Cultural Ecology – Hong Kong
Brunch panel discussion with:
Nadim Abbas, artist; Claire Hsu, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Asia Art Archive; Daniel Kurjakovic, Curator and Head of Program, Burger Collection; S. Alice Mong, Executive Director (moderator), Asia Society Hong Kong Center; Uli Sigg, collector; William Zhao, independent curator (moderator)
Sparkling wine brunch at 10:30 am
Discussion at 11:00 am
Close at 12.00 pm
With major cultural facilities including the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Central Police Station Compound and Former Police Married Quarters well underway, Hong Kong, already the world's third largest art market, is undergoing an unprecedented rate of cultural transformation. Hear from artists and other leading cultural figures on where they think the trajectory of cultural ecology is heading — does Hong Kong have what it takes to become the international arts and cultural metropolis that it aspires to be? How much longer can Hong Kong's competitive edge of low taxes and world-class logistics keep up with the growing demands of the art market? What are local art organizations doing to maintain a distinct identity for Hong Kong art that will safeguard them from drowning in the waves of much larger international establishments? Economy aside, what are the pros and cons for Hong Kong, and for the local creative industries, that lead more and more international galleries and art fairs flock to set up in the city?
Nadim Abbas was born in Hong Kong in 1980. A Hong Kong based installation artist, his work explores the mechanics of seeing, often touching on the hidden violences and psychological traumas that permeate the seemingly innocuous facets of day-to-day life. Abbas holds an MPhil in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong and a BA in Fine Art (Sculpture) from Chelsea College of Art, London.
Claire Hsu co-founded Asia Art Archive (AAA) in 2000 after completing her MA in History of Art from SOAS, London University. An independent non-profit arts organization, AAA is one of the world's leading public resources dedicated to documenting the recent history of art from Asia. More than a static repository, AAA is a proactive platform for instigating critical thinking and dialogue, bringing people together, and organizing diverse public programs to reach a wide range of audiences. Ms. Hsu sits on the General and Acquisition Committees for M+; the Board of The Foundation for Arts Initiatives and the Advisory Committee of the Academy of Visual Art of Hong Kong Baptist University. She received an Asian Cultural Council grant in 2003, was awarded the RBS Coutts/ FT Women in Asia award in 2009 and is a Young Global Leader 2013 of the World Economic Forum.
Daniel Kurjakovic is an art historian, curator and writer based in Paris. He graduated from the University of Zurich in Art History, Philosophy and Slavic Languages, and curated exhibitions and collaborative projects on sound, installation, performance and public art. From 1995-2002, he co-directed the Zurich art and literature publishing company MEMORY/CAGE EDITIONS with book projects involving John Berger, Paul Bowles, Louise Bourgeois, Lawrence Weiner, Robert Wilson amongst others. He was an assistant curator at the Museum of Art Lucerne in 1999-2001. From 2002 to 2008, he was the head of the exhibition programs at Kunsthof Zurich, the associate open-air exhibition space of the Department of Art and Media of the Zurich University of Arts. Since 2009 he has been Curator and Director of Programs at the Burger Collection, Hong Kong. For Burger Collection he has been developing the multi-regional exhibition and research project Quadrilogy in collaboration with the independent visual art organization 1a space.
S. Alice Mong became the Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center (ASHK) in August of 2012. Prior to returning to Hong Kong, Ms. Mong was the Director of the Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA), overseeing the entire expansion project of the 30-year-old organization. Ms. Mong stepped down as the Director of MOCA in July 2011 after successfully transforming the museum from a New York Chinatown institution to become the leading national museum, dedicated to preserving the history and culture of Chinese people to the descendants born and raised in the United States. Ms. Mong also served as the Executive Director for the Committee of 100, a non-profit membership organization formed by a group of distinguished Chinese-American professionals. The organization was founded by the world-class architect I.M. Pei and an internationally famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma.
Uli Sigg was trained as a business journalist. He joined the Ringier group management in 1984 and later became Delegate of the Board of Directors. From 1995 to 1998, Dr. Sigg served as Switzerland's ambassador to China and North Korea, also serving as founding chairman of the Swiss-Chinese Chamber of Commerce. Today Dr. Sigg is Deputy Chairman of the Ringier Board of Directors, a position he has held since 2003, after serving as Chairman from 1999 until 2003. Dr. Sigg is one of the most eminent collectors of works by Chinese artists; he announced in 2012 that almost 1,500 pieces from his private collection will be donated to M+ of Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District.
William Zhao was born and raised in China. He obtained his MBA in France, where he worked for 11 years in the finance sector. He became active in curating arts exhibition, advising the French Government Commission in charge of the Joint France-China Years 2001-2002 and the president of the Pompidou Centre. Mr. Zhao returned to Asia in 2003 and has since devoted himself to advising collectors and writing on contemporary Chinese art. Publications which regularly feature his columns include Modern Weekly , Bazaar Art, and SCMP. Serving as Vice Chairman-Asia of the Association of Guimet Museum (Paris), as a member of the Board of Directors of the Sovereign Art Foundation, Hong Kong, and Guest Creative Director for Bazaar Art, Mr. Zhao is also curator of major exhibitions of Chinese artists, including most recently solo exhibitions for Liu Weijian, Zhang Huan, Zhan Wang, Sun Xun, Jean Michel Othoniel and Jule de Balincourt in major museums and art spaces in Asia.