Review: Art Basel Hong Kong 2021
Sadly, we weren't able to do our yearly pilgrimage to Hong Kong for the postponed edition of Art Basel Hong Kong 2021 but are excited to see the art fairs springing back to life. After Art Dubai back in April, MARFA Invitational in TX and Frieze in NYC earlier this month, it is exciting to receive images of the gallery booths of the world's biggest art fair with visitors in them after a year and a half of standstill.
As per usual, Art Basel brought in the big guns, even in its somewhat reduced and modified format. Returning to the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC) with 104 galleries from 23 countries and territories, this year's show features 56 satellite booths by galleries who could not physically attend. Also, the new Art Basel Live: Hong Kong initiative has been developed in an effort to broadcast the show to a global audience through Online Viewing Rooms, a program of special events, as well as live broadcasts and virtual walkthroughs for VIPs from the HKCEC and throughout the city.
As one of the highlights the organizers pointed out Rirkrit Tiravanija's presentation of paintings inspired by Philip Guston at Gladstone Gallery. As part of artist's ongoing efforts to make ‘oblique’ or ‘poetic’ work by including elements repurposed from other, older artworks, these paintings are addressing the contemporary political crises through Guston's iconic imagery. And aside from the heavy weights such as Yoshitomo Nara at Pace Gallery, Lisa Yuskavage at Zwirner, or George Condo at Hauser & Wirth, as well as our all time favorites like Barry McGee at Perrotin or Bendt Eyckermans and Issy Wood over at Carlos/Ishikawa, it's great to see a ton of fresh, familiar names which are showing at this big stage for the first time. One of them is Roby Dwi Antono whose work is in the spotlight over at Nanzuka's booth, our friend Greg Ito has a solo installation with Anat Ebgi and Chinese boundary-breaking bad boy ¥ouada ada is presented by Ota Fine Arts. Karma is presenting a few showstopping examples by Dike Blair, Scott Kahn has a great solo presentation at François Ghebaly, and so is Elizabeth Glaessner over at P.P.O.W. well as Hun Kyu Kim at High Art. Some other favorites include Miriam Cahn's haunting portraits with Sies + Höke and Meyer Riegger, Marina Cruz' mind-bending fabrics depictions at Mind Set Art Center, and elegant and quirky figure-based works by Xin Ji at Hive Center for Contemporary Art.
We're bringing a selection of a few of our personal favorites here, and encouraging you to visit the fair online, find your own gems, and learn more about artists you already knew or new names you might be discovering along the way. —Sasha Bogojev