Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join host Andrew Goldstein every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more with input from our own writers and editors as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.
Above and beyond its well-established status as a global financial center, Hong Kong has spent the 21st century rapidly transforming into an international nexus for the art market: welcoming to both Eastern and Western collectors, appealing to institutions and artists alike for its vibrant economy and cosmopolitan character, and stabilized by its unique embrace of democratic values just a stone’s throw from state-dominated mainland China.
But since March 2019, Hong Kong has been rocked off its axis by ongoing and increasingly violent political protests, all sparked by what the demonstrators read as aggressive moves by Xi Jinping and his agents to accelerate the so-called “handover” of the former British colony to Chinese control several years earlier than scheduled. With free speech and free governance hanging in the balance, art and journalism have become pivotal forces in the battle for Hong Kong’s future.
In this episode of the Art Angle, Artnet News contributor Vivienne Chow—a Hong Kong native—gives a moving firsthand account of what it’s like to cover these volatile events from the front lines, where artists fit into the protests, and how the experience has challenged her perception about nothing less than the meaning and importance of art. And all of this while she simultaneously has to process how her home morphed into a place she could not have imagined only a few years earlier, and whether Hong Kong or its art scene will ever be the same.
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