“We hope to make Taipei Dangdai the most important event in the art scene around the world and in Asia,” was co-director Robin Peckham’s speech opening, speaking in Mandarin as a nod to the local market. Returning for a second year, Dangdai’s (台北當代) goal is to put Taipei on the map for the art world.
Asia is already a leading force in the global art market, and it is only expected to grow in importance in the upcoming years. However, which cities play a key role is constantly changing — especially in light of unstable business in Hong Kong over the last year.
“Taipei city is vibrant and collectors are hungry,” said Mariko Kawashima, director of Axel Vervoordt Gallery Hong Kong, one of the newcomers this year amongst 99 galleries — 23 of which have spaces in Taiwan.
Photo: Ella Csarno
Dangdai’s co-founder Magnus Renfrew said there is interest from galleries around the world in potentially joining next year.
COLLECTORS DO THEIR HOMEWORK
International galleries were impressed by the Taiwanese crowd.
Photo: Ella Csarno
“For a small country, it’s astonishing that there are so many collectors,” said Rachel Lehmann, co-owner of Lehmann Maupin. “They do their homework very well, and they collect in depth.”
It was a sentiment echoed by gallerist Sean Kelly.
“People here are very sophisticated, they understand quality,” Kelly said.
Photo: Ella Csarno
Though Kawashima said they are still learning about Taiwanese collectors, Kelly believes in bringing recognizable names and leading works to Taiwan. Indeed, the number of artworks from world-renowned artists like Marina Abramovic, Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei (艾未未) or Julian Opie have gone up considerably.
Galleries reported successful sales. David Zwirner sold multiple artworks within the first two hours of the fair, mostly to Taiwanese collectors. TKG+, the contemporary branch of Taiwanese Tina Keng Gallery (耿畫廊), said they were happy with the results, and, perhaps more importantly, made connections to new collectors.
NOT JUST FOR PROFIT
Backed by the Ministry of Culture, the Bureau of Foreign Trade and Taipei’s Department of Cultural Affairs, Dangdai provided a platform for many artists who were never presented in Taiwan before.
Oscar Murillo, co-winner of last year’s Turner Prize, who hosted a talk at the “Ideas” program of the fair, where he said that collaboration with a local institution is on the horizon for him.
Lehmann Maupin are also working with the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (臺北市立美術館) on a show about Erwin Wurm curated by Jerome Sans, and a solo exhibition with Tony Oursler at Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Art (高雄市立美術館).
THINKING LONG TERM
Shanghai and Hong Kong used to be absolute centers for the market in Asia, but international galleries have started diversifying, setting their foot in multiple cities. This mindset comes as political tension in Hong Kong caused a dip in the business of galleries last year.
“The art world is not isolated,” said Lehmann, “but with long-term strategies it’s easier to adapt to change.”
Arthur de Villepin, founder of Villepin, a gallery opening in Hong Kong in March added: “The energy of Hong Kong is beyond the political situation. The fact that it dilutes itself in the region is not a bad thing.”
Alongside his father, former French prime minister Dominique de Villepin, he hopes to open a salon-like space where long-term relationships with artists and collectors can be built.
“Cultural difference is richness to me,” he said.
Ultimately events like Dangdai continue to lay the foundations of Taipei as a safe haven for art. Taipei Dangdai will return again in January next year, promising a longer lineup.
African-American entertainer Dooley appeared on local television show Super Entourage (小明星大跟班) a few weeks ago and was told by the crew that they wanted to do a skit in blackface. Dooley, whose real name is Matthew Candler, tells the Taipei Times that Super Entourage wanted to perform a rendition of the wildly popular “Ghana Coffin Dance,” a meme that has taken the world by storm. Instead, he showed them videos about the racist origins of blackface and slavery in America, and they agreed to drop the makeup. “[I told them] about the history [behind blackface] and [said] you decide
June 1 to June 7 In February 1988, Robert Wu (吳清友) set aside NT$17.5 million to purchase two Henry Moore sculptures from London’s Marlborough Gallery. He never bought the pieces. Feeling slighted that the gallery manager initially looked down on him as a Taiwanese, he decided that night to use the money to open his own art space back home. “Without selling any art, that money could support the gallery for four years. If I feature one artist per month, that provides a stage for at least 100 artists,” Wu said in the book Eslite Time (誠品時光) by Lin Ching-yi (林靜宜).
With listicles of local attractions including Costco and numerous children’s playgrounds, I was not expecting much. Opened on Jan. 31, the Taipei MRT’s Circular Line, or Yellow Line, made life in the nation’s capital even more convenient. But judging from Internet search results, it hasn’t opened up many new tourism opportunities, unsurprising as the route mostly crosses densely populated areas and industrial parks. Places like a sports stadium with rainbow colored bleachers perfect for Instagram selfies wouldn’t do it for me either, and it’s pointless to list attractions at the connecting stops that have existed for years. As a history nerd, there
The morning after the ride, my hands ached in a way I’d never before experienced, and my palms looked slightly bruised. Flexing my fingers as I waited for my coffee to cool down, I knew exactly which part of the previous day’s excursion had done this to me. As the go-to-work rush hour ebbed, I’d set off inland on my 125cc scooter. I took Provincial Highway 20 as far as Tainan City’s Yujing District (玉井). From there, I took Provincial Highway 3 into Nansi District (楠西). The route I’d planned would take me past the eastern side of Zengwen Reservoir (曾文水庫)