic effect. But as Western galleries, auction houses and the top tier of Asian galleries converge on China’s free trading zone, the role of art in the Asian economic universe continues to evolve:
“All our eyes are on Art Basel in Hong Kong to see whether the market’s best days are ahead or the worst is yet to come. The next 10 days are make-or-break for Asia and will set the tone for 2016,” said Jehan Chu, art advisor and director of Vermillion Art Collections. […]
The value of art sales in China, which include sales conducted on the mainland and in Hong Kong and Taiwan, peaked in 2011 at US$19.5 billion, accounting for 30 per cent of global art sales and surpassing the US as the world’s largest art market at the time. […]
But the China boom did not continue. Art sales have declined since the 2011 peak, falling to US$11.8 billion last year, accounting for just 19 per cent of global art sales.This placed the market third behind the US with 43 per cent and the UK’s 21 per cent. […]
“The only real victims are smaller local galleries who have not raised their game to the standards demanded by an increasingly sophisticated audience. They may experience a small lift, but with a tidal wave of international calibre art to see, it’s up to the local galleries to find a way to stay relevant outside of the fair,” Chu said.
Art extravaganza: Exhibitors in Hong Kong look at ways to profit in gloomy economic times (South China Morning Post)