A watershed moment for Hong Kong art?


Damien Hirst – “For Heaven’s Sake”

When it comes to stimulating an interest in art, there’s no doubt that Hong Kong has made strides over the past decade. As evidence, one can simply point to the success of the art walk, the annual art fair, local malls’ obsession with art installations, or the notable art auctions taking place in the city.

Whether the new-found interest in art is derived more from a financial motive (say, art as an investment vehicle,) rather than an actual rise in connoisseurship, is irrelevant. The end result is that Hong Kong has been left with greater exposure to art and multiple venues to view work both in the public and private sector.

Yet perhaps nothing that has happened previously is as significant as next week’s opening of the Gagosian gallery in Hong Kong.

Though the city already has its own gallery ecosystem, it has lacked first-hand, timely access to shows that define contemporary art. While there have been exhibitions that have brought the city a taste, there hasn’t been a permanent venue that is plugged into the international high-art circuit – until now.

The Gagosian gallery is on an entirely different level than other galleries in the city. Founded in New York in 1985, the gallery now has branches in London, Rome, Paris, Geneva, Athens, Los Angeles, and as of next week, Hong Kong.

Larry Gagosian, the gallery’s namesake, is renowned for his exceptional exhibitions, his prowess as a dealmaker, and for assembling the most significant stable of living artists in the art world.

The fact that Hong Kong will now have access to shows from this caliber of artist (perhaps revolving between the Gagosian chain of galleries,) is a major milestone, and may be a catalyst for greater things to come.

(Remember, Hong Kong was once a backwater for top international d.j.s, but within eight years, and due in part to the opening of nightlife venues such as Dragon-i and Volar, the city has transformed into a popular spot on the international circuit. A few places with good taste can make a big difference.)

Damien Hirst: Forgotten Promises


The Gagosian gallery is opening with Forgotten Promises, a solo show by noted contemporary artist Damien Hirst. Hirst is known for works with major spectacle value including sharks preserved in formaldehyde and diamond encrusted skulls. One of the headlining pieces is a baby’s skull formed by platinum and over 8,000 diamonds. (photo at top.)

The Gagosian gallery is located on the seventh floor of the Pedder Building in Central. The entrance is on Pedder Street, directly across from The Landmark shopping center. (Shanghai Tang occupies the ground floor and basement of the Pedder building.)

Damien Hirst – Forgotten Promises opens on January 18th, 2011.

Check back for Hong Kong Hustle’s review of the show!

Highly recommended!


Damien Hirst – Forgotten Promises
Gagosian Gallery Hong Kong
7th floor, Pedder Building
12 Pedder Street
Central, Hong Kong

Runs from January 18th, 2011 to March 19th, 2011


  • Eager to check this Damien Hirst exhibit out.

    I dont want to hijack the directions of comments on this article, but I disagree with your point regarding HK now being a regular spot for Dj’s on the international circuit. If anything, HK attracted more Dj’s back in the day then it did now. Granted, these Dj’s played at so called “rave parties” whereas now the Dj’s that come all play at volar, DI and the sort. But regardless, Hk has taken a step backwards in terms of the electronic music scene with regards to attracting Dj’s

  • Hi Alex,

    I agree that there were a good amount of big-name d.j.s passing through Hong Kong during the height of the Rave party days, however, over the last few years there’s been a greater variety and a much faster speed of getting new talent to Hong Kong. Lately, we’ve had big name d.j.s as well as up and coming d.j.s (before they get to be household names).

    Some nights it’s even been tricky to decide where to go, with two interesting d.j.s playing at different venues on the same night.

    We’ve also been fortunate to get many of the top producers and remixers in dance music, rather than just the super-star mega d.j.s..

  • Another gallery? Tiresome news which I receive with mixed feelings. Gagosian ‘represents’ (for ‘represents’ read ‘takes a significant commission from’) many well-known artists whose works will be welcome to this part of the world.

    We are, however, still eagerly awaiting a contemporary art museum in HK. Surely we don’t need to fly to Singapore to see the wonderful things that SAM is doing whenever we need an art fix? Perhaps we can hide the museum behind the facade of another real estate agent’s office?

  • I disagree with you. I think that the quality of recent gallery openings in the city, such as London’s Ben Brown gallery (on the third floor of the Pedder Buidling,) and the Gagosian (on the seventh floor,) will up the ante and put pressure on any upcoming contemporary art museum to be on a truly world-class level. The fact that there’s now going to be competition around town will force them to produce top quality shows.

    (But I agree with your sarcasm regarding real estate in Hong Kong!) 😉

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