Any number of people could have acquired them—the fair was attended by collectors such as Uli Sigg, Patrizia Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, and Adrian Cheng, as well as museum directors such as LACMA
’s Michael Govan, the Guggenheim
’s Richard Armstrong, Philip Tinari of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
and the Serpentine
’s Hans Ulrich Obrist and Yana Peel. But the main subset of fairgoing celebrities were the scads of artists hanging around: among those spotted were Paul McCarthy,
“I’ve never seen this many artists at a fair,” said Lisson
international director Alex Logsdail, who sold paintings in the range of $80,000 to $150,000 by
in the presence of Stanley Whitney himself, who was hanging in the booth for much of the day.
The biggest artist-is-present moment happened around 4:00 p.m. at the David Zwirner
booth, where dealers reported a strong day of sales, including a work by
that sold for $1 million, and a lot of interest in the main attraction: a suite of works, on sale for between $2.5 and $8.5 million, by the artist
“We like to feature artists at art fairs, and with Jeff, well, you don’t have to introduce Jeff Koons,” said Zwirner, standing next to Koons’s enormous stainless steel sculpture Bluebird Planter (2010-2016). “However, as we are getting more serious in Asia opening our gallery, it’s an honor to have one of the greatest living American artists at the fair.”
And then Koons himself walked up to the booth, grinning with the aura of a rock star, and trailed by a line of selfie-seekers and crowds of people craning their arms to take pictures of him in front of the work. He was wearing an exhibitor’s badge around his neck that said “JEFF KOONS” under his picture, in case no one recognized him. And at one point, he did his signature
arm-swoop motion in front of Bluebird Planter
, and a wave of iPhones were thrust into the air to get the perfect Instagram shot.
“[Hong Kong] is a city where so many people come together from different parts of Asia,” Koons said, adding he was enjoying partaking in “the enthusiasm, the love of art, the belief in sharing its possibilities with people.”
Koons admitted that he’s not a regular guest at art fairs, where he often has work but doesn’t need to be present for it to sell. And yet, he’s enjoyed the energy of being here, and seeing a newly ascendant collector base so enthusiastic about art that someone, regardless of whether or not they are an Asian collector, could make the decision to spend $35 million on a single picture at an art fair in China.
“It’s so alive here that it reminds me of my youth, when I just got involved with the art world and could feel the passion from all my friends in the community,” Koons said. “You feel that here.”