As the second edition of the Frieze Seoul art fair took place in September, a debate has arisen regarding Seoul’s potential to become Asia’s premier art hub, possibly challenging Hong Kong’s status. Some have even speculated about Frieze Seoul replacing Art Basel Hong Kong, Asia’s largest art fair. Doryun Chong, the deputy director and chief curator of Hong Kong’s M+ museum, suggests that rather than direct competition, the two cities could function as complementary pillars in Asia’s thriving art scene. Chong highlights that Asia, given its vast size, could benefit from having at least two major art fairs, each serving as a commercial platform to bring together people from various parts of the world.
Chong emphasizes the unique strengths of both Seoul and Hong Kong in the art world. Seoul is known for its robust artist community, boasting a higher number of art schools, museums, and galleries compared to Hong Kong. However, Hong Kong has established itself as a significant hub for the commercial art sector, hosting major auction houses such as Sotheby’s, Christie’s, and Phillips for decades. Additionally, Hong Kong is home to the West Kowloon Cultural District and M+, Asia’s first global museum of visual culture. Chong, who has made significant contributions to the art world, underscores the importance of working with art objects and the social aspects of museum work in his career, which started in the U.S. prior to joining M+ in Hong Kong.
From October 4, 2023, to August 16, 2024, The Bass is hosting an exhibition titled Nam June Paik: The Miami Years, showcasing the works of Korean-American visual artist Nam June Paik and exploring his connection to Miami Beach and the broader South Florida community. Nam June Paik was a pioneer in electronic moving images and digital compositions, coining the term “electronic superhighway” in 1974. His works demonstrated a remarkable insight into the role of digital media as an artistic medium, the expansion of global social networks, and the intersection of modern life with technology.
The exhibition is centered around the museum’s recent acquisition of Paik’s TV Cello (2003) and delves into the artist’s lesser-known history in Miami Beach. The presentation underscores Paik’s innovative approach to blending communication and media technologies in his art. Additionally, the exhibition features two remarkable sculptural installations, WING and MIAMI, which were initially commissioned for the Miami International Airport in the early 1990s. These installations featured numerous television monitors that showcased a captivating flow of iconic images from South Florida and around the world, embodying Paik’s unique form of “electronic painting.” While Miami Beach was Paik’s home until his passing in 2006, WING and MIAMI were no longer on public display by the late 1990s. The exhibition offers fresh insights into the artist’s personal connection with the region.