Art Basel Hong Kong 2024 shaping up to be biggest in 5 years, with 242 exhibitors signing up for event in March

Hong Kong’s Art Basel is shaping up to be the biggest in five years, organisers have revealed just weeks after a report showed wealthy collectors were eager to buy amid a period of economic uncertainty.

The number of exhibitors who have signed up for Art Basel Hong Kong has reached 242, a number last seen in 2019, with 40 countries and territories taking part, event director Angelle Siyang-Le on Tuesday said.

The figure for the 2024 event represents a 37 per cent increase from this year’s 177.

“Our goal is to connect guests from all around the world in our home, Hong Kong, by offering possibilities of collaboration and innovation inspired by art and artists,” she said.

“As the key strategic cultural hub in Asia and the Asia-Pacific, the city plays an important role, more than ever, in bridging the evolving art landscape across regions.”

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The event will be held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 28 to 30, with previews available two days before launch.

The uptick in participating galleries marks a change in fortunes after Hong Kong contended with three years under the pandemic, which prompted organisers to cancel the event in 2020, before running smaller-scale fairs in 2021 and 2022.

Before the pandemic, Art Basel Hong Kong welcomed 242 exhibitors for its 2019 event, with the figure dropping to 104 and 130 for 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Among the exhibitors joining next year’s event, 25 are international galleries making their debut in Hong Kong and another 68 are returning after a brief hiatus.

Galleries making a comeback include Galerie Lelong & Co from France, Italy’s Galleria d’Arte Maggiore G.A.M, as well as Kurimanzutto and Experimenter from Mexico and India, respectively.

Art Basel cancelled its event in Hong Kong in 2020 due to the pandemic, before opting for smaller fairs for the next two years. Photo: Elson Li

Exhibitors coming to the arts fair in Hong Kong for the first time consist of galleries from locations such as Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Ghana, New Zealand and Portugal.

Earlier this month, Art Basel and its lead partner UBS found its event in spring had fuelled a 59 per cent jump in Hong Kong art exports during the first quarter of this year compared with the same period in 2022.

A joint report from the Swiss-based investment bank and global fair also showed sales at art auctions around the world in the first half of the year declined 16 per cent compared with the same period in 2022.

But they said high-net-worth collectors intended to buy more art next year as they were more optimistic about the market than stock investments.

The Hong Kong government earlier expressed hope that mega events, such as the art fair, could boost tourism and the wider economy.

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Authorities aim to revitalise the city’s prospects after they downgraded this year’s growth estimate from an increase of 4 to 5 per cent to a more sluggish 3.2 per cent.

Last year, the economy shrank 3.5 per cent year-on-year.

Fresh from the recent Apec forum, Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po over the weekend said that world leaders were concerned about the prospects for a global economic recovery.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, which brings together 21-member economies, held its first post-pandemic meeting last week in San Francisco.

Hong Kong’s finance chief said state leaders at the event believed it would take two to three years before the world economy returned to pre-pandemic levels, with the current high-interest-rate regime expected to continue for the foreseeable future.


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