Asia Week New York—the ten-day Asian art extravaganza—which concluded on March 19, 2016 achieved $130 million in total sales.
From the minute the 45 international galleries of Asia Week New York opened their doors on March 10, a whirlwind of activities swept the city. The annual event was celebrated with a magnificent reception co-hosted with the Asian Department of the Metropolitan Museum of Art on March 14 when Thomas P. Campbell, the director of The Metropolitan Museum, Mike Hearn, Chair of the Asian Art Department and Lark Mason, chairman of Asia Week New York welcomed more than 650 collectors, curators and Asian art specialists. The event ignited excitement that burned for the entire week, and the Asian art world buzzed with exhibitions and auctions that were thronged with international buyers from Mainland China, Taiwan, India, Japan, Korea, Europe and the United States.
“Despite headlines of the Chinese economy affecting Asia Week New York, the galleries saw steady traffic throughout the week, and the four major auction houses including Bonhams, Christie’s, Doyle, and Sotheby’s saw sales that were robust,” said Lark Mason, chairman of Asia Week New York.
Mason reported that museum curators from all corners of the country and the globe flooded Asia Week New York, including the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Saint Louis Art Museum, the Minneapolis Institute of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The Brooklyn Museum, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Newark Museum, the Phoenix Art Museum, the San Antonio Art Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Herbert F. Johnson Museum at Cornell University, the Harvard University Art Museums, the Indianapolis Art Museum, the Yale University Art Gallery, the Phillips Collection, the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, the Museum of the City of New York, the Nelson-Atkins Museum, the Philadelphia Museum, the Detroit Institute of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, the Worcester Art Museum, the University of Michigan Museum, the Cleveland Museum, the Crow Collection in Dallas, the Virginia Museum of Art, the Princeton Art Museum, the Jordan Schnitzer Art Museum, the Norton Museum of Art, Asia Society Museum, Ackland Art Museum, The China Institute, The Toledo Museum, The Korea Society Gallery, the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Smart Museum and from abroad the British Museum of Art, the Royal Ontario Museum, and the Asian Civilisations Museum in Singapore.
Accolades came in from just about every quarter, as evidenced by the comments by the participating galleries:
Chinese specialist Eric Zetterquist of his eponymous Zetterquist Galleries in New York commented: “We have had a very active Asia Week this year, with non-stop traffic throughout the ten days. I am particularly delighted to find that pessimism about the impact of the Chinese economy is completely unwarranted. We saw many Chinese collectors and dealers, who were active buyers. As with most years, I enjoyed visits with museum curators from all over the country, many of whom brought interested patrons. Sales were robust with still more to come, and several new clients are among the purchasers.”
“Asia Week New York 2016 was another strong year at Kapoor Galleries, with many museum curators, collectors and enthusiasts showing up throughout the 10 day event,” said Suneet Kapoor. “We were delighted by the attendance at our opening reception, welcoming curators from the Rubin Museum, The Met, Brooklyn Museum, Newark Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Princeton University Museum, among others. “A sale of note was a very fine thangka of Arhat Bakula, a very large and powerful work, with beautiful detail on his robe and the various elements throughout, dating back to the 18th century.
“We are delighted to report high attendance at our exhibition,” said James Lally of J.J. Lally & Co., another Chinese specialist, who reported that 80% of his exhibition was sold before the end of Asia Week. “The subject of our exhibition this year was very esoteric—ancient Chinese jade—but the response was very strong and we had many serious inquiries from American collectors and museums and we received many U.S. collectors and curators, as well as visitors from Asia and around the world.”
“Ninety-five percent of our exhibited works sold before Asia Week’s end and nearly a month before the show closed,” said Joan Mirviss of her eponymous New York gallery Joan B. Mirviss Ltd. “I couldn’t be more pleased with the fervent reception of A Palette for Genius: Japanese Water Jars for the Tea Ceremony. This was the first-ever exhibition purely dedicated to showcasing the mizusashi, or water jar, even in Japan, and it was very gratifying to see how everyone responded to it.”
Brendan Lynch of the London-based gallery Oliver Forge & Brendan Lynch, said that he sold about half of his 35 paintings that were part of his exhibition Indian Paintings from the Heil Collection. “We met with many more museums this year and there was a steady flow of collectors, dealers and faithful amateurs.”
Carol Conover, managing director of Kaikodo LLC, specialists in Chinese works of art, reported that over 30 museums, including several European and Asian curators, visited her Upper East Side gallery. “Our experience this year was very gratifying in that Asia Week New York is now well established and we are attracting collectors from all over the world whether they be private or museums. In addition to our sales, we were also happy to see a new generation of young curators attend.”
First-time participant, Laurence Miller, whose New York gallery features contemporary Japanese photography, was extremely pleased with his Asia Week New York experience. “Numerous museum curators visited our gallery and we made sales to several of them including the Nelson-Atkins Museum.”
Alan Kennedy, a Santa Monica-based textile specialist, had a very positive experience this year with a steady flow of visitors to his gallery and reports that three museums have received pieces and final confirmation from their acquisitions committee are forthcoming very soon.”
“Asia Week has been a great first time experience for us,” said Alexander Gherardi of Phoenix Ancient Art in New York. “We were able to reach the Asian art crowd that we have never interacted with before, and received very complimentary responses, which was quite validating for us since Chinese art isn’t our main area of expertise as our focus is on Western Mediterranean and Egyptian antiquities.”
Michael C. Hughes, a private dealer specializing in Chinese and Korean art, said: “For me it was one of my better years. I had a great deal of interest from Mainland China and numerous museums visited my gallery with their patrons throughout the ten days. I’m working on a number of potential sales to museums.”
Brisk traffic and excellent sales were the order of the day at Kang Collection Korean Art in New York. “We had a very heavy flow of traffic and met 24 curators, and 4 museum directors,” said Keum Ja Kang, the gallery owner.
Nana Onishi, who specializes in contemporary Japanese metalwork, installed her exhibition at Dalva Brothers, the purveyor of French 18th and 19th century decorative arts. “Mixing Japanese metalwork against the backdrop of French decorative arts was greeted favorably by visitors to the gallery, she reported. “Fifty percent of our buyers were new and they appreciated the mix of the East and West, and the old and new.”
Martha Sutherland, whose gallery specializes in contemporary Chinese paintings, was pleased with the response by the many museum curators who came to see her single-artist exhibition by Hung Hsien. “We saw many more serious collectors this year,” she said, and we made sales to museums and private collectors.”
Walter Arader of Walter Arader Himalayan Art in New York was pleased with the week having received many museums and private collectors both new and old. “ I noticed an increased interest in the earlier periods of Pala, Malla and Kashmir.”
“This Asia Week ranks among one of my best,” said Erik Thomsen, a Japanese art specialist in New York. “I’ve made sales to several major American museums and sold nine out of the eleven lacquer pieces by the artist Yoshio Okada.”
Asia Week New York Association, Inc. is a 501(c) 6 non-profit trade membership organization registered with the state of New York.
For more information visit www.AsiaWeekNewYork.com