State of the Art

Hong Kong Tatler - - To Our Readers - —Wil­liam Zhao Ed­i­tor-at-large for Art and De­sign

The world is chang­ing ever faster and so is Hong Kong. We will soon en­joy the fifth edi­tion of Art Basel, and a num­ber of ma­jor projects are near­ing re­al­i­sa­tion, in­clud­ing M+, to join ini­tia­tives such as the Asia Art Ar­chive, Spring Workshop, Para Site as well as gal­leries and auc­tion houses that are al­ready part of the fab­ric of the city. We have gone from show­ing off our hand­bags to ex­hibit­ing our art col­lec­tions.

This month’s cover story (p.158) fea­tures two giants of the art world. Zeng Fanzhi and Larry Gagosian are lead­ers in their fields. In a rare in­ter­view for pub­li­ca­tion, the duo shared with me fas­ci­nat­ing in­sights into their realm and how they have shaped the art world as we know it to­day.

Among fig­ures shap­ing the lo­cal art scene are four im­por­tant young cu­ra­tors, all women. In Artis­tic Se­lec­tion (p.166), Chloe Street pro­files Chan­tal Wong, Christina Li, Kwok Ying and Venus Lau, re­veal­ing their cu­ra­to­rial philoso­phies. Through their col­lab­o­ra­tions with artists and in­sti­tu­tions, cu­ra­tors such as these are con­tribut­ing to the re­gion’s cul­tural and po­lit­i­cal evolution.

My re­turn to Hong Kong co­in­cided with the ar­rival of the new ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor of M+, Suhanya Raf­fel, a warm and open-minded woman. At this still early stage, M+ is al­ready one of the world’s most for­ward-look­ing mu­se­ums. And the re­vamped Mu­seum of Art and the new cul­tural hub at the old Cen­tral Po­lice Sta­tion will soon be con­tribut­ing to the city’s rapid de­vel­op­ment into an art hub draw­ing in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion. In Com­ing into Fo­cus (p.174), Christo­pher De­wolf as­sesses these and other ex­cit­ing ad­di­tions of cul­tural hard­ware and soft­ware.

Mov­ing over to Europe, we meet France’s dar­ling of de­sign. I have known Herve Van der Straeten for more than 20 years and have wit­nessed his me­te­oric rise. In En­gi­neer­ing Beauty (p.190), Madeleine Ross re­veals a de­signer ob­sessed with per­fec­tion who has at­tracted a num­ber of im­por­tant Hong Kong col­lec­tors. We are proud to be the first magazine in Asia to pub­lish an in­ter­view with him.

There’s plenty more about the arts to read in­side—plus our de­fin­i­tive guide to Art Basel and the mul­ti­tude of events dur­ing Art Week.

Art has an im­por­tant role to play in turn­ing the cur­rent geopo­lit­i­cal tur­moil in Hong Kong and Asia into pos­i­tive en­ergy for the re­gion’s cul­tural evolution. This is­sue shows how some in the art world are not just “part of the pic­ture” but are shap­ing our so­ci­ety. They are the key ac­tors. They are the story and will keep in­spir­ing us.

CRE­ATIVE CRUSADERS Wil­liam Zhao, Larry Gagosian and Zeng Fanzhi at our shoot in New York

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