Ai Weiwei, Snow White, Ice Sculptures: Hong Kong Weekend

Ai Weiwei Photos
Various photographs by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei from the series "Selections from Ai Weiwei: New York 1983-1993." The show runs through Aug. 12, 2012. Source: Para/Site Art Space via Bloomberg

If you’re not traveling to London to see this summer’s Serpentine Gallery underground pavilion co-designed by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, then you may prefer his Hong Kong photo exhibition at Para/Site Art Space.

Taken by Ai while he was living in New York from 1983 to 1993, these black-and-white images offer a unique perspective on the city seen through the lens of a Chinese expatriate artist.

The exhibition, “A History of Possible Encounters,” also includes photographic documents from Hong Kong artist Frog King Kwok Man Ho’s Free Tibet Performance curated by Ai and works by Taiwanese artist Tehching Hsieh, both of whom worked in New York during the same period. (Through Aug. 12.)

Para/Site, G/F, Po Yan Street, Sheung Wan. Information: +852-2517-4620 or

Classified Cafe, close to Para/Site on Hollywood Road, boasts one of Hong Kong’s most extensive cheese cellars, an extensive wine list and excellent coffee with outdoor seating. Information: or +852-2525-3454.

The creative urge gripped U.S. abstract painter Cy Twombly until the very end. Twombly, who died at age 83 last July, mistook the curtain around his hospital bed for a blank canvas and called for paint and brushes. “The Last Paintings” at Gagosian Gallery consists of eight works that display remarkable energy for an artist of any age, let alone an octogenarian.

Giant looping strokes of orange and red suggest a personal calligraphy of a man for whom these works serve as both a source of liberation and a self-painted epitaph.

Gagosian Gallery, 7th Floor Pedder Building, 12 Pedder Street, Central. Until Aug. 11. Information: +852-2151-0555 or

Friday Night

Not interested in joining the crowds to see Kristen Stewart meet her Prince Charming at the movies? For a different take on the fairy tale, catch “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” where members of the Estonian National Ballet leap and tumble in a lighthearted performance with fireworks and video projections to enhance the sense of wonderment. Thomas Edur is the artistic director.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre. Information: +852-2370-1044. Internet bookings can be made at


Also at the Cultural Centre, the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra performs its season finale featuring Turkish pianist Huseyin Sermet. The program includes Brahms’s Variations on a Theme by Joseph Haydn, Ravel’s Piano Concerto for the Left Hand and Elgar’s Variations on an Original Theme (“Enigma”). Friday and Saturday in the Concert Hall at 8 p.m. Information: +852-2370-1044. Internet bookings at

If you can put aside concerns about global warming for a couple of hours, then head over to Macau for Ice World. Try not to think how much energy is consumed to keep the 1,670 square-meter CotaiExpo Hall at 8 degrees centigrade when it’s sweltering outside and enjoy ice sculptures of Beijing’s Summer Palace, a frozen pumpkin carriage and other ice renderings of various heritage sites. Hooded jackets are provided at the door to ticket holders. Hats and mittens may be purchased. The show is open daily through Sept. 16. Tickets:

Russian Wit

After you’ve shed your hoodie, head over to the Macau Museum of Art to catch “Times of Great Ignorance,” an exhibition by Macau, China-based Russian artist Konstantin Bessmertny, who represented Macau at the International Venice Biennale in 2007. He draws inspiration from opera, burlesque, costume dramas, Old Masters and Russian icons, infusing his sculptures and oil paintings with a mordant wit. Information: +853-8791-9814 or

Nearby is the Robuchon au Dome in the Grand Lisboa Hotel, formerly known as Joel Robuchon’s three-Michelin-starred Robuchon a Galera, before it moved across the street from the Lisboa Hotel. The roasted guinea fowl and foie gras will set you back HK$1,280 ($165) but you may spot casino kingpin Stanley Ho, who’s a regular.

Make sure you purchase a return ferry ticket in advance to make it back to Hong Kong in time for a screening of Wim Wenders’s 1976 classic, “Kings of the Road.” Wenders, one of the greatest New German Cinema directors, was enthralled by American films, which inspired him to make his own road movie where two restless wanderers explore the country near the then-East German border. Hong Kong Film Archive, 50 Lei King Road, Sai Wan Ho, at 7:30 p.m. Information:

(Frederik Balfour is a Reporter-at-Large for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are his own.)

Muse highlights include Zinta Lundborg’s New York weekend, Craig Seligman on the arts.

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