Why ART HK?
Exhibiting at ART HK is a strategic choice – the Western art
market is saturated, while Asia provides opportunities for
growth. ART HK has emerged by common consensus as the
fair in Asia.
The main section of ART HK is now full. We will have 161
galleries from 30 countries, including Acquavella Galleries,
Blum & Poe, Gagosian Gallery, Goodman Gallery, Lisson
Gallery, Victoria Miro, The Modern Institute, Vitamin
Creative Space, White Cube and David Zwirner, among
Why Hong Kong?
- No tax on the import and export of art, greatly reducing transaction costs and expediting customs procedures.
- Third largest art market in the world after New York and London by auction turnover (Fair is timed to coincide with
the Christie’s spring auctions, meaning a well-developed collector base can easily attend).
- Reputation as the gateway between East and West, making Hong Kong an obvious entry point into the Asian
market for Western galleries.
- Financial centre of Asia, where people are accustomed to coming to do business.
- A shared history with the West means English is commonly spoken, keeping visits stress-free.
- Geographically well-placed, acting as a natural hub for the region with China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, Indonesia,
Malaysia and Australia all close by, so it is convenient for collectors to attend the Fair.
Why ART FUTURES?
Galleries established in or after 2006 are eligible to apply for the ART FUTURES section of ART HK 11. ART FUTURES is a
feature of ART HK showcasing emerging talent represented by young galleries. These discounted 20sqm and 30sqm spaces
present one or two gallery artists, who must be aged 35 or less at the time of application.
ART FUTURES and our new section, ASIA ONE, are key elements of ART HK. These feature gallery sections provide points of
interest for our art buying audience. People come to ART HK to make discoveries, and they know to head to ART FUTURES
for exactly that.
What is happening in the Asian market at the moment?
China and Indonesia, in particular, are rapidly developing in terms of number of collectors and the sophistication of their
taste. Small changes in buying patterns create big opportunities for galleries.
Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong and Australia all have well-established collector bases – In particular we are pleased with
how well-received the Fair has been by Australian collectors. Australian galleries got together after ART HK 10 and decided
they had seen approximately 200 of the most important Australian collectors at the Fair.
Within Hong Kong there is a strong local market – Wealthy Hong Kong Chinese as well as Expats (many in the financial
sector) buy from ART HK.
But are Asian collectors buying Western art?
It is early days still, but Taiwanese, Koreans and Australians have been buying international
art for a long time.
As far as the other markets are concerned, we have seen that there is a natural progression
from buying local to buying international as tastes develop.
China, in particular, is driving the luxury goods market these days. The Chinese are looking for
new ways to express their wealth and sophistication, and this is leading to growth in the
contemporary art market.
Wine provides a dramatic example – as sophistication and taste develop, the market grows.
Our friends at Christie’s and Sotheby’s tell us that the wine market in Hong Kong is already
bigger than New York and London combined.
People buy in packs. Take, for example, Jim Lambie’s work at The
Modern Institute’s stand at ART HK 10. Sales were strong at the Fair.
Modern Institute sold to one collector in particular who spoke about the
work and the gallery to his friends, which resulted in a number of follow-
on sales of the work from their booth at Basel, when all these collectors
came to see them.
The bottom line is that this is a period of great change – Asia is on its
way up, and it is important to build relationships with the collectors now
to be positioned to benefit from this growth. In just the three years ART
HK has been around, Asia has become serious as an art market.
What sort of work do people buy? Is it only blue chip artists?
It is too early to see distinct trends, but our experience has been:
- In 2008 people “bought with their eyes” choosing works they liked rather than big names.
- In 2009 we saw less discretionary buying, more focus on established names. We believe this was due to the
- In 2010 buying went back to reflecting freer choices, with solid sales of emerging and mid-career artists in addition
to the big names.
While there have been major sales (Picasso for US$7 million, Hirst for GBP1.75 million, Chuck Close for US$3 million), the
majority of our sales activity occurs in the more modest end of the spectrum, up to US$30,000 – 40,000.
I am a young gallery; I just don’t know if this is for me.
Because there is such a focus on relationships among Asian collectors, without an overwhelming emphasis on “brand
names” in art, there are fantastic opportunities for young galleries to establish themselves in the growing Asian market.
In addition, we have an increasingly strong audience of museum directors (including, in 2010, Richard Armstrong of the
Guggenheim, Michael Govan from LACMA and Hans Ulrich Obrist of the Serpentine). ART HK therefore provides a fantastic
opportunity to get your artists in front of an influential audience.
Hong Kong is in the process of building a brand new
Cultural District (costing US$2.1 billion), including a
contemporary art museum to be directed by Lars Nittve,
formerly of Tate Modern, London and Moderna Museet,
Stockholm. Nittve will be on the judging panel for the
ART FUTURES prize (a cash prize awarded to the best
artist in the ART FUTURES section), along with Hans
Ulrich Obrist and Elaine W. Ng.
ART HK provides a platform for networking – galleries
reported a good deal of cross-purchasing, leading to new
professional relationships as well as expanded activities
and projects. This means more exposure for artists,
especially emerging ones.
In short, ART HK’s young galleries are afforded more attention from collectors and curators at ART HK, in a different context
than they would be seen at home. ART FUTUTRES is therefore a fantastic opportunity for endorsement by international
I am afraid the costs, added to the fact I will be showing young artists, makes it too expensive for me.
ART FUTURES is subsidized by the Fair to encourage galleries like yours to participate.
Our booth prices are comparable to those of other international Fairs.
It is not possible to provide further discounts on booth prices, as any discount would come out of our marketing budget,
and this is detrimental to all participating galleries.
If you are able to plan in advance, you can dramatically reduce costs by shipping works by sea rather than by air. This means
the work will need to leave the gallery 4-6 weeks ahead of the Fair, depending on your location and specific situation. We
are also working on implementing consolidated shipments out of major cities, though this is still in the developmental
This sounds good, but I already do a lot of Fairs.
Many of our galleries show in fairs in the United States and in Europe, and are now choosing to do one fair a year in Asia to
access this market – ART HK.
What makes ART HK different from the other Asian fairs I hear about?
ART HK is a truly international art fair – we already have 30 countries signed up
for 2011. No individual country in Asia has yet been able to sustain a large fair.
Most other Asian fairs are rooted in their local country with local exhibitor and
collector bases. These fairs do not have the same level of selectivity as ART HK. In
2010, we chose 155 galleries out of over 300 applications.
What are you doing to ensure the audience turns up to support all the new
galleries who are participating?
ART HK invests heavily in marketing and PR to build and attract an audience of
collectors. In addition, we work with an advisory group (Nitin Bhyana, Yang Bin,
Monique Burger, Richard Chang, Philip Dodd, Alan Lo, Judith Neilson, Elaine W.
Ng, Takeo Obayashi and Rudy Tseng) who encourage their circles of collectors to
attend the Fair as well.
Hong Kong is the third largest art market by auction turnover, and ART HK is
timed to coincide with Christie’s spring auctions – a staple in the Asian art scene.
This means the established collectors who buy from auction will be present in
Hong Kong. The sales take place in the same building as ART HK, with easy access
from the auction to the Fair.
Is ART FUTURES in the same building as the main gallery section of ART HK?
Our two feature gallery sections, ART FUTURES and ASIA ONE (for Asian galleries showing solo projects by Asian artists), will
both be held in Hall 3 of the Convention Centre (third floor). The main gallery section will be in Hall 1 (first floor). These two
sections are on different floors of the same building, though the second floor is simply a mezzanine level – there is no hall
there. Halls 1 and 3 are connected by escalators.
We are very enthusiastic about ART FUTURES, and will be marketing it accordingly. We will also be driving visitor traffic
directly to ART FUTURES and ASIA ONE. Both the main gallery section and ART FUTURES are parts of ART HK 11, and will be
treated equally as such.
We do not have an exact number of participants for ASIA ONE at this stage; we expect to have approximately 30 galleries in
What can I do to increase my chances of success at the Fair?
Asia is all about relationships and trust. Be approachable, so that collectors feel comfortable coming to you to ask questions
and engage with the work.
Have a focused stand – a number of works by one or two artists will serve you better than a “greatest hits” approach
showing one or two works by a number of your artists. You want to be able to show an artist’s work in depth, making it
easier to understand.
Be patient and generous with your time. You will be rewarded, but you do need to make the effort. The Asian collectors you
meet at the Fair do travel, so if you spend the time to build relationships while in Hong Kong, these will develop as
collectors come seek you out in your home base.
Once you have been accepted to the Fair, do your homework. Get in touch with any Asian collectors, curators, gallerists and
other arts professionals you may know. Use these contacts to make more contacts, and market your participation in the
Fair to them.
Who owns the Fair?
The Fair is a joint venture between three of the most respected events companies:
- Single Market Events who run large-scale consumer shows – British Motor show which welcomed 500,000 visitors
last year, and London Fashion Week on behalf of the British Fashion Council.
- Montgomery Exhibitions, who are pioneers in the exhibitions industry, with nearly 100 years of experience in
business to business trade fairs. They have been active in Asia for over 20 years, and provide ART HK with great
contacts in government in HK and China.
- Will Ramsay, who started PULSE art fairs.
This combination provides ART HK with large-scale events experience, art fair experience, particularly art fairs aimed at
getting new collectors to buy contemporary art – an important focus for ART FUTURES galleries – and all-important on the
What does ART FUTURES cost for 2011?
A 20sqm stand costs US$9,700. A 30sqm stand costs
When is the deadline for applications?
There is no application deadline as such. However, if you are
interested in participating, we encourage you to apply as
soon as possible. Our next Selection Committee meeting will
take place in early February, so please do submit your
application as soon as possible.
- Asia makes sense (growing wealth and collector base), Hong Kong makes sense (ease of doing business), and so ART
HK makes sense (only truly international fair in Asia).
- Audience is growing.
- The Fair owners are experienced.
- ART HK is building its reputation – big name galleries are coming, and coming back year after year.
- ART FUTURES is the best platform for young galleries, and is gaining a lot of attention.
- It is a timely event – a critical mass of collectors is already in town for the auctions.
- Real opportunity for young galleries and artists to share in the limelight.
- Newer galleries are more flexible and therefore best positioned to benefit from the developing market.
Eve Share Banghart, Exhibitor & Projects Manager (firstname.lastname@example.org or +852 3127 5531) is happy to help.