HONG KONG — Hermann Nitsch, one of the founders of the visceral Viennese “Aktionismus,” or Actionism, of the 1960s, has resurfaced with a retrospective of his work at the CIA (Culture Industries Association) gallery, located in the gritty and remote industrial Kwai Hing neighborhood, as if to counter the glamor and frisson of Art Basel Hong Kong. The inscrutable and pseudonymous gallery directors, Juiz and Mr. Outside, curated the retrospective, a first for the city.
HONG KONG — Art Basel Hong Kong, formerly ART HK and brought into the fold of the Art Basel franchise last year by director Magnus Renfrew, is primarily about place, though it thinks it’s about selling art.
HONG KONG — Unlike the Berlin Wall, which began with the division of post-World War II spoils, or the Israeli West Bank barrier, which divides parts of Israel and Palestine, the Shenzhen/Hong Kong fence, or “Frontier Closed Area,” has as much security power as wet tissue paper.
HONG KONG — Eighty-eight studios with over 250 artists participated in this year’s Fotanian Open Studios, which meant unless you wanted a marathon experience you could view only a fraction of what was on display.
CHICAGO — A giant replica of the classic yellow rubber duckie drifted into Hong Kong’s harbor last month. Sailing across the water, bobbing about as if in a giant, public bathtub, the Pop art-inspired duck, created by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman in 2007, is essentially an enlarged version of the “original” rubber duckie.
HONG KONG — I fell in love with Jean Cocteau when I was 19. I spent nights taking photographs of his epic 1930 film The Blood of a Poet frame by frame. The infatuation was similar to one I had with Picasso, whose paintings I copied obsessively, determined to learn the language of the man who made “Guernica.” In both cases, my heart was eventually broken. First, I learned Picasso used women like he used his paintbrushes. Then it transpired that Cocteau was a Nazi sympathizer. It was hard to know where I stood with both artists afterwards.
HONG KONG — The staging of Lygia Pape’s 1968 performance “Divisor” on the streets of Hong Kong was a fantasy I never knew I had, but witnessing it was a dream nonetheless. Presented as part of the current exhibition A Journal of the Plague Year. Fear, Ghosts, Rebels. Sars, Leslie and the Hong Kong Story (May 17–July 20 2013) at the nonprofit space Para Site, this current staging of “Divisor” channels the potency of the seminal work into another context, one defined by the effects of colonialism, plagues, politics, contagion, sterilization, and segregation.
HONG KONG — The Fotanian Open Studios has its roots in 2001, when eight artists from the Chinese University — Lam Tung Pang, Tozer Pak, Tony Ma, Sam Tang, and Gordon Lo — relocated to the industrial neighborhood of Fo Tan after their studio burned down. The group took up residence in the Wah Luen Industrial Building, which now hosts 47 art-related units ranging from shared artist spaces to galleries and design offices, not to mention the studio of ex–Chinese University professor Lui Chun-Kwong.
LOS ANGELES — I love the rain, and especially the aesthetic of rain. I always think back to the work of Hiroshige, whose rainy woodcut prints famously inspired Van Gogh’s impressionistic landscapes.
The internet was atwitter this past month when reports broke of protests at Dolce & Gabbana’s Hong Kong flagship over alleged discrimination.
Despite a very public unveiling of his sculpture in NYC, Ai Weiwei remains missing. A commercial solo show of the artist’s work will go on display at Lisson Gallery in London while protesting graffiti artists were arrested in Hong Kong. Ai’s case still doesn’t look good, says Peter Foster.