Over the past ten years, East Asia has seen an unprecedented rise in the establishment of art fairs within the region, including the arrival of Art Basel in Hong Kong in 2013, the launch of Taipei Dangdai Art & Ideas in 2019, the arrival of Frieze in Seoul in 2022 and its collaboration with Kiaf, and the launch of Tokyo Gendai in 2023. These developments are widely seen as not only reflective of the growth of the Asian art market at large but also indicative of the fact that evolution in the regional art scene is currently unfolding with art fairs as its focal point and the opinion that such a directionality should continue to be upheld.
We examine the tenability of this viewpoint with the directors of the art fairs at hand. Our conversation also addresses the critique laid out in certain circles that the robust organization of new art fairs will lead to nothing more than the annexation of the Asian continent at the hands of Western galleries and Western artists. More specifically, we discuss how the art fairs of Asia might indeed formulate identities that set themselves apart from the art fairs of the Western world and come to bolster Asian galleries and artists. Further, we deliberate over whether the art fair itself ought to function as a public art event or whether greater significance should instead be placed on the art fair remaining committed to its role as a marketplace for art.