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May 12, 2014

Paint the Town – Art Basel 2014

Walking around town lately and suddenly feeling incredibly unstylish? You’re not alone my friend, Art Basel is back in Hong Kong this week, and bringing with it the who’s who of the global art and design world. Don’t worry we’ve got your back and created a handy little guide jam-packed with all the need to know info. You’ll look cooler just from reading it!

Straight to the Art
Art Basel Hong Kong will feature 245 of the world’s premier art galleries, from 39 countries, with more than half of those galleries coming from Asia. This diverse collection of paintings, sculptures, installations, videos, and performances will run across four sectors, “Galleries” featuring established galleries from around the globe, “Discoveries” showcasing emerging artists, “Insights” dedicated to art from the Asia-Pacific region, and “Encounters” presenting large scale sculptures and installations that transcend traditional gallery spaces. This year, for the first time Art Basel will present a “Film” sector featuring films by and about artists, curated by Li Zhenhua, director and founder of Beijing Art Lab, and showcased at the agnès b. cinema at the Hong Kong Arts Centre, with many of the artists on hand to do live interactive Q & A after the films.

Listen to Your Art
Every morning and afternoon of the show, Art Basel’s Conversations and Salon, will offer first-hand access to panels of preeminent leaders from the international art world, presenting on a number of highly relevant topics, from the collection and exhibition of art to understanding art from a geographical and historical perspective to the contemporary art scene (Conversations will be held daily at 10am and are open to the public). Friday evening will see one of the pinnacles of the week, the hotly anticipated Intelligence Squared debate deliberating whether “Asia Should House Its Poor Before It Houses Its Art” and if the funding of museums is best left to private patrons (Tickets: HK$300,

Total Eclipse of the Art
This year for the first time, Art Basel has commissioned an art installation that will light up the night and be visible to the entire city. Designed by internationally renowned German artist Carsten Nicolai, the exhibit, entitled α (alpha) pulse, will pulsate light in a synchronized frequency across the entire façade of Hong Kong’s iconic 490 metre high ICC tower. A modern and artistically executed version of a lighthouse, α (alpha) pulse will send shimmering beams of light into the city and be reflected in the harbour.  Download the “alpha pulse” app to experience the full exhibit including musical accompaniment and interactive elements, every evening from 8:30 – 9:20pm, 15 to 17 May. Top spots to view the exhibit are Tamar Park, Sun Yat Sen Memorial Park and the terraces on Podium 3 and 4 of ifc Mall. Bring a picnic dinner and a bottle of wine, sit on the grassy lawn and let the lights do the talking.

Eat Your Art Out
Whether it’s hot new restaurants opening their doors in time for Art Basel or pop-up bars shaking things up on the scene, there are lots of new spaces to sip and savour this month.  Top of the list, Yenn Wong and Jason Atherton’s Aberdeen Street Social at the PMQ, featuring a contemporary British restaurant upstairs and a casual cafe downstairs with cafe tables spilling out onto the terrace and grassy lawn, plus Sweet Social for scrumptious takeaway desserts. And the playfully named Ho Lee Fook (meaning “good fortune in your mouth”) on Elgin Street featuring Chinese cuisine with a modern twist, courtesy of Taiwanese super star chef Jowett Yu of Sydney’s much-adored Mr. Wong and Ms. G’s restaurants, with interiors designed by G.O.D’s Douglas Young. Still hungry? At Duddell’s, you’ll have lots of food for thought in between delectable cocktails and dim sum with their newest exhibit “Aftermath: Post-Sense Sensibility, Fifteen Years On” featuring recent work from a group of influential contemporary Chinese artists, curated by Philip Tinari, Director of Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. For a taste of Art Basel’s roots, head to KEE Club, where new celebrity chef Roland Schuller has created a sublime Swiss-inspired menu, which will be served exclusively during the show. Next up, Bibo on Hollywood Road, a glamorous hideaway where you can sip champagne and 1930s cocktails out of vintage gilded crystal in the presence of inspiring art installations and paintings by some of the world’s most renowned artists including Basquiat, Hirst, Murakami, and Banksy. Afterwards, teeter up the stairs to Yardbird, who have collaborated with street artists How and Nosm to create a mural inside of the restaurant as well as limited edition Yardbird Junmai Sake bottles featuring original artwork, which will be launched on Wednesday 14 May, with food, drinks and celebrations that are bound to spill into the street, from 9pm – midnight (open to the public).  Need somewhere to dance all this off? Designed by Hong Kong artist Nadim Abbas, and set in a post-apocalyptic bunker, the 2014 Absolut Art Bar will debut on Monday 13 March, showcase guest DJs each evening, and be open to the public for art inspired cocktails and dreams throughout the festival (Soundwill Plaza II – Midtown, Midtown POP, 17/F, 1 & 29 Tang Lung Street, Causeway Bay, 5pm – 2am, open to the public except during select private events).

Art of Gold
This year, many of HK’s top fashion brands are getting in on the Art Basel action. At Christian Louboutin, it’s not just the spring collections that will have you hot to trot. They have collaborated with internationally renowned photographer Quentin Shih for the second year running, and his solo exhibition, entitled “La Habana in Waiting” will be revealed on 15-19 May at the Wyndham Street boutique and the neighboring Fringe Club’s Anita Chan Lai-Ling Gallery. Starting 9 May, Louis Vuitton will present “PLAY” a solo exhibition of celebrated local artist Lam Tung-Pang, utilizing toys to create large-scale painting and installations at their Espace Louis Vuitton on Canton Road. And starting 13 May, Swarovski will dazzle passers by with a 4-metre outdoor installation entitled “Prologue, featuring more than 8000 Swarovski crystals” by London-based design duo Fredrikson Stallard, at the PMQ.

Art Beat
Just in time for Art Basel, the city’s galleries are upping the ante on their exhibits with groundbreaking, expertly curated shows. Check out: “Monumental Sculpture” a solo exhibition of French contemporary artist Jean-Michel Othoniel at Galerie Perrotin“Case Studies” featuring new paintings by Hernan Bas at Lehmann Maupin, “Su Xiaobai: Painting and Being” at Pearl Lam GalleriesAustralian artist Joshua Yeldham at The Cat Street Galleryrenowned photographer Edward Burtynsky at Sundaram Tagore Gallery“Chaos by Rancinan” featuring works by French photographer Gérard Rancinan at Opera Gallery, “Courant Central” featuring recent paintings and sculpture by renowned Spanish artist Miquel Barceló at Ben Brown Fine Arts, “Giacometti: Without End” featuring lithographs, painting, sculpture and drawings of Paris by Swiss artist Alberto Giacometti at Gagosian Gallery, and “New Work” by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Bradford at White Cube.

Groove Is In the Art
Looking for more groundbreaking events to feed your creative side? Check out Chai Wan Mei Art & Design Festival on 16 and 17 May and explore Hong Kong’s grassroots arts scene in this up and coming design district, featuring guerilla art installations, designer pop-ups, interactive performances, book launches, open studio cocktails and their first Chai Wan Nites warehouse party. As a part of the festival, local designer Tangram has teamed up with travel app Spottly and more than 20 designers to put together #CWMVillage, a journey through Hong Kong’s most exciting creative talent on 17 May. Or check out the hidden gem galleries, design spaces and private kitchen restaurants of Wong Chuk Hang at Wong Chuk Hang Art Night on 15 May, 5-11pm. A little closer to town, the largest ever Asia Contemporary Art Show will give you the chance to view and buy original paintings, limited editions, sculpture and photography from some of the world’s most exciting talents, while meeting and greeting with the artists firsthand, from 15 to 18 May at the Conrad Hong Kong.

Artbreak Hotel
Need somewhere to relax away from the hustle and bustle and digest all of this culture? Where better than The Peninsula, where a moving image installation by the legendary Tracey Emin proclaiming her love for Hong Kong with the message “My Heart is With You Always” will light up the façade of the iconic building through 18 May. Inside, the art inspiration continues at avant-garde Philippe Starck designed Felix where an exquisite, art-inspired tasting menu featuring culinary interpretations of famous paintings by Picasso, Matisse, da Vinci and more, will be served with an optional Ruinart Champagne pairing (HK$988 per person, HK$1,388 with Ruinart Champagne pairing). Over at the Langham Place in Mongkok, be transported into the heart of vibrant local food markets in cities throughout Asia with “Asian Market,” an exhibit combining photography and sound by Peter Steinhauer, through 26 May (Langham Place Link Bridge, Level L).  Across the harbour at the Mandarin Oriental, you can sip specially designed cocktails inspired by the various exhibition sectors “Insights”, “Discoveries”, “Encounters” and “Film” at M Bar Afterwards, dine on Michelin-starred Chef Uwe Opocensky’s art-inspired five-course dinner (HK$1,688) or three-course lunch (HK$788) at Mandarin Grill + Baror enjoy a side of art with your afternoon tea at Clipper Lounge, which will feature a ‘Smile’ exhibition showcasing works by emerging HK artists to raise funds for Operation Smile China Medical Mission.

Got all that? We don’t want to give you an art-attack but everything ends 18 May so get out there and enjoy the show!

Art Basel Hong Kong 2014
Wednesday 14 May, 5 – 9pm Vernissage (Invite Only)
Thursday 15 May, 12 – 7pm
Friday 16 May, 12 – 9pm
Saturday 17 May, 12 – 7pm
Sunday 18 May, 12 – 5pm

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