May 9, 2014 6:41 pm

Highlights: art in Hong Kong this week

‘By the River Neva in St Petersburg’ (2014) by Wang Xingwei©Chris Kendall

‘By the River Neva in St Petersburg’ (2014) by Wang Xingwei, at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne

The Art Basel Hong Kong fair seems to be having the same effect on the former British colony as Frieze has had on London: triggering a whole swathe of openings and art initiatives.

Just a few years ago the Pedder Building in Central, now the beating heart of the top-end art trade, housed one gallery, alongside cashmere shops and offices. Last year, the joint opening night for the six art dealers now installed in it was so mobbed that guests had to be corralled into a lengthy queue to get in.

This year’s “Art Basel Hong Kong week” kicks off on May 13 with, in Pedder, openings of the Rothko-esque Chinese painter Su Xiaobai at Pearl Lam; Miquel Barceló at Ben Brown; Toby Ziegler at Simon Lee; Hernan Bas at Lehmann Maupin; Giacometti at Gagosian; and Gu Wenda at Hanart TZ. In the nearby Entertainment Building, Pace is showing Zhang Xiaogang, and Axel Vervoordt unveils its new premises with El Anatsui. A hop, skip and jump away, White Cube offers Mark Bradford, while Perrotin, in its breathtaking gallery on an upper floor, shows Jean-Michel Othoniel and Ryan McGinley.

'Her permanent mark on him’ (2014) by Melora Kuhn©Chris Kendall

'Her permanent mark on him’ (2014) by Melora Kuhn, at Galerie Eigen + Art

These are the heavyweight galleries, but smaller ones are popping up everywhere in grittier industrial districts (the rents in Central are sky-high) – and present a chance to see what’s happening on the ground in the territory. On May 15, the Wong Chuk Hang Art Night includes Blindspot and Pékin Fine Arts, and in the Foton area there are 200 artists’ studios to be visited. The Chai Wan Mei festival on May 16 and 17 brings together 60 artists and 40 studios for a weekend of exhibitions, performances, installations and workshops. And not to miss: the always excellent non-profit Para Site – with an intriguing Sex in Hong Kong show – and Asia Society’s exhibition of Xu Bing in its Admiralty building, a former explosives store. Bang!

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