New art collecting course launches in Hong Kong

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An art collectors’ educational programme has been launched by HKU School of Professional and Continuing Education Centre for Degree Programmes (HKU SPACE CDP), in collaboration with Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design (CSM) and international art-fair organiser Art Basel.

The programme, ‘Collecting Contemporary Art’, is the first of its kind in Hong Kong and is tailor-made for novice art collectors and business professionals in related fields from Hong Kong, Mainland China and overseas.

The programme comprises about 60 hours split across eight days, consisting of six modules. This includes an intensive three-day module delivered by a Central Saint Martins’ lecturer from London, five one-day modules led by HKU SPACE and industry experts from Hong Kong, Europe, and Asia, with the last two modules of the programme being spent at local galleries and Art Basel’s show in Hong Kong.

Ken Wong, Head of HKU SPACE Centre for Degree Programmes (CDP) said: “This programme aims to educate participants on how to ‘read’ contemporary art, and help to build their art collections intelligently and systematically.

“Without acquiring certain techniques and skillsets in art collecting, novice collectors may have loosely put together collectibles which may not stand the test of time.

“Educational programmes by auction houses primarily focus on the arts at auctions, which are usually masterpieces or highly popular ones that set a high financial hurdle for novice collectors. Comparatively, an art fair offers a wider range of art works with some being sold at more affordable prices. The question then is whether an individual possesses the ability to judge what is worthwhile to collect.”

He added that while the masterpieces in the classical art market are kept in national museums or by veteran collectors, resulting in a rather slim market, novice art collectors can explore the many more opportunities in the contemporary art segment.

“Among the various art forms in the contemporary art market, painting as a more easily accessible collectible will be our focus,” he said.

Marc Spiegler, Director Art Basel, said that the initiative expands upon Art Basel’s longstanding tradition of staging talks and conversations that address the practical issues people in the art world are facing.

“We are delighted to see an expanding audience for art in Hong Kong and to be part of this development – alongside the city’s institutions and galleries,” he said. “As the art world becomes larger and people become more serious about collecting, it is important to discuss the ground rules – and the responsibilities that come with collecting art.”