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Hong Kong's art edge over Singapore

The competition between Hong Kong and Singapore heats up, as art shows become bigger and new museums open

Published on May 27, 2014 3:15 PM

In the game of winning hearts, minds and wallets for art in Asia, Singapore may offer keen competition but few in the art world will dispute Hong Kong's current pole position.

Its edge was highlighted at the recent Art Basel in Hong Kong, which ended on May 18.

Into its second year, the prestigious five-day fair with roots in Basel, Switzerland, drew more than 65,000 visitors, including prominent art collectors from around the world, and chalked up strong sales for many of the 245 participating galleries.

The top-selling work among reported sales was the bronze sculpture Gorille, 1970/1984, by artist Francoi-Xavier Lalanne, which had a retail price of €1 million (S$1.7 million).

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Background story

“Comparing the two cities, Hong Kong may have an edge over us when it comes to being more dynamic and having more private initiative; you see this in the development of its art market.”

Mr Lee Weng Choy, 50, president of the Singapore section of the International Association of Art Critics

“I never see art or culture as doing things up against each other. You do in each city things that work in your city and, hopefully, what is needed in that place, what is the most relevant thing to do.”

Mr Lars Nittve, museum director of Hong Kong’s M+