Hong Kong’s autumn auction season wraps up, while the long-awaited reopening of the Hong Kong Museum of Art finally arrives.
TEXT: CoBo News
IMAGES: Courtesy various
Hong Kong Auction Season Puts On A Strong Show
Christie’s auction sales totalled at US$337 million from 22-27 November, and Bonhams and Phillips selling most of its lots and making new records.
Highlights included Sanyu’s Five Nudes (1950) leading Christie’s sales at a record US$39 million, breaking auction record for the Chinese artist. At Bonhams’ Modern and Contemporary Art Sale in Hong Kong on 25 November, minimalist artist Richard Lin’s early work 14-MAY-1959sold for HK$2,500,625, taking the top lot. Phillips’ 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale saw four works sold over US$1.2 million, including a Jean-Michel Basquiat that sold for US$4million.
In more auction news, across the world in London, Christie’s will be the first auction house to put on the block a mixed reality work—Marina Abramović’s The Life (2019) with an estimate amounting to US$774,000 next October during its Frieze Week sales.
Art Basel Woes Continue
Art Basel is in the news for all the wrong reasons these days. Aside from the possibly overhyped will-they-won’t-they discourse about the upcoming Hong Kong edition, Art Basel made headlines this week for the last minute cancellation of a new initiative set to take place in Abu Dhabi in 2020. Charging a hefty US$15,000 for admission, the event known as Art Basel Inside, which was supposed to involve numerous scholars, thought leaders and professionals in the field of science, technology, finance and art discussing global issues, was announced in September earlier this year and had been slated for February 2020.
Museums Go Big or Go Home
After four years of renovations and an expansion amounting to US$119 million, the Hong Kong Museum of Art finally reopened this week with a press preview held on 29 November and public opening beginning from tomorrow (30 November). The newly revamped museum, under the leadership of new museum director, Dr. Maria Mok, saw increased exhibition spaces, a contemporized external façade, and an expanded museum team as well as the introduction of various efforts geared towards visitor engagement in its efforts to become a mainstay Hong Kong museum.
Meanwhile in Japan, Van Gogh’s iconic work Sunflowers (1888) will be going on a whirlwind tour through 2020, making an appearance at the National Museum of Western Art in Tokyo in March and Osaka’s National Museum of Art in July. The work will also then be shown at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra in November. This is part of the travelling exhibition “Botticelli to Van Gogh: Masterpieces from the National Gallery, London.”
Across the pond at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, last Friday, employees announced their formal intention to form a union with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). This week, employees submitted their union cards to the National Labor Relations Board reportedly citing “low wages relative to experience, lack of benefits, schedule instability, and high turnover as some of the reasons behind their decision to unionize.”
Diversity is the Name of the Game (or Not)
Public Art Fund in New York appointed four new members to its board of directors including renowned Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei. The Fund’s other new members are Ellen Celli, designer and co-chair of the Whitney Museum of American Art’s education committee, New York based philanthropist and collector Andrea Krantz, Ruthard C. Murphy who sits on committees at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Modern Art.
Not to be outdone, the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM) announced its first non-European president this week—Mami Kataoka, Deputy Director and Chief Curator at Mori Art Museum. Kataoka will also be stepping into her new role as Director of Mori Art Museum in January 2020.
Long-time arts administrator Yves Robert has been appointed to replace the departing Sylvie Burgat, currently Chief Executive of La Biennale de Lyon which is the non-profit organisation behind the widely regarded Lyon Biennale in France. Burgat will be leaving end of this year.