Art Basel Owner Purchases 60% Stake in ArtHK

Image: Art Market Info

The owner of the prestigious Art Basel fairs has purchased a 60% stake in ArtHK, giving Hong Kong’s art scene a boost in the world of international art fairs.

China has surged in the global art market, ahead of both the U.S. and Britain, and there has been an increase in interest in art by Asian buyers. Despite art fairs being somewhat new in the China (with the first fair, China International Gallery Exposition, opening in Beijing in 2004), Asia as a whole has been quite established for some time. Art Taipet was established in 1992, the Korea International Art Fair was introduced in Seoul in 2001 and Art Fair Tokyo opened in 2005.

When ArtHK opened in 2008, the art scene has focused its attention on Hong Kong, which is currently the third largest auction center in the world, following only New York and London. Despite this and the fact that galleries like Gagosian and White Cube have opened properties in Hong Kong, the city still lacks major support for local artists and has very few art institutions.

Meg Maggio, director of Pekin Fine Arts gallery in Beijing, plans to open a second space in Hong Kong but says, “Hong Kong tends to confuse artwork with luxury goods. We can do business in Hong Kong, but the cost of living means it is not a great environment for developing artistic talent.”

Source: New York Times