Leading Cultural Figures Attend Asia Society Art Gala, Launching Art Basel in Hong Kong

HONG KONG, May 15, 2014 — More than 400 of the world’s most distinguished collectors, curators, gallerists and dignitaries gathered this evening to honor four exceptional contemporary artists at the Asia Society’s second annual Art Gala, hosted by Ms. S. Alice Mong and Dr. Melissa Chiu at their spectacular Hong Kong Center. Kicking off Art Basel in Hong Kong, the evening celebrated world-renowned artists Bharti Kher, Liu Guosong, Takashi Murakami and Zhang Xiaogang for their extraordinary contributions to contemporary art in Asia. Guests were also treated to a private viewing of the first major solo exhibition of Xu Bing’s work in Hong Kong, currently on display through 31 August 2014.

Notable guests included artists Li Songsong, Mariko Mori, Michael Joo and Song Dong. International collectors attended, including Deddy Kusama, Basma Al Sulaiman, Maggie Tsai, Alexandra Prasetio, and Bharat and Swati Bhise. Gallerists present included Nick Simunovic of Gasgosian Gallery, one of the evening’s hosts, Rachel Lehmann, Emmanuel Perrotin, Arne Glimcher, Marcia Levine, and Jane Lombard and Lisa Carlson. Supporters of Asia Society included Robert and Chantal Miller, Hal and Ruth Newman, Mitch and Joleen Julis. Other guests included actress Lynn Hsieh, Nam June Paik’s Nephew, Ken Hakuta, Director of Art Basel, Marc Spiegler, Managing Director of Christie’s Asia, Rebecca Wei, and Curator of UBS Art Collection, Stephen McCoubrey. The night’s honourees were recognized with a special presentation by their long-time advocates: Dr. Melissa Chiu for Bharti Kher, Dr. Yeewan Koon for Liu Guosong, Dr. Benjamin Genocchio for Takashi Murakami and Michelle Yun for Zhang Xiaogang.

Melissa Chiu, Director of Asia Society Museum in New York and Senior Vice President for Global Arts and Cultural Programs for Asia Society, commented: “We were delighted to have the unique opportunity to honor such exceptional artists as Bharti Kher, Liu Guosong, Takashi Murakami and Zhang Xiaogang at the Asia Society Art Gala this year. This annual event, now in its second edition, was established to recognize and celebrate artists who have had an unprecedented influence on the contemporary art scene, particularly in Asia. It is a pleasure to give prominence to their remarkable achievements and to continue to create awareness for contemporary Asian art, building on the foundations of the past two decades.”

S. Alice Mong, Executive Director of Asia Society Hong Kong Center, commented: “Hong Kong has become a global focal point for art and culture so it’s only fitting that it is here, that we not only recognize and acknowledge the outstanding contribution these artists have made in their respective fields, but create understanding and awareness of these artists’ work in the wider community.”

In New York, Chiu has implemented a number of major initiatives at the Asia Society Museum, including the establishment of a contemporary art collection to complement the museum’s renowned holdings of traditional Asian art, gifted to the Society by Mr. and Mrs. Rockefeller 3rd. The Art Gala is among the many ways Asia Society Museum is putting a spotlight on artists in Asia for nearly twenty years, and is one of the pioneering institutions in this field.

Mong was instrumental in launch of the Asia Society Hong Kong Center in its current permanent home — in the restored Former Explosives Magazine — and its 7 exhibitions in the Center’s Gallery including the recent Caravaggio exhibition which attracted in excess of 26,000 visitors in just one month. The Hong Kong Center also recently received what is probably the largest donation to the arts by an individual in Hong Kong, a HK$100 million transformative gift from Robert W. Miller, founder of Duty Free Shoppers (DFS.) The donation will be used to promote and celebrate Hong Kong’s emerging talent in the arts.

The 2014 Asia Society Art Gala was supported by:

Co-Chairs: Larry Gagosian; Hyun Sook Lee; Lippo Group; Robert and Chantal Miller; Ali Naqvi, Credit Suisse; Richard and Maggie Tsai, Fubon Bank (Hong Kong) Limited; Wheelock and Company Limited.
Vice Chairs: Cartier; Galerie Perrotin; Pace Gallery
Corporate Sponsor: Citi
Cocktail Reception Sponsor: AMMO Restaurant & Bar