- Obama takes aim at ‘corporate deserters’
- Dick’s Sporting Goods lays off 478 PGA golf pros
- Senators: Cease-fire must allow Israel to defend against rockets, tunnels
- Sierra Leone doctor fighting Ebola catches disease
- Iraq welcomes Russian fighter jets, helicopter gunships into ISIL fight
- John McCain laments: Obama’s ‘self-pity … is really kind of sad’
- GOP offer to fix VA gives $10 billion in emergency funds
- Paul Ryan offers to repair U.S. economic safety net with a single grant stream
- Kim Jong-un builds bond with Putin: $250M Russia-backed addition to key port opens
- Pope Francis meets Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman sentenced to death
UK’s White Cube opens HK gallery as Asia art booms
Question of the Day
HONG KONG (AP) - Britain's White Cube gallery, known as an early champion of provocative British artists Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin, launched its Hong Kong branch on Thursday, becoming the latest Western gallery to open an Asian outpost in pursuit of China's booming art market.
White Cube unveiled a 6,000-square-foot (557-square-meter) space in a new building in Hong Kong's central business district. With its first branch outside Britain, White Cube follows other British as well as French and American galleries that have set up shop in Hong Kong in recent years.
As their home markets plateau, they're pinning hopes for future growth on Asia, particularly China, where a strong economy has been minting millionaires at a rapid clip.
"Obviously there's a new generation of collector that is emerging in China," said Graham Steele, White Cube's Asia director. But he added that Taiwan and South Korea are also major markets for contemporary art, while Japan, India, Indonesia and Australia have significant pockets of collectors.
China was the world's biggest fine art market in 2011 for the second year in a row, accounting for 41.4 percent of global sales of paintings, sculptures, installations, photography and drawings worth $4.8 billion, according to market information provider Artprice.
"On a day-by-day basis, there's more Chinese collectors coming to London, coming to Miami and Switzerland _ coming to the international art fairs _ in groups, individually, with artists, with other collectors, with curators," said Steele. "There's an amazing level of interest."
The arrival of White Cube in Hong Kong underlines the sophistication and increasing influence of the region's art collectors. Founded in 1993, White Cube has had a long association with Hirst and Emin, the most prominent of a group known as the Young British Artists that emerged in the 1990s.
Hirst, one of the world's wealthiest artists, is notorious for installations that feature sharks and other dead animals suspended in formaldehyde and human skulls encrusted in diamonds. One of Emin's most famous works is a recreation of her disheveled bed _ complete with soiled clothing and empty vodka bottles.
Hong Kong, a former British colony that is now a semiautonomous region of China, is a major financial center and has become the center of Asia's art business. It's the world's third biggest auction center after New York and London, driven by demand for art and collectibles. A painting by Chinese artist Zhang Xiaogang sold for $10 million at a Hong Kong auction last year, setting a record for Chinese contemporary art.
In 2009, British contemporary art dealer Ben Brown Fine Arts opened a Hong Kong gallery. Edouard Malingue of France opened an Impressionist and Modernist-themed gallery in 2010. Well-known U.S. art dealer Gagosian Gallery added a branch to its global network last year.
Steele said the gallery is looking forward to developing relationships with new Asian artists.
"We're trying to find the next generation," he said.
Follow Kelvin Chan at twitter.com/chanman
TWT Video Picks
Second- and third-stringers eye 2016 if front-runner stumbles
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- Hamas rejects Kerry's call for cease-fire; Fears grow others could join fight against Israel
- State Department indicates Nouri al-Maliki's days numbered as Iraq prime minister
- Inside China: Massive flight woes and a missile test
- Algerian plane diverted due to storms, second aircraft: 116 missing
- Evidence shows Russia firing artillery into Ukraine: Pentagon
- Obama family set to buy $4.25M desert home in California: report
- Norway expects imminent 'concrete threat' from ISIL terrorists 'within days'
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq