Hong Kong has transformed into an art mecca this month, with enthusiasts the world over descending on the city to enjoy everything from venerable exhibitions at Art Basel Hong Kong to top performances at the Hong Kong Arts Festival. Here are a few of the month’s main events.
Art Basel Hong Kong
The most prestigious art event (March 15 through 17) of the year is back for its third installment — this time bringing in nearly 250 local and international galleries and more than 3,000 artists to the harborside Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. Aimed to please collectors, curators, dealers and casual browsers, Art Basel Hong Kong will be teeming with sensational works in six major categories: Galleries, Discoveries, Insights, Encounters, Magazines and Film. Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is the official hotel partner. Head there for special Art Basel-inspired lunch and dinner menus at the Five-Star Mandarin Grill + Bar. Go on, eat your art out.
Chai Wan Mei
One of the most vibrant festivals on the city’s art circuit is Chai Wan Mei — a creative force that’s taken root in the eponymous neighborhood on Hong Kong Island’s eastern end, where many top talents have flocked to take advantage of larger industrial spaces and lower rents. Between March 14 and 15, be prepared to visit more than 30 locations across the district, featuring large-scale “guerilla” art installations, pop-up workshops and quirky performances that celebrate Hong Kong’s grassroots local art scene. The foodie offerings are seductive, too, with market-style stalls from the likes of Eat Ethio, Hong Kong’s first Ethiopian outlet, and craft brews from Hong Kong Beer Co.
With a focus on regional contemporary art and large-scale installations, Art Central (March 14 through 16) is sure to impress in its inaugural event in Hong Kong. It’s all going down on a specially constructed 107,639-square-foot space along the Central Harbourfront, and 65 percent of the 75 contemporary galleries taking part hail from Asia. Look for highlights such as the “New Ink Generation: Young Artists on What the Classical Ink Painting Tradition Means to Them” forum as well as a talk with a lineup of budding local artists called “Hong Kong Redefined: The Urban Context in Art.” If all the dynamic discussions make you work up an appetite, stop by a pop-up of noted British chef Rowley Leigh’s The Continental.
Hong Kong Arts Festival
Back for its 43rd iteration, the Hong Kong Arts Festival runs through March 29, bringing 1,500 celebrated artists and 137 international performances to the area. Though many of the most anticipated shows like Pink Martini and the Asia premiere of the Bolshoi Opera’s The Tsar’s Bride have already sold out, there are still tickets available for a few highlights, including locally produced chamber opera Datong – The Chinese Utopia (March 20 to 22).
The Asia Contemporary Art Show (through March 15) is back for its sixth edition at Four-Star Conrad Hong Kong. This spring’s show will feature more than 100 exhibitors from 19 countries — and all 3,000 original works of art are available to purchase both in person or online. From limited-edition prints from artists like Antoe Budiono to bronze sculptures from the wife-and-husband team of Gillie and Marc, Asia Contemporary is a must for both veteran and aspiring art collectors alike.