Para Site Art Space
One of the oldest and most active independent art institutions in Asia, Para/Site is an artist-run, non-profit space currently helmed by Cosmin Costinas and Claire Shea. It was founded during the uncertain period preceding its handover to Mainland China, and has since developed an international reputation for cutting-edge work at the intersection of contemporary culture and politics of Hong Kong. The gallery has hosted some big names since its birth in 1996, including controversial Chinese artist Ai Weiwei who has been included in their annual programme more than once. In early 2015, the gallery moved to its current premises in North Point.
22/F, Wing Wah Industrial Building, 677 King’s Rd, Quarry Bay; para-site.art
Located in Central’s Pedder Building, an art hub that was first built in colonial-era Hong Kong in 1923, Gagosian is an art world heavyweight. It represents some of the highest-selling artists of all time including Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, and Takashi Murakami. Since opening his first gallery in Los Angeles in the 1980s, Larry Gagosian has since expanded across America, Europe and Asia, showcasing the work of leading international artists, as well as curating historical exhibitions of legendary artists like Francis Bacon, Alexander Calder, Roy Lichtenstein, Claude Monet, Henry Moore, Jackson Pollock, Cy Twombly, Andy Warhol, and more.
7/F, Pedder Building, 12 Pedder St, Central; gagosian.com
The White Cube’s first gallery outside of the UK landed in Hong Kong in 2012, demonstrating the importance of the city to the contemporary art market with its burgeoning art scene (plans for the museum area in Western Kowloon had been proposed by this point), and booming art fairs. Its inaugural exhibition was dedicated to renowned British artists Gilbert & George, an internationality that’s continued since, with work by Chuck Close, Harland Miller and Antony Gormley. True to the name, the space is white, bright and high-ceilinged — a no-distraction space that leaves the art to do the talking.
50 Connaught Rd Central; whitecube.com
The inverse of the White Cube, this 4,500 square foot space is painted completely black so it’s impossible to see anything but the art. It’s founder Stephen Cheng came up with the concept during meditation, when he saw a rectangular black space floating in black and immediately imagined what kind of art could fill that space. His intention for the gallery was to foster a multi sensory experience, a kind of inward journey through the senses. Located on the edge of Aberdeen Harbour in Tin Wan, expect to see work by established and emerging artists alongside a program of pioneering multimedia commissions, performances and music, often blending mediums for an otherworldly experience.
19/F, Grand Marine Center, 3 Yue Fung St, Tin Wan; emptygallery.com
Founded by Mimi Chun in 2010, Blindspot Gallery was one of the first commercial galleries in the city to focus primarily on contemporary photography and image-based art. It has since evolved to include multi-media contemporary art too, representing both emerging and established artists most of which are from Hong Kong. It’s located in an industrial building in Wong Chuk Hang with beautifully-painted duck-egg blue walls and retains many of its original features.
15/F, Po Chai Industrial Building, 28 Wong Chuk Hang Rd, Wong Chuk Hang; blindspotgallery.com
One of the most powerful art dealers in the world, David Zwirner opened his first Asian gallery in H Queens five years ago. It represents over 67 international artists and their estates, including German photographer Wolfgang Tillmans and Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama, known for her red bob, polka dots and “Infinity Mirror” light installations. One of her iconic spotted pumpkins sits at the rooftop bar Piqniq on the top floor of H Queens, dubbed by Zwirner himself the “vertical Chelsea.”
5-6/F, H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central; davidzwirner.com.hk
Fully committed to promoting contemporary Chinese and Southeast Asian art both regionally and worldwide, Tang Contemporary first made a name for itself in 1990s Bangkok, where they now have a gallery in the 798 Art District that’s become one of the most progressive and critically-driven art galleries in China. In June 2015, it held Ai Weiwei’s first successful, eponymously named solo exhibition. They don’t shy away from the political — to mark its launch in Hong Kong’s H Queen’s, Tang Contemporary showed work by artists Huang Yongping and Shen Yuan, called “Hong Kong Foot,” which reflected the artists’ interest in the pro-democracy protests of the Umbrella movement.
10/F H Queen’s, 80 Queen’s Road Central, Central; tangcontemporary.com
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With two galleries in Central, the first in the Pedder Building and the other in H Queens, Pearl Lam has established herself as a powerhouse in Asia’s contemporary art scene. The daughter of property tycoon Lim Por-Yen and real estate developer Koo Siu-Yung, Pearl Lam’s first dive into the art world started in 1993 when she began a series of pop-up exhibitions featuring contemporary Chinese artists she had begun discovering. While her own style is a little more flamboyant, donning a purple bob and dramatic clothing and jewellery, the work she selects has range — there’s meditative work by abstract painters rooted in traditional Chinese philosophies of Taoism and Buddhism, and geometric sculptures out of beeswax by Ren Ri.
601 – 605 Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street; 9/F H Queen’s 90 Queen’s Road Central; pearllam.com
CreditLead image: Anonymous Society for Magick by Blindspot Gallery