In the Show – 19th May 2009

What a difference a year makes.

The lead sponsor of last year’s Art HK 08, the first Hong Kong art fair, was the Lehman Brothers. The event ended on a high note, having attracted more than 20,000 visitors and sold over US$20 million worth of art. By September, the global credit crunch and the collapse of major financial institutions, including Lehman Brothers, had taken the economy into tough times. With recent premium items doing poorly at auction, and a general drop in the art market, many approached this year’s fair with caution.

Art HK 09, which ended on Sunday, opened with no lead sponsor. However despite the economic downturn, the price of the booths had not dropped.

Instead the rent per square meter had risen from US$450 to US$500. The fair had also increased its floor space by 4,500 square meters. Yet the number of galleries attending had risen from 100 last year to 110 this year. They came from 24 different countries. The organiser said there was something for everyone, with pieces ranging from HK$8,000 to HK$80 million. Many said the downturn has brought both advantages and problems.

In our movie review, Gary Pollard talks to us about “Angels and Demons” which – despite its box-office performance, he says is basically a bad and boring film based on a bad book.

Running until the end of the month in Hong Kong is a festival of Chinese documentaries , organised by veteran local documentary film director Tammy Cheung. Inspired perhaps by the availability of cheaper video production materials documentary is undergoing something of a renaissance in mainland China. Other films in the festival come from Hong Kong, Singapore, and Taiwan.

To see a streaming video of the show, please click here.

Or here’s a video of the Art Fair story

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