Interview: Art Basel CEO "extremely bullish" on Chinese market-Xinhua

Interview: Art Basel CEO "extremely bullish" on Chinese market

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-06-22 20:01:00

by Martina Fuchs

GENEVA, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The chief executive of Art Basel, a world-leading art fair, said he is "extremely bullish" on the outlook for the Chinese art market and is planning to further expand the presence of its Hong Kong edition.

"We're incredibly committed to China ... as well as incredibly committed in a more broad sense to the region, so we look forward to leaning in," Noah Horowitz told Xinhua in a virtual interview on the sidelines of the recently-concluded Art Basel.

He said that Art Basel's 2024 edition closed on Sunday following a week of strong sales across all market sectors. The show attracted an overall attendance of 91,000 throughout its VIP and public days.

Founded in 1970 by gallerists from Basel, Switzerland, Art Basel today stages the world's premier art shows for modern and contemporary art with locations in Basel, Miami Beach, Hong Kong and Paris.

"It's a tremendous fair this year. We're thrilled to welcome our newly appointed director Maike Cruse to lead her first show. There are 285 galleries across 40 countries and territories," Horowitz said.

He also highlighted "Unlimited," which is Art Basel's exhibition platform for projects that transcend the classical art fair stand. It provides exhibitors with the opportunity to present monumental installations, colossal sculptures, wall paintings, photo series, and video projections.

The 11th edition of Art Basel Hong Kong took place in March and marked a return to the fair's pre-pandemic scale, with a 37-percent increase in exhibitors from the previous year.

It featured 242 galleries from 40 countries and territories, including curated presentations and public programs, attracting contemporary art buyers and sellers from around the world.


On the prospects for the Chinese art market, Horowitz said: "We're extremely bullish on the Chinese market and with our presence in Hong Kong, we've just signed a multi-year partnership with the Hong Kong Tourism Board."

Horowitz said they are seeing more and more visits from collectors from China and throughout the Asian region.

Discussing global expansion plans, Horowitz said they are committed to the art fair's four-location platform. "We were thrilled within the past month to announce the name change from Paris+ for our Paris show to Art Basel Paris, which will take place from October 18 to 20 in the Grand Palais for the first time."

"We are also excited to return to Tokyo in November for the Art Week Tokyo which has been a really important collaboration between Art Basel and Art Week Tokyo in building awareness for the brand and building deeper relationships between Art Basel and the gallery and cultural and collecting community in Japan," Horowitz said.

"We've seen a very material uplift in gallery participations as well as visitations from Japan in Hong Kong especially," said the executive, who was appointed Art Basel chief in October 2022 and previously held the post of Director Americas for the fair from 2015 to 2021.

According to the Art Basel and UBS Art Market Report 2024, global art sales totaled roughly 65 billion U.S. dollars last year, remaining above the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

The report revealed that the United States maintained the first position in the global ranks, with its share of sales by value reaching 42 percent in 2023. China surged past Britain to become the second largest market, with sales in China up by 9 percent to 12.2 billion dollars.