Essays & Criticism

Essays & Criticism

HOW TO SUCCEED IN ART WITHOUT REALLY PAINTING

HONG KONG, 1 JULY 2014 — You could feel the opening-night jitters as the VIP vernissage began, launching this year’s Art Basel Hong Kong.  Two hundred forty-five art galleries from around the world, including, as would be expected, a large contingent from Asia, booked space at the fair, showing almost exclusively works of contemporary art. Their white-walled booths were bare of furnishings except for a few chairs and a table that held a couple bottles of pleasant wine. No one stood outside his booth, beckoning like a waiter with his sample plate in front of a Greek restaurant in the Latin Quarter.  Eye-grabbing pieces did that job, standing in front of booths like gate guardians—those obsolete aircraft bolted to pedestals in front of military bases so as to appear to be vaulting skyward. The gallerists were waiting within, dressed uniformly—as if for cocktails at a good club. Their feigned insouciance, on display

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