Ending years of speculation, the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority today announced that the Uli Sigg collection, the world's premier trove of contemporary Chinese art, will go to the M+ museum in Hong Kong.
Slated to open in 2017, M+ will receive 1,463 works as an outright donation, plus an additional 47 pieces as a partial gift for the price of $22.7 million. In all, the experimental artworks, created primarily between 1979 and 2009 by some 350 artists, are valued by Sotheby's at $163 million. Among the artists represented are Zhang Xiaogang, Xu Bing, Zhang Peili, Fang Lijun, Gu Wenda, Liu Wei, Yue Minjun and Yang Shaobin.
Western dealers, eager to tap into the vast and growing market of the Pacific, are learning that cultural differences often translate into dollars and cents. At Art HK 12, the international art fair that ended its five-day run in Hong Kong on Sunday, Robert Motherwell's classic Elegy to the Spanish Republic No. 45 (1960), a small casein-on-paper work, was sold for an impressive $1 million by Bernard Jacobson Gallery (New York). But that result was far outstripped by the $3 million-plus that a Southeastern Asian collector paid Hong Kong's De Sarthe Gallery for No. 313 (1969), an oil-on-canvas abstraction by Chu Teh-Chun, a 92-year-old, Chinese-born painter resident in France. His work—featuring broad, smooth swaths of candy colors—is cloyingly decorative to Western eyes.
Globalism is alive and well in Asia, at least for the next few days. Art HK 12, the fifth edition of the Hong Kong International Art Fair (May 17–20), has presented its May 16 preview crowd of journalists and decked-out VIPs with a one-world vision that defies the post-2008 retraction into distinct East-West art world spheres.
Some 266 galleries from 38 countries are tendering works in two enormous exhibition halls at the futuristically designed Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Center on Victoria Harbor. At the center of each of the two levels is the Asia One section, encompassing a total of 49 regional galleries offering one-artist displays, while numerous other Asian galleries—especially those like Kukje (Korea), Boers-Li (China), Lin & Lin (Taipei) and Tomio Koyama (Japan), boasting internationally recognized rosters—are sprinkled throughout the fair among scores of dealers from abroad. Western participants include Acquavella (U.S.), Simon Lee (UK), Andersson/Sandström (Sweden), Nara Roesler (Brazil), and Joan Prats (Spain). Adding to the mix, Art Futures, with 35 booths on the periphery of the upper hall, features artists under 35 years of age from galleries that are not more than eight years old. One of the Art Futures artists-to be chosen by veteran museum director Lars Nittve, art magazine publisher Elaine Ng and international curator Okwui Enwezor-will receive a cash prize of $25,000.
The Brucennial 2012, billed with some measure of self-effacement as "the single most important art exhibition in the history of the world," opened big last week, with visitors standing in light rain for up to 2 hours to get into the show's beer-fueled launch party at 159 Bleecker Street in the West Village. On view through Apr. 20, the freewheeling salon-style survey features works by nearly 400 artists, solicited by the quasi-anonymous group Bruce High Quality Foundation with backing from their dealer, Vito Schnabel.
Asian Art Piers, a new gallery dedicated to contemporary Asian work—predominantly from China—opens in Chelsea today with a two-person show by Pang Yongjie and Xia Guo (aka Xia Jinguo), Chinese oil painters currently little known in the West.
Pang (b. 1968) offers chubby, bow-mouthed figures stylized to a degree that the artist terms "abstract," in deliberate contrast to the more representational modes of Cynical Realism and Political Pop that made a global impact nearly two decades ago.
2012, aluminum, wood, sublimation print on polyester and concrete, 71 3/4 by 122 1/2 by 135 inches overall. Courtesy Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New Yor