As for the schedule, Zhang said, AAF is taking advantage of an extension of the government’s pandemic subsidy program, which covers rental for major events at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center and AsiaWorld-Expo at Lantau Airport.
She adds that a number of new galleries have opened in the last 18 months, showing that Hong Kong residents are increasingly interested in art.
The next show on the list is “Unplanned,” which in a sense is exactly that. In response to the cancellation of Art Basel Hong Kong and Art Central, the trade association Hong Kong gallery owners launched the first “Unscheduled” fair in 2020 at the Tai Kwun Center for Heritage and Arts in Central; Both shows returned in 2021, with more booths for local traders than ever before.
Willem Molesworth, a spokesman for the Hong Kong Art Gallery Association (HKAGA), says “Unplanned” should be an isolated incident, but the feedback from collectors has been so positive that they have decided to do it all over again.
“It’s very different from Art Basel and people appreciated the more intimate scale and how challenging and alternative it was,” he says. It promises a fair that will address what’s happening in the Hong Kong arts scene as massive political changes are underway and new limits are set on the expression
“This is a very challenging time because of the pandemic and what is happening here politically. Doing something like this is a testament to how strong and creative the local art scene is.
“Internationally, be it in the USA or across the border [in] Mainland [China], people don’t see Hong Kong as a creative place, just a place for financial transactions. This is why people liked ‘Unplanned’ last year. It’s proof that what’s going on here is remarkable, ”said Molesworth, who recently resigned as director of de Sarthe Gallery in order to plan to open his own gallery.
In particular, the rise of cryptocurrency is revolutionizing the way we create, buy and sell art
Fifteen HKAGA members will take part in the show, which opens on September 2nd in the 20,000 square meter two-level retail space on Queen’s Road Central, which was previously used by Topshop.
The first Digital Art Fair will take place at the same location from September 30th. This event, backed by the Hong Kong-based cryptocurrency exchange Genesis Block, will be the first physical art fair in Asia to feature art based on non-fungible tokens, digital certificates of authenticity based on the same technology used in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is used.
While the headlines about NFTs are dominated by feverish speculation or concerns about the power consumption of blockchain processes, they are bringing profound changes to the art world that are likely to be irreversible, says Gillian Howard, co-director of the fair. (The post has started its own NFT projects, including an upcoming one
“Traditional visual arts have long dominated the art world, but we are also seeing a new generation of artists [who are beginning] adapt to our modern world. In particular, the rise of cryptocurrency is revolutionizing the way we create, buy and sell art, ”she says.
“The Digital Art Fair Asia Edition 2021 was created to do justice to this new movement in which artists use digital technology to produce and present their work with innovative means.”
To round off the season’s art fairs, Fine Art Asia, known for its focus on antiques, furniture and Chinese ink art, returns in October around the same time as the autumn auction season in the Convention and Exhibition Center.
Dates and ticket details for each art fair can be found on their websites.