January 11, 2018 2:13 pm JST

Major New York art gallery expands presence in Hong Kong

Pace to feature Yoshitomo Nara in opening exhibition for second space in city

DEAN NAPOLITANO, Nikkei Asian Review deputy editor

The HK$400 million H Queens building will feature Pace Gallery’s second Hong Kong location and galleries of several other international groups. (Courtesy CL3 Architects)

HONG KONG -- New York's Pace Gallery, which operates art galleries on three continents, will add a second location in Hong Kong in March.

Pace, which first came to Hong Kong in 2014, will open its second gallery to coincide with the annual Art Basel Hong Kong event. The opening will include a major show of works by Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara.

Opening a second location in Hong Kong is a vote of confidence for the city's art market, which has become a major hub in recent years with the opening of international galleries, new auction houses, the launch of Art Basel and other prominent art shows.

"With a connection to mainland China, Hong Kong's desire for collecting art and its enthusiasm for new cultural activity are very strong, and not just limited to Chinese art but also globally," said Leng Lin, Pace Gallery partner and director of Pace Hong Kong, Beijing and Seoul, in an email interview.

"Hong Kong is inherently a center of attraction and a place that is most appealing to Asian art for mutual exchange, competition and market transactions," Leng said. "Due to the melting pot of cultures and the ideal geographical location of Hong Kong, the openness, tolerance and pluralism have become characteristics of its own."

Nara is one of Japan's most prominent artists, whose portraits often showing a disturbing side of childhood are highly sought after by collectors.

Pace's second Hong Kong space will be housed in H Queens, a new 24-story glass tower in the heart of the city's Central business district that was built at a cost of 400 million Hong Kong dollars ($51 million).

The new building, which will become fully operational in March and will also include restaurants and retails shops, has drawn a number of major international art galleries as tenants, including Hauser & Wirth, Pearl Lam Galleries and David Zwirner, whose space at H Queens will mark its first gallery in Asia.

Pace's 4,700-square-foot gallery at H Queens will include flexible wall features to accommodate a wide range of media and a wall spanning more than 45 feet for large-scale works.

"It has been a privilege to play a role in the arts renaissance that has been underway in Asia for the last few decades, and our engagement with the Asian market continues to inform the way we see and work around the world," said Marc Glimcher, Pace Gallery president and chief executive. "The opening of the new gallery in Hong Kong represents an important continuation of this commitment to the region, but certainly not the culmination."

In addition to its galleries in Hong Kong and three in New York, Pace also has galleries in Beijing and Seoul, London and the San Francisco Bay area.

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