Hai-Hsin Huang: “Art Basel (detail)” (2019) - Art Basel Hong Kong 2019

Yuan-Kwan Chan, Meniscuszine, September 9, 2019


Taiwanese artist Hai-Hsin Huang's tongue-in-cheek, pencil-on-paper work titled "Art Basel (detail)" (2019) occupied an entire wall at, appropriately, Art Basel Hong Kong 2019.  The 192 x 488 cm piece depicts a panoramic scene of the exhibition floor at the annual event, where thousands of art enthusiasts - a record 88,000 attendees this year, according to the show's publicists - descend upon the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre to buy, ogle and ogle some more.



Those who have been to major art fairs can appreciate the humor in "Art Basel (detail)," which definitely takes more than a quick glance to single out all the characters depicted.  Stereotypes?  Caricatures?  Exaggerations?  Absolutely not - these types of people are omnipresent at every art show, and the fact that Huang's work pokes fun at both the attendees and the actual art alike makes one wonder how these submissions got past the review committee.



There are the Instagrammers posing for obligatory selfies.  Overdressed attention seekers.  Collectors with more cash than what they know what to do with.  Contemporary art takes a gut punch or two, of course.  "Art Basel (detail)" is actually one in a series of works capturing the annual show, although the rest are in color using oil and spray paint.