Art Basel Hong Kong 2022 Galleries Report Strong Sales
Several galleries sold out their entire booths, with a number of works breaking the million dollar mark.
Ming Fay, Art Basel in Hong Kong (27–29 May 2022). Courtesy Ocula. Photo: Anakin Yeung.
Galleries recorded steady sales at Art Basel Hong Kong over the weekend, despite challenges including a weaker global economy, postponement from the fair's usual calendar slot in March, and a mandatory seven-day quarantine for overseas visitors.
Alongside a city-wide public programme that included Ellen Pau's moving image work on the M+ Museum LED façade, over 130 galleries presented artworks at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.
A number of galleries sold out their entire booths, including Hong Kong-based de Sarthe Gallery, Tokyo's Take Ninagawa, and Los Angeles-based Anat Ebgi.
White Cube's Wendy Xu reported 'optimistic' results, selling seven works on the opening day for a combined total in excess of US $1.3 million, while Singapore's Gajah Gallery sold most of the artists in their booth.
Shasha Tittmann, Director of Lehmann Maupin said sales 'exceeded expectations'. The gallery placed works by Lari Pittman, McArthur Binion, Erwin Wurm, Billy Childish, Mandy El-Sayegh, and others to Hong Kong and Taiwanese collectors.
There were no sales to rival Joan Mitchell's three-metre-tall abstract painting 12 Hawks at 3 O'Clock (circa 1962), which fetched around US $20 million at last year's fair, but galleries reported more works selling for seven figures.
Among the highest sale prices reported at the fair this year were Yoshitomo Nara's painting Broken Heart Bench (New Castle Version) (2008) for over $4 million and Jonas Wood's Blackwelder Speaker Still Life (2018) for over US $2 million, both sold by Hong Kong's Kwai Fung Hin. George Condo's Pink and White Profile with Green Eye (2021) was sold by Hauser & Wirth to a private museum in South Korea for US $2.65 million.
Art Basel Global Director Marc Spiegler said the fair's steady sales 'reflected the city's growing and engaged collector base, including many first-time buyers.'
The fair also benefited from a hybrid offline and online format, with collectors unable to attend in person exploring the fair through the Art Basel Live: Hong Kong digital programming, which included Online Viewing Rooms, livestreams and guided virtual walkthroughs.
Online viewings and sales were also conducted by galleries through platforms such as WeChat and Whatsapp.
Hong Kong gallerist Pearl Lam observed 'Our international collectors are getting increasingly accustomed to navigating online fairs.'
Pace Gallery took further advantage of the hybrid format by selling four NFTs from Glenn Kaino's 'Baton' (2021) series, each for US $1,000. Minted last year, the Batons are part of a fundraising project in collaboration with Olympic gold medal sprinter Tommie Smith.
'The fair's digital dimension demonstrates the continued growth of online sales and the importance of new virtual formats connecting with ever-broader audiences', Spiegler said. —[O]