Tim Marlow, director of artistic programmes at London’s Royal Academy of Arts, on Thursday moderated a Hong Kong Intelligence Squared debate titled “Art today has sold out to the market”. The art historian used to present a television series called Marlow on Style, but the show was dropped in 2008. With cashstrapped newspapers also cutting back on arts coverage, Marlow has warned that there is “a danger that we reduce all culture to the level of infotainment”. Marlow oversees exhibitions at the Royal Academy, which houses many priceless possessions, including a marble relief by Michelangelo …

Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was a sculptor, painter, architect and poet who shaped the development of Western art. In 1488, at the age of 13, he became an apprentice to a painter in Florence. As a teenager, he displayed great mastery of his craft, so much so that a young rival punched him in the face out of jealousy and broke his nose. One of his most famous works decorates the ceiling of the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, and may hide a secret code, according to the book The Sistine Secrets: Unlocking the Codes in Michelangelo’s Defiant Masterpiece, by Roy Doliner and Benjamin Blech …

An internationally recognised educator, Blech is a 10th-generation rabbi who has written more than 10 books, including one that has been deemed “the single best book on Judaism in our generation”, by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations. He has lectured to Jewish communities all over the world, including in Hong Kong, has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show and has been ranked as the “16th most influential Jew in America”. He’s also an associate professor of Talmud at Yeshiva University, in New York, an alumnus of which is restaurateur and writer Eddie Huang …

Born in Washington DC to Taiwanese immigrants who owned a steak house, Huang grew up wanting to play professional basketball. His sporting dreams foundered but, after stints as a lawyer and streetwear designer, he and one of his brothers opened a restaurant in New York called Baohaus, serving up Taiwanese steamed pork buns. In 2013, he published Fresh Off the Boat: A Memoir, which has since been adapted into a television comedy series. In an interview discussing race and assimilation as an Asian in America, Huang revealed that he was frustrated that the most famous Asian in America was the guy who did Gangnam Style, Psy …

The South Korean artist was born Park Jae-sang in 1977 to an affluent family. His father is the executive chairman of a semiconductor manufacturing company and his mother owns several restaurants in Seoul. As a child, he was the class clown and, while at university, he secretly switched from a business programme to study music, against the wishes of his parents. The decision paid off, though it wasn’t until he took up “horse-dancing” that he became a household name. Gangnam Style spawned a slew of parody tribute videos, including one by Ai Weiwei …

Named by ArtReview magazine in 2011 as the “most powerful artist in the world”, Ai has often used his work to criticise the central government. His father, Ai Qing, was one of China’s most famous poets, but the family was exiled to Xinjiang during the Cultural Revolution, and Weiwei spent his childhood in a labour camp on the edge of the Gobi Desert. Last year, as part of a video series produced by the Royal Academy, Ai Weiwei spoke about his artistic influences and the role of politics in his work in conversation with Tim Marlow.