The situation in Hong Kong for some months have been volatile. The ongoing protests have also touched the thriving art culture in the city. Hauser & Wirth had to postpone one of their shows due to the protests. Art Basel has been offering discounts and urging exhibitors to not abandon their March exhibition.
However, renowned gallerist David Zwirner remains optimistic about the situation. He believes that the ongoing Hong Kong protests won’t severely impact the art market in the country. Zwirner bases this on the performance of his own gallery, which opened an exhibition of sculptor Carol Bove on November 1. The exhibition, which marked the one-year anniversary of the gallery, saw the presence of not only Zwirner but also senior partners of the gallery, like Angela Choon and Chris D’Amelio. The works were sold for $300,000-$1 million. The exhibition saw many Chinese investors in the audience despite the protests, and nine works were sold to buyers from mainland China.
Sharing his experiences of the exhibition, David Zwirner initially thought that the event would be a no-show. However, it saw a strong turnout despite some of the fiercest protests that day. Zwirner called the exhibition “the most ambitious” one they had yet in the city, in both scale and audience. He was even willing to share the receipts with the media, to ensure that his claims of sales were legitimate. Zwirner further added, “I had a gallery in New York after September 11, and though the world came to an end, I really felt that people very much appreciated our effort to bring culture into that moment. I feel that’s what’s happening now in Hong Kong.”