Asia’s Art Cities According to Collectors: Disaphol Chansiri on Bangkok / Chiangmai

ART Power HK

Editor’s Note: There are many sides to modern Asian metropolis, and just as many ways to visit them. For collectors and art lovers, the best way to explore new urban scenarios and learn about a country’s cultural, social and political situation is certainly through contemporary art. However, the question for those who set foot in a new city for the first time is always the same: where do I start my artistic adventure from?

Here at CoBo we have a few, very exciting cues; for our Asia’s Art Cities Guide we have asked the most authoritative local collectors to share their best kept secrets about their own city’s art scene. Whether it is Kim Camacho’s Manila, the Jakarta art scene through the eyes of Tom Tandio, Adrian Cheng’s recommendations about the new cultural districts in Hong Kong, Disaphol Chansiri’s anticipation of the two new biennales in Thailand, Ivan Pun’s exploration in Myanmar, Ichrio Fukano’s highlights on art and lifestyle in Tokyo, the exclusive insights of Tarana Sawhney on Delhi, Higgin Kim’s insider’s take on Seoul, or Zheng Hao’s all-time favourite Shanghai, we want to give you a foray into what these Asian fast-developing cities have to offer.

In conjunction with our collectors art tours, we want to bring you straight to the galleries, art spaces, or informal hangouts that will influence trends for the Asian art scene to come, to see by yourself in which direction the artistic stream is going. If it’s true that exploring the Asian art scene means getting off the beaten path and taking an unconventional look at these vibrant hubs, then wearing the lens of these bunch of top-notch insiders is the best way to do it.


Growing up in a family who was supportive of his passion, the law professor Disaphol Chansiri has enjoyed art since he was very young. He has been collecting art for more than 20 years and considers his collection as a personal diary. He started with Thai modern and contemporary art and later on focused mostly on American art while studying and working in the States, but after moving back to Asia he decided to concentrate more on Asian and Thai contemporary art.


Disaphol Chansiri – Bangkok / Chiangmai


How would you describe the art scene in Thailand?

The art scene is getting more and more interesting every day. We have many new young talented artists, new galleries and young collectors. There are new museums and private collections that enable you to learn about both Thai and international arts. As a result, people pay more attention to art, which changes the whole art scene, and it’s fun.


Where is your favourite art space in town, and why? 

In Bangkok, it is the National Gallery. I love to see all of the old works from the Thai masters.

In Chiangmai, it is the MAIIAM. I love both their permanent collection and exhibitions.


What is the best art event you shouldnt miss in town? 

An art opening at the Jim Thompson House.


Where is the best place to go for an artsy dinner?

Any restaurant located by the Chao Phraya river.


If you wanted to spend one day away from the art crowd, where would you go?

I would walk around the old town area. You can browse in small little shops or sip coffee in one of those original coffee places.


All we want after a busy art tour is a relaxing Thai massage. Where can our readers get the best massage in Thailand?

There is a spa on every corner. You can pick anything from a fancy spa in your hotel to just a small massage parlour down the street. Anywhere in Bangkok is good!


What should we anticipate for the Thai art scene this year?

There will be two art biennials this year, which we are all excited about. So there will be many art programs, shows and talks around town, and you can expect to see great events in Thailand. You have to come and visit us and I am sure you’ll find lots of exciting works by Thai artists.


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