Art Basel in Hong Kong
unfolded over five humid days under a mix of sun and clouds. But inside the massive Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, the chill of the air conditioning did little to contain a hot streak of sales.
Art Basel in Hong Kong, now in its fifth edition and boasting more than 240 dealers from 34 countries, was buoyed by the region’s growing collector base, an increasingly international set of visitors, and a high-quality selection of works. Dealers repeatedly cited the increasing sophistication of Asian buyers, which many said was tangibly higher even from last year’s fair.
“Looking around the fair and at what people are bringing, if that’s representative, the market has gotten considerably more sophisticated in the past three or four years,” said Christopher Reynolds, co-founder of Ink Studio
, a four-year old gallery in Beijing specializing in experimental and contemporary Chinese ink art.
He, like many other dealers at Art Basel in Hong Kong, was impressed by how serious Chinese collectors, driven by a “rabid desire to learn” and “an incredible ability to adapt and absorb information,” had been actively educating themselves—visiting museums overseas, reading and learning through social media and their collector peers, and becoming fixtures on the art world’s international circuit of fairs.
“I think the learning curve is quite steep,” he said. “It’s hard to imagine more sophisticated, more capable consumers than we see in China.”