20 must-see contemporary art exhibits in Art Basel month
With the third edition of Art Basel Hong Kong and the launch of a new satellite fair, March is the busiest month on the city's contemporary art calendar. Here are 20 shows you shouldn't miss
01 Encounters at Art Basel
Check out the 20 pieces presented in the giant fair's Encounters sector. With a new curator - Alexie Glass-Kantor of Artspace in Sydney - at the helm, the selection of large-scale sculptural installations by Joao Vasco Paiva, Xu Longsen, Sterling Ruby and many others will be the talk of the week. HKCEC, Wan Chai, March 15 to 17. Inquiries: artbasel.com
02 Mobile M+: Moving Images
If this programme is anything to go by, expect the M+ visual culture museum to be an exciting education platform for years to come. It's great to see the likes of Isaac Julien and Haegue Yang join Zhang Peili and animator Wong Ping in the screening and exhibition series, which covers formats from feature film and television to video art, shorts and documentaries. Various venues, ends April 19. Inquiries: westkowloon.hk/movingimages
03 "Days push off into nights"
A cosy venue for residency, Spring Workshop also presents curated programmes involving a global range of creatives. Taking time as its theme, this group exhibition showcases artworks and performances, and features an interesting mix of artists including Elmgreen & Dragset, Job Koelewijn and Lee Kit. Spring Workshop, Aberdeen, ends April 26. Inquiries: 2110 4370
04 "Kacey Wong's Art of Protest: Resisting Against Absurdity"
Hong Kong artist Kacey Wong has had his say on many political issues: from the detention on the mainland of Ai Weiwei to the umbrella movement. This solo exhibit of recent photographs and installations reveals his sarcastic wit and brazen showmanship. Amelia Johnson Contemporary, Central, ends March 28. Inquiries: 2548 2287
05 Yoshitomo Nara double bill
Yoshitomo Nara - known for his cartoonish pieces of wide-eyed children - is here for two shows. Recent works are being featured at Pace gallery under the title "stars", and his retrospective "Life is Only One" at Asia Society offers a broader view of his oeuvre. Pace Hong Kong, Central, March 13 to April 25. Inquiries: 2608 5065; Asia Society, Admiralty, March 6 to July 26. Inquiries: 2103 9511
Watch: Japanese artist Yoshitomo Nara: ""I'm still trying to figure out the meaning of life
06 Leung Chi-wo and Sara Wong, "Museum of the Lost"
While Hong Kong artist Leung Chi-wo's research-based inquiry into history might occasionally verge on the opaque, this ongoing photography series - which he developed with his wife and occasional collaborator, Sara Wong, to re-enact anonymous figures in archival materials - is conceptually straightforward yet fascinating. Blindspot Gallery, Wong Chuk Hang, March 7 to May 2. Inquiries: 2517 6238
07 "A Hundred Years of Shame"
After moving out from its Sheung Wan space, the non-profit Para Site is set to open a larger venue with this politically minded group exhibit. In "Songs of Resistance and Scenarios for Chinese Nations", artists look to reconsider and subvert the Chinese notion of nationalism. Expect controversy. Para Site , Quarry Bay, March 7 to May 10. Inquiries: 2517 4620
08 Zhu Jinshi, "Boat"
Co-presented by Pearl Lam Galleries and Hongkong Land, this public display of Chinese artist Zhu Jinshi's Boat is a rare spectacle in our crowded urban space. Made of bamboo, cotton and more than 10,000 sheets of Xuan paper, the large installation is a spiritual experience for some - and a photo opportunity for others. Exchange Square, Central, March 9 to 31. Inquiries: 2522 1428
09 Xu Zhen, "Twenty"
It's a cheeky put-on that Adrian Cheng and David Chau - both successful businessmen turned influential collectors - should co-host the Shanghai-based artist Xu Zhen, who has turned the market's commodification process on its head with his production label MadeIn Company. Themed on the simple pleasures of 20-year-olds, the show almost guarantees irony. PMQ, Central, March 10 to 18. Inquiries: 9701 5650
10 "Inside China"
Previously presented at Palais de Tokyo last October, this exhibition by the eminent Paris contemporary art space and Hong Kong's K11 Art Foundation is returning in an expanded edition. This cultural exchange among five French and six Chinese artists also marks the inaugural collaboration of the two organisers. Cosco Tower, Sheung Wan, March 11 to May 3. Inquiries: k11artfoundation.org
11 "Excessive Enthusiasm: the Archive as Practice by Ha Bik-chuen"
Not so much a retrospective as a multifaceted investigation into an artist's career, this exhibition considers the influences on the work of Ha Bik-chuen (1925-2009). It features reference materials that not only fuelled the practice of the revered Hong Kong sculptor and printmaker, but also served as a visual library. Asia Art Archive, Sheung Wan, March 11 to May 30. Inquiries: 2844 1112
12 Dinh Q. Lê, "Tropicana Migration"
Here's an absurdly bleak experience courtesy of Dinh Q. Lê, an American-trained Vietnamese who tweaks perceptions of his motherland's wartime past. Through the new multimedia works in this gallery space - decorated to evoke the beach at Danang - he asks poignant questions about Vietnam's much-exploited tourism industry. 10 Chancery Lane Gallery, Central, March 12 to April 18. Inquiries: 2810 0065
13 JR double bill
JR may be hiding behind his pseudonym, but there's no denying he has transcended his roots in urban art and become a ubiquitous presence. The French artist is having a gallery show of new pieces - titled "Ghosts of Ellis Island" - and a large-scale survey concurrently. Galerie Perrotin, Central, March 12 to April 30. Inquiries: 3758 2180 The Pulse, Repulse Bay, March 15 to April 12. hoca.org
14 Rudolf Stingel
The good thing about visiting a Rudolf Stingel exhibit is that, if pressed for time, you can finish in minutes. The New York-based artist's admirers, however, are known to spend hours in front of his abstract pieces. A continuation of his fundamental inquiries into art-making, this set of gold paintings could turn out to be a religious encounter for some. Gagosian Gallery, Central, March 12 to May 9. Inquiries: 2151 0555
15 Alex Prager
It's not just about spotting the influences: Cindy Sherman, and stills from David Lynch and Alfred Hitchcock movies. In her lushly coloured and strangely cinematic images of crowds, Los Angeles-based Alex Prager hints at a psychological depth that has made her one of the most rapidly emerging stars in fine art photography. Lehmann Maupin, Central, March 12 to May 16. Inquiries: 2530 0025
16 "Avant-Garde Asia"
Featuring more than 50 pieces of varying historical importance, the two selling exhibitions at Sotheby's - "Gutai and its Legacy" and "Lines of Korean Masters" - provide a glimpse into pioneering movements in Japan and Korea since the 1950s. Highlights include works by Kazuo Shiraga, Atsuko Tanaka, Lee Ufan and Park Seo-bo. Sotheby's Hong Kong Gallery, Admiralty, March 13-27. Inquiries: 2524 8121
17 Alec Monopoly, "Capital Games"
It's just as well that Alec Monopoly is showing when the richest collectors come to town. Nominally a commentary on capitalism, the American street artist's Monopoly-inspired pieces have surely crashed into the mainstream; he has even painted a mural for Justin Bieber's movie premiere and autographed Miley Cyrus' thigh. Above Second, Sai Ying Pun, March 13-April 18. Inquiries: 3483 7950
18 Michelangelo Pistoletto, "Partitura in Nero"
As a founder of the 1960s' Arte Povera movement, Michelangelo Pistoletto, now 81, is best known for his Mirror Paintings. The Italian icon's latest series - full-body portraits of a woman silk-screened onto reflective stainless steel panels - are said to incorporate the spectator. It is, in other words, a great occasion for selfies. Simon Lee Gallery, Central, March 13-April 25. Inquiries: 2801 6252
19 Beatriz Milhazes
Fresh off her first solo US museum retrospective at Pérez Art Museum Miami, Beatriz Milhazes presents a new series of collages and abstract paintings. Brazil's representative at Venice Biennale 2003, Milhazes' colourful works consist of rich textures that evoke modernist lineages of both Latin America and Europe. White Cube Hong Kong, Central , March 13 to May 30. Inquiries: 2592 2000
20 Art Central
Satellite fairs have been a fixture during Art Basel Hong Kong - and its previous incarnation, ART HK. Launched by ART HK's founders, the new Art Central intrigues with its ambition: more than 75 local and international galleries will showcase emerging and established artists in a 10,000-square-metre purpose-built structure. Sounds like fun. Central Harbourfront, March 14 to 16. artcentralhongkong.com