Hong Kong Art Week got off to an auspicious start with the Asia Society’s annual Art Gala auction and dinner. VIPs, patrons, and the Hong Kong art world’s big money people (I counted at least four consuls general) first gathered at the Asia Society centre in Admiralty for a glass of wine and a chance to peruse the works going on the auction block later in the evening - including a portrait by Tokyo-based artist Izumi Kato and a series of lithographs from Zhang Xiaogang. Then it was a quick walk down to the Conrad Hotel for dinner and the auction. In his opening remarks Ronnie Chan Chichung, vice-chairman of the Asia Society and chairman of its Hong Kong Centre, paid tribute to the Asia Society’s great friend, John Whitehead, who died last month, and celebrated his US$1 million bequest to the society. This year, for the first time, organisers eschewed a silent auction, and the experiment bore fruit. With roughly half the number of artworks on offer as last year, the auction was able to raise about the same amount of money -US$214,500 at last count - with the biggest bid of the evening going for Paris- based artist Wang Keping’s 2014 work, Couple , which went to Lee Seng Huang, the executive chairman of Sun Hung Kai Financial, for US$26,000. The event was also a chance to honour four international artists: Shahzia Sikander, Do-ho Suh, Wucius Wong, and Xu Bing.