Art Basel Hong Kong. Photo credits and rights: Roger Price.
Opened yesterday with a shelf life of only three days, 24-25-26 March, Art Basel Hong Kong is in its third year. The Art Basel brand instead is more dated, composed of three international fairs, Hong Kong precisely, Miami Beach and the historic of Basel which has existed since 1970. Today Art Basel, which is the Asian event, American or European is rightly considered the most important contemporary art fair in the world.
Founded in Switzerland by gallery owners and collectors Trudl Bruckner, Balz Hilt, and Ernst and Hildy Beyeler spouses has established itself at the international level both in terms of the possibilities that it offers in the market and both for the quality of the artistic research.
Today the most important markets for contemporary art is the United States and the United Kingdom, but what about the art market, it has to be considered that it has always been a global market and at least from the nineteenth it is in intrinsic sense. For this it is sufficient, as regards the logistics of its most important trade fair, that there is one for continent.
If in fact the Basel fair is able to serve the entire European market, the ones in Miami and Hong Kong are for the Americas and Asia.
The decision to create the second fair Art Basel in Miami proved to be a fantastic choice in the recent past and for sure it will be in the near future, a choice that has exponentially increased the value of the Art Basel brand.
In fact, Miami has experienced and is still experiencing golden years from the point of view of cultural regeneration of the city, thanks to the restoration of some historic neighborhoods, thanks to the opening of Art Basel precisely, thanks to the Miami Design District construction and thanks to a general reorganization of local and spaces that in the wake of the renovation has created a new intellectual sap and chic to the city.
But Miami did not mean just that, in fact, Miami has always been the “city in the middle” between America with $ symbol and Latin America.
Latin America is a source of great artists, an art linked to sentiment, little cerebral, an art more of belly than of brain, something that in the US and Europe is difficult to find and that it finds easy collocation and great customers in Miami.
That said it is also true that since the end of ‘900 in early 2000, the US has been the incredible talent farmers, the land that has pushed the art to make the last real innovation after the one promoted in Europe by Marcel Duchamp and his companions, hence starting from Andy Warhol, Jasper Joon, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Jeff Koons until the world leader of video art Matthew Barney, to name a few, the US has made heard its voice in their success in the art world.
Citing these names we can’t not see like most of the artists to stars and world-famous strips were from New York or in any case from the north of the USA, but decide to locate the fair in New York would not have had the same sense of Miami. The inherent soul to art is that of union, the art has no boundaries, in fact as already said its market has always been international, art is something that we all live together, expressed by someone immediately takes a value large, constantly changing and all this from the point of view of the location strategy not could that fall, as far as the continent divided into North and South, in the city that more than any other lends itself as a cultural frontier, a mix of Latin, Africans and Europeans who together have created one of the most fascinating cities in recent days.
There, these days, it is the day in which we see one of the greatest economic expansions in history, that is, those related to Asian countries, with India and China at the top.
Again the choice of the city where to make take root the art market with Art Basel was done with exactness. Hong Kong is in fact one of the two Chinese special administrative regions, called as the land where “East meets West”, having been part for a long time of the British Empire and for this it presents economic and cultural aspects similar to the West ones.
This Westernization is easy to find on the financial side, Hong Kong in fact has always had to China a similar role to the one that Switzerland has for Europe, a sort of international hub that operates autonomously and that for this allows a better development the business between actors from different states.
Hong Kong has a capitalist economy based almost exclusively on the tertiary sector, with indexes of education, quality of life and human development among the highest in the world.
If all this is also crucial for sales of works of art as with any other market, cultural freedom, the fact that Hong Kong is in China, but we behave as in the West, it crucial to made it the ideal location for the Asian Art Basel.
In fact, just like Switzerland for Europe and Miami for the Americas, Hong Kong is a land of encounter. Actually resembles more to Switzerland than Miami, in the sense that just as Switzerland that always remains outside of any international dispute and even from Europe (administratively speaking) even Hong Kong is outside the international political disputes, being in administrative special management, so despite being in China, its political and economic dynamics often take roads other than those promoted by Beijing.
For the Asia continent this is the perfect place for Art Basel, because if it was done in another city in China or India, it would immediately become the art trade of China or of India, or of another country, while Hong Kong with its neutrality is like to be in the international airport area, a place where we can meet each other without being substantially on the no man’s land.
This frees the art from the compromise with local cultures and makes the Art Basel brand inherently international just like the object under its care.