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Art Basel Hong Kong 2016 | Oldies Are Goodies

Technically, not all of the artworks/artists in this post are old. The artworks in this post are by artists well-loved and familiar to most, whether of contemporary art or of modern art of the 19th/20th centuries. For all of the new faces of contemporary art in my first review post, there was notably a number of works by a few select artists shown across the fair. Compared to the last two years, there was also a lot more of modern art to appeal to the shift in buyers’ tastes for modern art, which is always welcome by me.


Anish Kapoor, Untitled (Stellar Green Pearl / Transparent Black), 2014, aluminium and paint, kamel mennour


Anish Kapoor, Mirror (Magenta), 2016, stainless steel and lacquer, Kukje Gallery


Julian Opie, Runners (individual titles: Running men; Running women), 2015, pair of screenprints, Alan Cristea Gallery

Looks like Julian Opie’s theme for the year is all about exercise and running…


Julian Opie, Soldier and Pilot, I., 2015, vinyl on wooden stretcher, Lisson Gallery


Julian Opie, Teacher and Waiter, I., 2015, vinyl on wooden stretcher, Lisson Gallery


Julian Opie, Plastic Umbrella, 2014, silkscreen on painted wooden board, Gerhardsen Gemer


Julian Opie, Kukje Gallery

There were also these two works that are not part of the exercise theme and are more in line with his images of city walking, a lot of which was shown at Art Basel in Hong Kong last year. I missed getting the didactic for this last artwork, but it’s a moving image of women walking continuously over and over again.


Lee Ufan, Dialogue, 2014, oil on canvas, Lisson Gallery


Lee Ufan, Dialogue, 2015, oil on canvas, Kukje Gallery


Lee Ufan, Correspondence, 1995, oil on canvas, Ben Brown Fine Arts

Lee Ufan (이우환) is Korea’s answer to a Minimalist artist, and his works with a smooth dab of paint in the middle of a large white canvas are always around at Art Basel Hong Kong. I’m not really a fan of any kind of Minimalism, but I guess the precision and simplicity of such works appeal to people.


Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Last Light), 1993, light bulbs, extension cord, plastic light sockets, dimmer switch, Andrea Rosen Gallery


Morimura Yasumasa, Portrait (Futago), 1988, type C print, transparent medium, frame, ShugoArts

This was such an art history moment!! Granted, this probably looks really out there for first-time viewers, so a bit of background is needed here. Morimura is a well-known Japanese appropriation artist, and his photography features him dressed up and acting after models in famous paintings, artists, and famous figures in history, whether male or female. This work appropriates Édouard Manet’s Olympia (1863), an art history favorite, which at the time of its showing outraged viewers for its depiction of a prostitute holding a boldly confrontational stare. Traditionally, (male) artists painted female mythological figures in the nude that made it comfortable for the “male gaze,” since they were not “real” people and most never look directly towards the viewer. Manet however started something new, and while not particularly appreciated at the time for his efforts, he is now often known as the artist who began the wave of modern art.

Morimura’s enactment of the scene of Olympia is more extravagant but he gets the details of the painting down pat. He adds a Japanese flair to his work, with the black waving cat at the right corner and the blanket with a gold crane motif. Morimura’s work has come up in class on quite a few occasions, so it was great to see a properly blown up version of this photograph at the fair!


Keith Haring, Untitled, 1989, acrylic on canvas, Gladstone Gallery


Tracey Emin, You Saved Me, Galleria Lorcan O’Neill Roma

Not all of Emin’s works appeal to me, but I’m a big fan of her neon word art. There really needs to be a Tracey Emin font.

Also, I found the showing of this work at the fair over the Easter weekend nicely fitting, since it ties in with the commemoration of Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. :D


Alexander Calder, Small Moths, 1974, Dominique Lévy

One of my favorites by Calder I’ve ever seen!


Alexander Calder, Ben Brown Fine Arts


Alexander Calder



Alexander Calder, Black and Blue, 1975, painted sheet metal and wire, Acquavella

Looking at Calder’s mobile from a different angle. And trying not to get blinded by the spotlights.


Alexander Calder, The Golfer (John D. Rockefeller as a Golfer), 1927, wire with wood base, Van de Weghe Fine Art

A different kind of style from Calder, and equally well done.


Jeff Koons

True story: I was trying to get a shot of Koons’s work from the side, but two women taking a selfie with the work told me to move aside because I was appearing at the side of their photo. -.- I don’t think a super crowded Art Basel fair is exactly the best place to exercise your supposed right not to get photobombed in your selfie.


Edgar Degas, Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot, 1919-1937, bronze, Acquavella

I have to commemorate my first time seeing a Degas! He is now well-loved for his paintings of ballet dancers that examine the physicality of their bodies in movement. I would love to travel and see the masterpieces of modern art for myself one day, but I’m definitely happy to view these smaller works in Hong Kong!


Claude Monet, Route de Monte-Carlo, December 1883, oil on canvas, Acquavella

I patiently waited to get this MONEY SHOT. Monet is worth it, yes. On another note, Acquavella always brings in the bulk of modern art to Art Basel Hong Kong.


Pablo Picasso, Femme aux mains croisees II, December 19, 1960 – January 1, 1961, oil on canvas, Acquavella


Niko Luoma, Self-titled adaptation of the Young Ladies of Avignon (1907, Pablo Picasso), 2015, archival pigment print, diasec with floater frame, Atlas Gallery

Hmm, I’m not really buying it. Picasso’s Les Demoiselles d’Avignon (The Young Ladies of Avignon) is also an art history favorite (and also features prostitutes). Funnily enough, it was never fully completed as Picasso tossed it aside after his friends and peers criticized the painting while he was still working on it. I don’t actually think it’s his best and most groundbreaking work as a lot of people probably put it; I find his Cubist works with Georges Braque (his collaborator on Cubism who has been kinda forgotten) much more interesting and forward-looking.


Tom Wesselmann, Blue Nude #3 N125, 1999, oil on cut-out aluminium, Gmurzynska

This references to Henri Matisse’s Blue Nude, which was a motif that Matisse went back to over the years. Again, not really buying it…


Roy Lichtenstein, Water Lilies with Cloud, 1992, screenprinted enamel on stainless steel with painted wood frame, Edward Tyler Nahem


Rudolf Bauer, Furioso XII, 1918, oil on canvas


Andy Warhol, Mao, 1973, acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen, varnished, Ben Brown Fine Arts

So much of Warhol at the fair this year!


Andy Warhol, Mao (set of ten), 1972, screenprints on paper

Discussing serious business under the gaze of Mao. I find this quite amusing.


Andy Warhol, Flowers (portfolio of 10), 1970, screenprint on paper, Galerie Thomas


Andy Warhol, Self-portrait, 1966, synthetic polymer paint, silkscreen ink on canvas, Van de Weghe Fine Art; Self Portrait (Red), c. 1966-67, acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, Edward Tyler Nahem


Andy Warhol, Campbell’s Elvis, 1962, silkscreen ink and acrylic on canvas, Edward Tyler Nahem


Andy Warhol, Diamond Dust Shoes (Green), 1980, acrylic, silkscreen ink and diamond dust on canvas, Edward Tyler Nahem

Diamond Dust Shoes (Green) and Campbell’s Elvis appeals more to me than Warhol’s more well-known serial artworks for some reason. I guess it’s one of those things about art.


Andy Warhol, Dollar Sign, 1981, synthetic polymer paint and silkscreen ink on canvas, Van de Weghe Fine Art


Jaume Plensa, Slumberland XXXI (Patricia), 2015, graphite on paper, Richard Gray Gallery

Subtle, charming, and so beautiful.


Jaume Plensa, Roots (Study), 2015, painted stainless steel, Richard Gray Gallery

Nice to see this again, albeit in a smaller size! The big one sits at Raffles Place in Singapore.


Jaume Plensa, Laura Asia; Paula Europe; Mar Asia, 2015, marble, Galerie Lelong

These three sculptures are pretty large in size, and are based on portraits of women who Plensa knows. Feels like a bit of quiet amid the bustling fair.

And that’s it for my review of Art Basel Hong Kong this year! To see the first half of my review of Art Basel featuring contemporary artworks, click here, and if you’ll like to see my review of Art Basel last year, click here to see all of the related posts!

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