With art galleries, museums and events closing around the world, the Art Power HK campaign offers a way for art fans and professionals in the city to keep calm and carry on.
Fruit Bat Bridge at the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre. Courtesy Asia Society Hong Kong Centre.
The spread of COVID-19 put an end to numerous events in March, Hong Kong's biggest month on the contemporary art calendar. Art Basel in Hong Kong responded by launching online showrooms, Sotheby's moved its Hong Kong auctions to New York, and now a group of art professionals have created the Art Power HK campaign, which launches at 3pm Hong Kong time on March 16.
Already, the campaign has signed up nearly 70 partners, including institutions such as Asia Art Archive, Para Site, M+ Hong Kong, auction houses Christie's, Bonhams, and Phillips, and a long list of commercial galleries, including White Cube, Pékin Fine Arts, Massimo De Carlo, Edouard Malingue Gallery, de Sarthe Gallery, Ben Brown Fine Arts, Blindspot Gallery, and 10 Chancery Lane Gallery.
Art Power HK's partners will have their own profiles on the website artpowerhk.com and will be able to share online activities there.
'It is testament to both the power of the arts in Hong Kong and the city's can-do attitude that partners from every sector of the industry have come on board to support the ART Power HK initiative,' said S. Alice Mong, director of the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre, a registered non-profit that will host the campaign and audit its financing.
The initiative is not trying to directly drive art sales, said Rosanna Herries, director at PR firm Sinclair Arts and another member of the Art Power HK working group, but 'looks to extend the reach of all partner programming from across the arts ecosystem.'
'Ultimately ART Power HK looks to harness resources already earmarked for art, culture and design activations in March and allow the conversation to go on, by extending the reach of arts initiatives that are taking place, and enabling partners to take activations online where in person activations are not possible,' Herries said.
The website launch on Monday 16 will be followed by a livestreamed talk at 4pm Hong Kong time entitled The Power of Art, which will include Mong, Katie de Tilly of 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, and be moderated by Christie's Elaine Kwok.
Mong, Herries, Kwok, and de Tilly are all members of Art Power HK's working group, formed on February 10. The others are: Levina Li-Cadman, Art Partners; Alexandra Seno, Asia Art Archive; Georgina Hilton, Christie's; and Kiri Sinclair, Sinclair Arts.
Other online activities planned as part of Art Power HK include pre-recorded and livestreamed exhibition tours, interviews with artists and collectors, studio visits, and webinars. Starting in May, the campaign also plans to organise in-person events such as talks, exhibition openings, VIP events, and workshops. These will be promoted on the website, instagram, facebook and youtube with the hashtags #artpowerhk and #hkart2020.
Herries believes Art Power HK will remain relevant long after COVID-19 has left the headlines.
'Once the situation improves, ART Power HK becomes the anchor that allows the arts community to unite towards a common arts moment,' she said. —[O]