Changes at Art Basel Hong Kong Ahead of 2023 Edition
By The Editors
As Art Basel plans to relaunch its beleaguered Hong Kong edition following the recent end of mandatory hotel quarantine-on-arrival in the city, the Swiss fair announced changes in its leadership. Angelle Siyang-Le, Art Basel’s head of development for greater China and previously the regional head of gallery relations for Asia, was named the new director of Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK). Adeline Ooi, retaining her title as Director Asia, will divide her time between Hong Kong and the rest of Asia, and focus on developing Art Basel’s other initiatives in the region, according to the announcement on November 17.
At the same time, Art Basel Hong Kong revealed that 171 international galleries will participate in the upcoming 2023 edition, which will take place once more on two floors of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from March 23 to 25. The fair will present more than 12 large-scale artworks of the Encounters section, again curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor of Artspace, Sydney, as in pre-pandemic editions. ABHK will also reprise the Kabinett section of thematic presentations within the Galleries sector, as the fair returns to almost full form for the first time since 2019.
Before the Hong Kong government imposed travel restrictions barring tourists and unvaccinated residents from entering the Chinese special administrative region, Art Basel Hong Kong boasted roughly 240 galleries annually. In May 2022, when visitors to Hong Kong still had to pay for seven days of hotel confinement, just 137 galleries participated, many of which opted for small satellite booths staffed by temporary hires. The previous year, the fair had hosted just 104 galleries.
The full lineup of galleries includes 21 first-time exhibitors from across the world, including mainland China, India, Japan, Nigeria, South Africa, South Korea, and Taiwan. There will be 129 participants in the Galleries sector; 19 galleries in the Asia-focused Insight section; and 23 galleries in Discoveries for younger artists and galleries.
Siyang-Le’s elevation to run the Hong Kong edition comes after Art Basel’s appointment of Noah Horowitz as CEO, replacing global director Marc Spiegler in November. Other recent additions to the Hong Kong team include the new general manager Gil Schorr and Reimi Imaizumi taking over the role of senior manager of VIP relations for Asia.
Hong Kong still faces economic headwinds as travel to, and within, mainland China is difficult due to quarantine requirements and other restrictions on movement. Currently Hong Kong requires visitors to perform 7 days of testing on arrival (a combination of PCR tests at local community centers and self-administered rapid antigen tests), and prohibits visitors from visiting bars, restaurants, or gyms for the first three days. Additionally, face masks must be worn at indoor and outdoor locations (except while eating or drinking), and a vaccine pass is legally required to enter most indoor venues.