The story appears on

Page A14

September 11, 2011

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Feature » People

Power behind ART HK

WITHOUT director Magnus Renfrew, ART HK might still be a non-player in Asia, but he has taken it to the international art stage, making it arguably Asia's leading contemporary art fair.

When it was launched in 2008 as Hong Kong's first international art fair, the newly appointed Renfrew had lined up 101 leading galleries from 20 countries to exhibit and buy into the vision that ART HK had the potential to be the region's leading art fair.

He succeeded spectacularly, especially since ShContemporary launched in 2007, boasting itself as the biggest and finest art fair in Asia. After that ShContemporary has declined.

At that time, many industry insiders were quite pessimistic about the future of ART HK, particularly since it was overshadowed by ShContemporary.

But under Renfrew's stewardship and vision, ART HK has firmly established itself as Asia's leading contemporary art fair and contributed to Hong Kong's development as an art hub.

Named by the 2010 ArtReview Power 100 as one of the most influential figures in the art world, Renfrew is one of only three art fair directors on the list.

Briton Renfrew studied art history at the University of St Andrews. For seven years he was at Bonham's in London where he was instrumental in developing its contemporary Asian Art Department. In 2006 he arrived in Shanghai as head of exhibitions for Pearl Lam's Contrasts Gallery.

Q: Were there pressure when ART HK launched in 2008, because of the success of ShContemporary in 2007?

A: As part of a team starting an art fair from the beginning, there is a great deal of pressure. If you don't persuade the galleries to come - you don't have an art fair. ShContemporary was around eight months prior to the inaugural ART HK and it definitely encouraged us to work harder.

Q: What was the toughest part?

A: In the first year, we had to go out there and persuade the galleries to come, face-to-face, so I was on 40 flights in six months to all parts of the world, getting galleries to come to Hong Kong. We assembled 101 galleries in 2008.

Q: What's the image of ART HK?

A: We expect it to be one of the world's leading art fairs within the Asian context.

Q: Suggestions for ShContemporary?

A: In life I have usually found it best not to offer advice unless I'm asked.

Q: What's your favorite Chinese city?

A: Shanghai, as it is the first city I encountered on the mainland and spent a year there. I made friends and learned much from them.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend