The best of Art Basel is not the art

Security at the Art Basel After Party

Once a year Hong Kong is the epicentre of the arts. It is a much needed cultural boost for a city that is not known for its artistic activities. Art Basel is the annual highlight when suddenly every Hong Kong local is an art lover. While the number of visitors to galleries are typically underwhelming in Hong Kong, the crowds at the fair are overwhelming. It feels like a supermarket in Causeway Bay on a Saturday afternoon. It is terrible. Art Basel has fantastic art but seeing three exhibition halls with hundreds art booths next to each other without any context or description gets boring after 15 minutes. If you are lucky the exhibitor provides the artist name and dimensions of the art piece you are looking at. Very similar to Ikea that also mentions the object you are looking at is a sofa and dimensions to make sure if fits in your living room.

But luckily there is more than art to revel in. Once a year Art Basel brings to town the infamous parties where charming bodyguards in colonial outfits mingle with the beautiful people. Where artistic weirdness meets never-ending alcohol supply and where guests wear butterfly wings and you are unable to see anything you drink because everything is red. Surprisingly I enjoy the crowds here. What a difference a day makes.

The beautiful people at Art Basel

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