International art world turns attention to Hong Kong

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The Independent Culture

Andy Warhol always positioned himself at the very forefront of trends in the art world so you can only wonder whether the maverick American will next week look down from somewhere on high and smile a wry smile.

For the past 12 months, the world has been hearing how Asia - and Asian buyers - are saving the international art market. And as the international art community gathers in Hong Kong for a series of massive sales, much of the publicity being generated surrounds the fact that, yes, some of that man Warhol's work will take pride of place.

A complete set of screen prints from Warhol's "Mao'' series are up for grabs at Christie's evening sale of Asian contemporary art on May 29 ( and then "Myths'', a silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, will be presented at this year's Hong Kong International Art Fair ( ), from May 27 to 30. "Myths'' has a price tag of US$12 million (9.5 million euros) and will be the most expensive artwork on offer at the fair.

Reflecting the international interest in what is happening in the Asian art world, online bids are being accepted at both events, as they are at sales being held around the same time by Bonham's ( ) on May 27-28 and at the Asian Auction Week ( ) which brings together work from the Asian Art Auction Alliance, K Auction, Kingsley's Art Auction and One East Larasatiat the Hong Kong's Mandarin Oriental Hotel on May 29.

"Demand from Asia continues to lead the global recovery of the auction market and to drive the growth in 2010,'' Jonathan Stone, regional managing director of Christie's Asia, told the "South China Morning Post''. "And indeed, in 2009, Asian art became the second-largest category sold at Christie's worldwide. It now represents 15 per cent of sales, just after Impressionist and modern art.''