This week the lovely ladies on our Hong Kong team, Steph and Sybil, have put together a smashing guide to the city’s best art destinations:
“While Hong Kong is still waiting patiently for its first world-class contemporary art museum to be completed in 2017, there is an overwhelming amount of arty activities happening everyday in the city’s burgeoning art scene.
Quite different from other cities, Hong Kong’s best art destinations are not obvious to its visitors. So we’ve decided to break it down into a by-district art guide for those who wish to get the most local art experience.”
Central and Sheung Wan, Hong Kong Island
“Hong Kong’s traditional business and nightlife centre has always been a hub for art galleries. Joined recently by international names including White Cube, Gagosian, Simon Lee, Pearl Lam, Galerie Perrotin, Edouard Malingue and Lehmann Maupin, the district has undoubtedly topped the list of art destinations in Hong Kong. Apart from the big names, independent art spaces, galleries and artist projects, have also been blooming quietly over the years and have something uniquely Hong Kong to offer. You definitely shouldn’t miss the well-established Grotto Fine Art, 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Schoeni Art Galleries, Galerie Ora-Ora, Karin Weber Gallery and Picture This gallery, as well as independent spaces such as Experimenta and 100ft. Park.
Dubbed by CNN Travel as the new funky neighborhood, Poho in Sheung Wan is an irresistible destination for art and design lovers. Not only home to some of the city’s most-loved design firms, retail stores, restaurants and cafés (namely Konzepp I, II & III, Secret Ingredients, Lomography, Tea. Kha, Lampe Berger and Café Loisl), the area also has an amazing selection of art space and galleries.
Para/Site, founded in 1996 by independent artists, is a non-profit space that has since produced some of the most critically acclaimed exhibitions, publications and projects in the history of Hong Kong contemporary art. Asia Art Archive, also a non-profit organization, is a contemporary art archive that aims to make Asian art more accessible. The public can access their library and attend talks by renowned curators and artists in Asia.
Commercial galleries, including The Cat Street Gallery, Identity Gallery, A-lift Gallery and AP Contemporary, can also be found along the streets.
To further explore the western part of the Island, visit Above Second gallery in Sai Wan and 2P Contemporary Art Gallery in Sai Ying Pun.”
Wan Chai and Admiralty, Hong Kong Island
“Wan Chai is quite a paradoxical place to begin with. Home to many of the city’s historical sites (The Blue House, The Yellow House, Old Wan Chai Market), high-end office buildings and a ‘red-light district,’ Wan Chai has more to offer than you could possibly imagine.
Hong Kong Arts Centre, a venue where all sorts of visual art exhibitions, talks and performances are held, is located in the heart of Wan Chai. There are also many galleries and independent art spaces to be discovered in the area, such as Wan Chai Visual Archive, Red Elation Gallery and Asia Fine Art Gallery.
Foo Tak Building, a 14-storey building which looks no different to any other building in Wan Chai from the outside, is fully occupied by art and cultural units. Though not everything is open to the public, you can still get a taste of it in the bookstore on the first level. It is recommended that visitors do their research and get in touch with the artists they’d like to see before paying a visit.
To the west of Wan Chai is the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre (and on the way you should stop off in the Star Street area for a great selection of concept stores, designer boutiques, home décor and vintage shops). A partially adapted and restored old colonial military building, the complex of the Asia Society Hong Kong Centre on Justice Drive is a piece of art in itself. The venue hosts a number of exhibitions, ranging from Rockerfeller’s touring collection to new media installations by local artists.”
Island East, Hong Kong Island
“The newly opened Oi! art space operated by the Art Promotion Office in Fortress Hill, is an adapted historic building built in 1908. The space hosts experimental community art projects and exhibitions. The red brick building and open skyline give a delightful view of the Victoria Harbour.
One of the last industrial areas on the expensive Hong Kong Island, Chai Wan has became a cradle of creativity over the years due to its affordable rental cost. Highlights include: AO Vertical, a photography gallery located in the staircase of Asia One Tower; Platform China, the Hong Kong branch of top Beijing Gallery; Artify Gallery, a newly established art gallery focusing on contemporary print and paper works; Casa Capriz, a European vintage and art store which offers one-of-a-kind items; and Chaiwanese, a café/eatery/exhibition space where you are likely to spot many of the artists and creatives from the neighborhood.”
South Side, Hong Kong Island
“The Ap Lei Chau area is the new ‘place to be’ as an increasing number of art units have set up in the ex-industrial zone in recent years. Top of the list are: Spring Workshop, a large scale exhibition space and artist residency; Blindspot Annex, a raw and industrial space dedicated to contemporary photography; Feast Projects, a multi-disciplinary space focusing on presenting international artists; and Gallery Exit, a commercial gallery which concentrates on promoting emerging, local talent and multi-media art.”
“Seemingly touristic, Yau Ma Tei is quite an adventurous art destination for those who are new to Hong Kong. Hidden away in a residential area, Broadway Cinematheque is a Mecca for cult and independent movie lovers, and the Kubrick bookshop/café next door hosts many different cultural events and talks.
You should also visit unit Woofer Ten, a non-profit art unit promoting community art and addressing political issues in their exhibitions. Yau Ma Tei was also the test ground for the first mobile museum exhibition in Hong Kong, organized by the up and coming contemporary art museum M+.
Predominately an industrial zone, Kwun Tong’s low rental cost and highly adaptable factory buildings have attracted creative units over the years. On the must-see list are the long-established Osage Gallery, a 15,000sq.ft museum-sized contemporary art gallery dedicated to showcasing large-scale multi-disciplinary exhibition; The Cave, a creative collaborative specializing in wood sculptures and furniture designs; Hidden Agenda, a venue for underground music performance; HK Honey, an urban bee farm and design unit on top of an industrial building; and the recently opened Salt Yard, an exhibition space and bookstore dedicated to contemporary photography.
Originally a slaughterhouse, Cattle Depot was renovated and became an artist village in 2001. Currently hosting 1a Space, a non-profit contemporary art space where numerous exhibitions are held, and Videotage, Hong Kong’s first media art space and archive founded back in 1986. Cattle Depot also hosts performances and outdoor installations from time to time. Sound Pocket, Hong Kong’s only organization dedicated to experimental sound art and performance, is located just a few blocks away from the Cattle Depot Artist Village and well worth a look!”