Yahoo! Travel – Not All Business Anymore: Hong Kong’s Art Scene is Booming

January 02, 2015

By Lawrence Ferber

It’s been several months since Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protests broke out, and as far as the city’s steady flood of tourists can tell, life is slowly getting back to normal.

Come spring 2015, Art Basel Hong Kong (March 15-17) will return for its third edition, with hundreds of international galleries and thousands of artists, including familiar New York names.

In fact, NYC’s Gagosian, Pace, Galerie Perrotin, and Lehmann Maupin have opened in Hong Kong over the last several years.

The latter’s David Maupin, whose gallery opened here in March 2013, explains Hong Kong historically is “where cultures collide, do trade and meet. There’s a lot of potential for it to continue to grow into an international art

Although Mainland China is already an established creative hotbed, commerce-driven Hong Kong has finally come around to the cultural and financial importance of a modern art scene.

M+, a nearly 200,000-square-foot, $3 billion contemporary arts center, will be completed in 2017.

Meanwhile, galleries, studios, and creative incubators fill neighborhoods.

On a crawl of bustling Central and Sheung Wan (the latter’s HK’s East Village), I have a tasty dose of pop art at Bibo (163 Hollywood Rd.), a new, funky French restaurant with works by KAWS, Damien Hirst, Banksy, Shepard Fairey, Jean-Michel Basquiat and late local graffiti legend King of Kowloon. Duddell’s is an exhibition space serving high-end Cantonese fare.

Bobo (163 Hollywood Rd.)