- Political course unsettles art market
- Accusations by wife of ex-Interpol chief Meng
- E-yuan takes shape
- Great Wall Motor with new headquarters in Germany
- Xi strikes friendly tone at ASEAN summit
- German Bundesbank analysis of real estate crisis impact
- USA and China play ping-pong again
- DB receives buses from BYD
- Profile: Martin Brudermueller – BASF board member with affection for China
Whether it’s Art021 in Shanghai or the West Bund Art & Design Art Fair – China’s art market is booming. The People’s Republic has long been one of the largest markets for contemporary art, with billions of dollars in sales every year. So far, it’s mainly foreign galleries and artists who have profited from this, but a strong artist scene has long since established itself in China as well, as Ning Wang shows in her analysis of the Chinese art market. However, during her investigation, she has also encountered discord and concerns among gallery owners. Above all, the campaigns of state and party leader Xi Jinping could ruin the current boom.
Today, our Beijing author team takes you into the depths of a true political thriller. In October 2018, the first Chinese head of Interpol suddenly disappeared. There was no trace of him, and it took several days before the leadership in Beijing stated they had arrested Meng Hongwei for corruption. Now Meng’s wife is speaking out publicly. In a spectacular interview, she explains that her husband fell victim to a purge by head of state Xi Jinping. The party does not even show away from arresting internationally visible officials.
The introduction of a digital central bank currency has been discussed for a long time. But what is behind it: the internationalization of the yuan? The replacement of the US dollar as the reserve currency? Frank Sieren has taken a look at what the Chinese central bank chief has to say about the goals behind such a huge step. Our author in Beijing takes stock: Above all, China’s leadership wants to break the market power of internet giants.
I hope you enjoy today’s issue!
Is China’s booming art market meeting a political demise?
The rush was big: More than 400 galleries had applied to participate in the Shanghai art fair Art021. Only about a quarter of applicants were accepted, as David Chau, one of the co-founders of the art fair launched in 2012, explains. Art021 focuses on contemporary art. Foreign exhibitors, some of whom were unable to attend in person due to China’s strict travel regulations, were represented by their Chinese offshoots.
The West Bund Art & Design art fair, which was taking place at the same time, was also swarmed by galleries willing to participate: The fair even had to expand and move to the West Bund Dome, a former cement factory. Around 120 galleries and art institutions, 48 of them from overseas, were represented there. “The pandemic has made Art021 and the West Bund the ‘bridgeheads’ of the Chinese market,” says Ray Dong, who heads the Art Market Research Center at the prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing. “Because people can’t go overseas, we have to come [to Shanghai]. Its position in the market and in the minds of Chinese collectors is becoming more and more important” Dong told The Art Newspaper. Several private museums in Shanghai, such as the Yuz and the Long Museum, are also currently attracting visitors with new exhibition openings.
Shanghai gains importance as an art market
The fact that these fairs and exhibitions are booming is not surprising. China is now among the top three countries with the largest market for contemporary art, just after the US and the UK, according to industry platform artprice.com. “After a very difficult year in 2020, China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan all posted outstanding performances in the latter half of the year and the first half of 2021. Their combined contribution to the global Contemporary market (approximately $1 billion) represented 40% of its value,” artprice states. “The Asian market has therefore effectively become the world’s primary zone for the exchange of Contemporary artworks, and not just for Asian artists, but also for a growing number of Western artists,” according to one of the key statements of the Contemporary Art Market Report 2021.