Best in Show

Cristina Sanchez-Kozyreva at the 5th Art Basel Hong Kong

Left: Dealer Pilar Corrias. Right: Collector Duncan Zheng and artist Ming Wong.

“THERE ARE MORE PEOPLE in this room than there are in all of Marfa, Texas. Although—it’s just as international,” said Chinati Foundation director Jenny Moore to an agreeable Jay Jopling.

It was Monday night, and we were at the Balinese Potato Head’s bar in Sai Ying Pun celebrating the opening of Theaster Gates’s solo show as well as the soon-to-open fifth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. And the crowds were international indeed, including patrons Ivan Pun and Alan Lo, artists Carlos García de la Nuez and Eddi Prabandono, collector Serge Tiroche, RA’s Tim Marlow, and Taipei-based model and designer Leslie Sun.

I rolled into the party directly from my delayed flight, missing by a few hours the launch of satellite fair Art Central’s third edition (hosting more than ninety galleries in a large white harbor-side tent) and, in town, a cosmopolitan selection of shows celebrating mostly male artists (with the refreshing exceptions of Su-Mei Tse at Edouard Malingue and Tatiana Trouvé at Galerie Perrotin). The Pedder building alone introduced Do Ho Suh at Lehmann Maupin, Urs Fischer at Gagosian, Kim Tschang Yeul at Pearl Lam, “Roland Flexner – Ai Weiwei” at Massimo De Carlo, Heinz Mack at Ben Brown, Mel Bochner at Simon Lee, and a lively retrospective of paintings by Panama-born Hong Kong artist Luis Chan at Hanart TZ Gallery. “Welcome to my room,” Gates cheered as I settled into the plush interiors hidden at the back of the restaurant, where an elated crowd jigged about to disco. The good mood later relocated to the dark nightclub Cassio, where we joined Edouard and Lorraine Malingue, Marcel Crespo, Nadia Chan, George Armaos, and Art Basel director Marc Spiegler dancing into the night.

Left: STPI's Emi Eu, artist Daniel Boyd, and art historian Ulrike Kasas. Right: Art Basel’s Iciar Mangas, collector Marcella Ciacci, Albertine Kopp, and collector Yang Bin.

“Please check the Insights section and tell me what you think,” invited the industrious head of Art Basel in Asia, Adeline Ooi, during the surprisingly busy private view of Art Basel Hong Kong, which opened its doors to VIPs at 3 PM on Tuesday. She was referring to the exclusively Asian section of the fair. Overall, I preferred the less-mature presentations by emerging artists in the Discoveries section, but then there’s really no point caviling about what many agreed was the best edition of the fair so far—and a further assertion of the brand in their newest region of conquest.

“The same high standards, but each fair has its local flavor,” said Stefan Benchoam of Proyectos Ultravioleta, visiting from Guatemala. “I particularly like this one because I don’t know anything about it.” It was a reminder of what art does best, that even its most commercial embodiments encourage cross-borders openness. “Amazing!” “Wow!” “Incredible!” and “Oh la la!” were the enthusiastic reactions to Huang Yong Ping’s virtual-reality headset at Kamel Mennour’s booth, where one could revisit the artist’s Empires project at the Grand Palais during the last Monumenta. It happened to be one of many VR sensations this year. (Others include Asia Art Archives’ re-creation of Guangzhou in the 1990s and Zaha Hadid paintings brought to life in her exhibition at Taikoo Place, as well as various works produced as part of a partnership between the fair and Google Arts & Culture.)

That evening, galleries Esther Schipper, Neugerriemschneider, STPI, Take Ninagawa, and Urs Meile organized a dim sum feast at Duddell’s with an eclectic crowd including artists Rirkrit Tiravanija, Ryan Gander, Tobias Rehberger, and Daniel Boyd, curators Christina Li and Alexie Glass-Kantor, and Fondation Galeries Lafayette director François Quintin. Afterward, we caught up with those leaving Kukje/Tina Kim’s dinner at SEVVA and bounced from one party to the next, joining Sadie Coles and Shane Akeroyd at Salon 10, lasting a few crowded minutes at the M Woods party at the Studio, and dancing with the waiters at Cassio.

Left: Arternativ’s Eva Ruiz and collector Alain Servais. Right: Collector Edo Jansen with artists Filippo Sciacia and Marco Cassani.

On Wednesday, I joined Michael Lin for nibbles and wine at a reception whose organizers would rather us leave the details anonymous. We discussed the shifting art scenes between Beijing and Shanghai with Rockbund museum curator Li Qi and artists Rania Ho and Wang Wei, whose mosaic floor is one of the more notable installations in the Encounters section of the fair. I barely managed to make it past the bouncers at Ophelia for the BMW art journey cocktail reception with adviser András Szántó; thankfully we were ushered in by Hedwig Solis Weinstein. “What do you think? I found her in Shenzhen!” Tolga Albayrak said excitedly, pointing to ChaCha, the Chinese R&B singer on stage—indeed, pretty excellent.

I ran into artists Ho Tzu Nyen, Cao Fei, and Lim Tzay Chuen, Fei’s husband, in a VIP section at the back, and there we pondered our options: Asian Dope Boys with Justin Shoulder at de Sarthe’s new space in Wong Chuk Hang (we later heard that it was great and loud), Empty Gallery’s party for Takeshi Murata (a friend texted me that “the music is sick!”) or Takashi Murakami’s and Galerie Perrotin party at Bibo. We ended up at Ping Pong for the Serious Adult Dance Party organized by Adrian Cheng, Klaus Biesenbach, and Linyao Kiki Liu to celebrate K11 and MoMA PS1’s .com/.cn show. There wasn’t much dancing—probably because it was so packed. But there were plenty of serious adults, including Shanghai Art 21’s Thomas Wüstenhagen, artists Morgan Wong, Trevor Yeung, Yu Cheng-Ta, Cedric Maridet, and Ming Wong, Qiqi from Tai Kwun, Ingrid Chu, and Mathieu Borysevicz—among many, many others.

The next day we stopped at the Pawn for collector Yang Bin’s wine sharing. “I collect art, but also wine,” he said as he poured us a Chateau Labegorce Margaux 2000 from a Nebuchadnezzar-size bottle. We then crossed the harbor toward the Harilela Mansion, where the family was hosting Alia Al-Senussi’s party for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The main bar was covered with bamboo and topped with an image of a bald eagle, while the corridors had LACMA-branded red lanterns. I ran into artist Ari Benjamin Meyers, whose show at Spring Workshop is powerful by all accounts. (Also not to be missed were “Soil and Stones, Souls and Songs” at Para Site, and the anthropological “Ambiguously Yours: Gender in Hong Kong Popular Culture” at the M+ pavilion.) LACMA director Michael Govan and other guests queued to talk to the fortune-teller in the lounge—though I think that she said the same thing to all of us: “You had many family and work pressures in the last ten years, but from now on, everything only gets better.” One can only hope.

After more dim sum, noodles, and cardamom-infused coffee, we hit the dance floor with a passion to a retro playlist. “I can’t believe they are playing this song! It was my first kiss,” sighed DIS magazine’s Marco Roso as we swayed to the Communards’ “Don’t Leave Me This Way.” Of course, everyone ended up at Cassio again, but it seems more appropriate to conclude with this romantic flashback, which gives a nice tinge to a week of art parties mostly oblivious to the otherwise ugly news of our time.

Left: Artist Heman Chong and curator Alia Swastika. Right: Artist Eddie Hara and dealer Biantoro Santoso.

Left: Artist Jon Wang. Right: Artist Urs Fischer.

Left: Artists Carlos García de la Nuez, Eddi Prabandono, and Amanda Sunindar. Right: Artist Matt Connors, dealers Sadie Coles and John O'Doherty.

Left: Artist Zean Cabangis, dealer Tina Fernandez with actors and collectors Aga and Charlene Muhlach. Right: Artists Tobias Gutmann, Hahan (Uji Hahan Handoko), and curator David Teh.

Left: Artists Ho Tzu Nyen, Cao Fei, and Lim Tzay Chuen. Right: Artist Philip Colbert and Adi ‘Ceri’ Hong-Tan of Friends of Jakarta Museums Foundation.

Left: Artists Kathleen Ryan, Gavin Kenyon, Adrian Wong, dealer Martin Kemble, architect Betty Ng, artist Howie Tsui, and Luc Richner. Right: Artists Morgan Wong and Trevor Yeung with Tai Kwun's ‘Qiqi’ Xue Tan.

Left: BMW’s Hedwig Solis Weinstein and Thomas Girst. Right: Patron and filmmaker Elaine Forsgate Marden and 1335 Mabini's Luigi Singson.

Left: Collector Melani Setiawan. Right: Collector Chong Zhou.

Left: Collector Shane Akeroyd and Herald St's Nicky Verber. Right: Collector Serge Tiroche and RA’s Tim Marlow.

Left: Curator Iola Lenzi and husband Jean-Louis Morisot. Right: Curator Alexie Glass-Kantor, Fondation Galeries Lafayette director François Quintin, and Artspace's Michelle Newton and Ann Shoebridge.

Left: Dealer Isabella Bortolozi. Right: Dealer Shugo Satani.

Left: Art 21's Thomas Wüstenhagen and Art Basel's Dunja Gottweis. Right: CCA Singapore's Ute Meta Bauer with Victoria Miro's Glenn Scott Wright.

Left: Dealer Selma Feriani. Right: Dealer Daniel Wichelhaus.

Left: Dealers Philippe Charpentier and Alex Mor. Right: Dealer Olivier Babin.

Left: Delfina Foundation director Aaron Cezar and Pearl Lam's Joseph Ng. Right: Director Istanbul Contemporary Kamiar Maleki and Australia China Art Foundation Yashian Schauble.

Left: Designer Chris Rehberger, artist Tobias Rehberger, and Barbara Mair. Right: Potato Head's Sandra Akili and Art Basel's Amalia Wirjono.

Left: Kochi-Muziris biennial founder Bose Krishnamachari. Right: Gallery Hyundai's Lee Wonjoon.

Left: Kukje Gallery's Sabinne Cheon. Right: DJ Gigi Tequila Lee.

Left: Pi Artworks’ Marcel Swagers and Yesim Turanli. Right: Soundpocket’s Rachel Wong and artist Chow Chun Fai.

Left: Potato Head's Ronald Akili and Element Art Space’s Aniela Rahardja. Right: Pun + Projects' Ivan Pun and Classified Group’s Alan Lo.

Left: PPOW’s Trey Hollis. Right: Team Gallery’s José Freire.

Left: Tolga Albayrak. Right: BANK’s Mathieu Borysevicz and artist Ming Wong.

Left: Aike-Dellarco's Adrian Wang and Roberto Ceresia. Right: Dealer Sean Kelly.

Left: Kukje Gallery CEO Hyun-Sook Lee and dealer Tina Kim. Right: Platform China director Sun Ning with collectors Li Huina and Huang Yu.

Left: Art Basel Americas director Noah Horowitz, Duddell's cofounder Alan Lo, and Art Basel director Marc Spiegler. Right: Art Basel Asia director Adeline Ooi.

Left: Vitamin Creative Space's Zhang Wei. Right: Spring Workshop founder Mimi Brown, UBS's Deborah Ehrlich, and Art Basel's Noah Horowitz.

Left: Collector Uli Sigg. Right: Artist Bharti Kher, Art Basel’s Alia Al-Senussi, and artist Subodh Gupta.

Left: Dealer Lorraine Malingue, artist Su-Mei Tse, and dealer Edouard Malingue. Right: Bellas Artes Projects and Dhaka Art Summit's Diana Cambell Betancourt with director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art Philip Tinari.

Left: Dealer Waling Boers. Right: LEAP publisher Cao Dan and M+ curator Pi Li.

Left: Spring Workshop curator Christina Li. Right: Artist Shi Yong and dealer Lorenz Helbling.

Left: White Cube's Will Davies, artist Theaster Gates, and Leslie Sun. Right: Dealer Leo Xu.

Left: Artist Do Ho Suh. Right: Fortune teller and Los Angeles County Museum of Art director Michael Govan.

Left: Beijing Commune's Lu Jingjing with Jessica Zhang. Right: Artist Takashi Murakami.

Left: Artists Ari Benjamin Meyers and Ayumi Paul with writer Amy Sherlock. Right: Things That Can Happen's Chantal Wong and dealer Jennifer Caroline Ellis.

Left: Chinati Foundation director Jenny Moore with dealer Jay Jopling. Right: Si Shang Art Museum's Maria Grzywacz and Kiki Liu.

Left: Artist Bingyi. Right: Shanghai Himalayas Museum director Yongwoo Lee and Serpentine Gallery director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Left: Artist Zhang Xiaogang, dealer Johnson Chang, and Liu Jianhua. Right: Para Site director Cosmin Costinas and Serpentine Gallery CEO Yana Peel.

Left: PKM Gallery director SiYoung Hur. Right: Artist Kimsooja and Kukje Gallery's Zoe Chun.

Left: Dealer Atsuko Ninagawa. Right: Dealer Kamel Mennour.

Left: Artist Cheng Ran. Right: Tom and Musa Mayer with dealers Katie de Tilly and Georges de Tilly.

Left: Dealers Karin Seiz and Urs Meile. Right: ChaCha.

Left: Dealer Amadeo Kraupa-Tuskany, Antenna Space's Simon Wang, and dealer Nadine Zeidler. Right: Silverlens Galleries' Isa Lorenzo.

Left: One and J Gallery's Wong Jae Park and Patrick Lee. Right: A+ Contemporary artistic director Yuyun Chiang.

Left: Dealer Alfonso Artiaco. Right: Dealer Sundaram Tagore.

Left: Artists Ryan Gander, Rirkrit Tiravanija, and Daniel Boyd. Right: MoMA PS1's Angela Goding, Sarah Arison, Si Shang Art Museum's Linyao Kiki Liu, and MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach.

Left: Empty Gallery's Stephen Cheng, Gagosian's Nadia Chan, and collector Stefan Rihs. Right: Artist Mr.

Left: 303 Gallery's Cristian Alexa and Kathryn Erdman. Right: Blain Southern's Sarah Bourghardt and Art Basel's Iciar S-Mangas.

Left: Advisor András Szántó. Right: Advisor Silvie Seidlitz and artist Monica Ferreras.

Left: Davidoff Art Initiative's Albertine Kopp, artist Zeng Fanzhi, Davidoff CEO Hans-Kristian Hoejsgaard, CEO of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art May Xue. Right: Spring Workshop's Christina Li, artists Samson Young and Ari Benjamin Meiers, and Frieze's Amy Sherlock.

Left: Ari Benjamin Meiers performance at Spring Workshop. Right: Jazz at Hanart.