Gallery brings affordable art to the masses

PUBLISHED : Friday, 09 May, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 09 May, 2008, 12:00am

Taking its inspiration from the successful Museum of Modern Art in New York, pieces range from limited editions, originals and sculptures, to artwork on a lollipop

Hong Kong art lovers are soon to be offered a taste of fresh, affordable art thanks to a menu of pieces ranging from unique Russian pieces to original artwork on a lollipop.

With a grand opening today, The Gallery of Modern Art presents art-lovers with a living art space spread across an airy 5,600 sqft space.

The gallery is not only devoted to art for style and living, but offers a living art corner, art jewellery collections and sculpture.

There is even the opportunity to sip a coffee while browsing exclusive art books or deliberating between limited edition artworks from around the globe.

According to Karus Cheng, the programme marketing officer of JLinks Asia and ArtLinks Asia, which will support the gallery's operations, this is a new concept in the local art scene and is directly inspired by the successful Museum of Modern Art in New York.

Hong Kong is seen as just the beginning, with plans afoot to expand the gallery first in Asia and then further afield, according to Ms Cheng.

The team behind the gallery includes marketing professionals connected with art agents from Britain, Singapore and Taiwan.

One key reason for setting up this gallery was the team's feeling that Hong Kong and Asia as a whole was an 'art desert', Ms Cheng said.

Executive director of J Links Asia and ArtLinks Asia, Jini Archambaud-Chao, said parents in Hong Kong did not encourage their children to enter the arts for fear they would not be able to make a good living from it.

As a result, a driving force behind the gallery is also the need to develop the local artistic atmosphere and to supply art pieces affordable to most.

'If we can build up the [art] atmosphere and let people know they should be very proud to be artists, as in Europe or the United States where to be an artist is an honour, that would be very good,' Ms Archambaud-Chao said.

Thus, by offering residents a comprehensive living art gallery that allows them to build their collection from inexpensive pieces, the gallery aims to arouse public attention, encourage their interests in art and help them appreciate that becoming an artist is a viable career choice.

Ms Cheng said, with that in mind the choice of art on show was a major concern when attracting the younger generation. It is also important to create a gallery with a specifically local flavour.

Ms Archambaud-Chao said, to pull in Hong Kong people it was essential to offer them art that would not burn a hole in their pockets.

'In Hong Kong, people don't have a very deep knowledge of art, but the first thing they need to get started is to get art that's affordable,' she said.

As a result, the gallery is focusing on works by Washington Green, an art publisher in Britain which specialises in limited editions which are affordable, attractive and created by contemporary artists.

'This makes it quite easy for Hong Kong people to get started in the world of art,' she said.

According to JLinks Asia, over the past two years about 1,000 art-lovers have registered as e-collectors at ArtLinks Asia. It believes now is the right time to launch the gallery.

There is also high demand for art pieces that are priced between HK$2,000 and HK$20,000, according to Ms Cheng.

Art from outside Asia is also a plus, which is why the gallery has pinpointed works that are not usually found locally, such as pieces from Europe and the United States.

'We provide art for all, [priced] from HK$10 to HK$99,000, from countries ranging from Hong Kong and China to Asia, Europe, the United States and Russia,' Ms Cheung said.

The art works range from limited editions to originals and sculptures, as well as exclusive art cards and books, and possibly the world's easiest way to set up an art collection: free art-pieces attached to a lollipop.

'I think that The Gallery of Modern Art, which is a new concept, [is something] Hong Kong people are ready for - especially the new generation of collectors,' Ms Cheng said.