City on world art map
The annual Hong Kong International Art Fair, the fourth of which -ARTHK11- took place in May, has helped put the SAR on the world art map. Hong Kong is increasingly being seen as the gateway to the east for foreign dealers and buyers. The international buzz has also stimulated the local art scene and hotels are tapping into the growing interest in art in the territory.
The Peninsula Hong Kong has launched a programme called the Art of Hospitality, which offers guests tours of the city's art scene. The expeditions are inspired by the concept of the Grand Tour, in which the 18th century British aristocracy embarked on a trip around Europe to take in the art, politics and culture of the day.
The full-day package (HK$10,800 per person for a minimum of two and a maximum of four) includes a tour guided by a local art expert of one of the city's artist studio areas - Fo Tan Industrial Estate, where the industrial warehouses are home to dozens of artist studios, or The Cattle Depot, a heritage building and former abattoir that has become an exhibition space and artist's commune in To Kwa Wan.
Here, guests are able to interact with artists in situ. The package includes visits to some of Hong Kong's most influential galleries. The half-day programme (HK$6,800 per person) takes in the visit to the galleries. In both packages, guests are chauffeured in the hotel's Mini Clubman, and treated to coffee breaks and lunch at SoHo-based Manchurian eatery Bistro Manchu.
Langham Place Hotel in Mong Kok is another hotel with a strong art tradition. It claims to be the first in the world to offer guests museum-style tours of the hotel's collection of contemporary Chinese art on iPod. The excursion leads guests through the hotel's top 21 pieces, selected from its collection of more than 1,500 pieces, including some by renowned artists Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun and Jiang Shuo.
The iPod tour, in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and Japanese, is free for all guests.
The voice-over, by the hotel's art consultant Angela Li, explains the philosophy and history of the pieces and the major inspirations of each artist.