Art Basel is the fair that brings together art galleries and high-rolling collectors from across the region for a week of frenetic art dealing. Among the most seasoned of art veterans is Angela Choon, a senior partner at David Zwirner who frequently flies between the gallery’s five locations in New York, London and Hong Kong, and has attended Art Basel Hong Kong (ABHK) since it began in 2013.
Ahead of this year’s edition on 29 March, Vogue asked Angela what her typical Art Basel week looks like, as well as her expert tips on where to eat, what to wear and pack for the day, and how to recuperate from all the art-related madness when it’s over.
1. What do you do when you’re not at the fair?
I’m arriving later than usual this year, as I’ll be coming straight from the opening of Luc Tuymans’ exhibition at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice. This limits my free time in Hong Kong quite a bit, but I’m still looking forward to doing the following:
Spending time with Neo Rauch and Carol Bove. Neo has an exhibition at our Hong Kong gallery which opens on March 26 (we always have an opening the night before the fair), and we’ll be bringing a presentation of Carol’s work to our booth at ABHK.
My birthday always falls during ABHK. This year, Harold Ancart has invited me to The Chairman to celebrate.
Hosting a breakfast with Kelly Ying for Peter Pilotto and Christopher De Vos to mark their new collection on March 27.
Attending our party at The Murray this year, hosted in collaboration with Victoria Miro and OTA Fine Arts. My friend Heron Preston is DJ-ing!
Checking out new developments in the city – I’m looking forward to a special tour of Adrian Cheng’s development at Victoria Dockside.
Squeezing time in towards the end of the week for a mani/pedi on Stanley Street – there are so many great nail parlours in Central. I also try to make time for a foot massage. Pilates is always a good idea – the Landmark Mandarin Oriental has an excellent Pilates room with the latest equipment.
2. What to read
I regularly read The Art Newspaper, artnet, artsy and art news in the run-up to, as well as during the fair itself.
I try to check Instagram (it’s not easy when you’re doing three things at once!), looking at profiles such as @artbasel, collectors profiles and art market journalists. I also follow #artbasel, #artbaselhongkong and #artbaselhk.
3. Where to eat
There is no such thing as a quick bite at the fair – I normally eat in the closet at our booth, although I do try to pick up fresh fruit and snacks from Oliver’s Delicatessen if I have time.
When it comes to dinners, though, that’s a different story. There are so many great restaurants in Hong Kong! Duddell’s is a personal favourite – I know the founder, Alan Lo, well so I like to stop by when I can. Otherwise, I love China Tang, Mott 32, Peking Garden, ZUMA, Maxim’s City Hall for the dim sum (and the view), Yung Kee for roast goose, and the restaurants at the Four Seasons. The more authentic, the better, so restaurants in Wan Chai are great! There are some great eateries in the new Tai Kwun complex, too.
Food in Hong Kong is so fantastic. I wish I had more time and meals to make the most of it!
4. Essential tips
- Avoid caffeine and sugar… the first is always a challenge for me!
- Stay hydrated.
- Try to get as much rest as possible (despite the jet lag).
- Wear comfortable shoes. I’m so glad that sneakers can be worn with everything.
- I tend to eat a large breakfast every morning before the fair, to keep me going throughout the day.
5. What to pack
I always pack: water, mints, pen, charger, business cards, my two phones, lip balm.
6. How to dress
Simply and elegantly. I normally wear a suit and a sleeveless blouse for greater movement!
I particularly like Stella McCartney suits, and have always loved Dries Van Noten. My staples are Duro Olowu, Zero + Maria Cornejo, Sacai and, of course, Peter Pilotto.
7. Where to stay
The Mandarin Oriental.