May 29 (Bloomberg) -- Roman Abramovich and his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova inspected sculptures by Takashi Murakami. Kate Moss also browsed as Hong Kong wooed wealthy art buyers with champagne, James Bond-style parties and lobster feasts.
Moss studied paintings at the Art Basel VIP preview before rushing back to her hotel and changing into a black, off-the-shoulder dress for a party hosted by Dior, Artsy backer Wendi Deng Murdoch and jeweler George Jensen.
Art Basel’s blend of bling, commerce and art was brought to Hong Kong for the first time this year from May 23-26. It was neatly summed up by artist Rirkrit Tiravanjia during an Intelligence Squared event.
“When bankers get together they talk about art,” he said. “When artists get together, they talk about money.”
Tiravanjia teamed with art critic Matthew Collings in a debate on whether the market is the best judge of art’s quality. They defeated Jeffrey Deitch, director of Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and Amy Cappellazzo, Christie’s deputy chairman.
Moss was joined at the May 22 Asia Society party by Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi; David Tang, founder of Shanghai Tang; and Fubon chairman Richard Tsai’s wife Maggie. Many later moved to the new Duddell Club for the Audemars Piguet after-party.
Harper’s Bazaar Art Night at the Four Seasons Hotel was attended by more than 250 guests including actresses Carina Lau and Gigi Leung, MGM Macau casino co-owner Pansy Ho and photographer Andreas Gursky.
The menu included lobster and scallop ceviche, minted Vaucluse green asparagus soup with smoked caviar cream and Black Angus Sirloin steak.
The dinner was co-hosted by collector and founder of Domus Collection, Richard Chang, in honor of the Royal Academy of Arts. Guests were presented with a choice of black or red carry-on suitcases to roll away their swag to Chang’s after-party for 1,000 people co-hosted by Harvey Nichols owner Dickson Poon’s daughter Dee Poon.
On May 25, Intelligence Squared Asia co-founder Yana Peel and Stephen Peel, a partner at TPG Capital, held a party that felt part Gatsby and part James Bond. Like 007’s ride to a Macau Casino in “Skyfall,” more than 400 guests made the ferry ride to the Jumbo Floating Restaurant.
They included gallery owner Sean Kelly, Art Basel director Marc Spiegler, JP Morgan Asia private banking Chief Executive Andrew Cohen and Canada Pension Plan’s Asia president Mark Machin.
Collectors who arrived for Art Basel early got a chance to rub shoulders with artists including Murakami, Zhang Xiaogang, I Nyoman Masriadi and Zeng Fanzhi at the Asia Society’s inaugural Hong Kong Art Gala on May 20. The society honored Zeng, Masriadi and Korean artist Lee Ufan, who was unable to attend.
Asia Society museum director Melissa Chiu, the Mori Art Museum’s Nanjo Fumio, gallery owner Emmanuel Perrotin, Crown Worldwide Group chairman Jim Thompson and his wife Sally were served globe-shaped, meringue-style desserts as part of an ethereal performance by artist Mariko Mori.
(Frederik Balfour is a reporter-at-large for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)
Muse highlights include Martin Gayford on European art exhibitions and Jorg von Uthmann on Paris culture.
To contact the writer on the story: Frederik Balfour in Hong Kong at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @frederikbalfour.
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