Increasing Demand for Art Education in Asia

16 May 2019

Taking place at the end of May, Christie’s Hong Kong Spring Auctions, is an exciting week full of exhibitions, previews and forums, as well as Christie’s Education courses and of course the sales themselves. Sara Mao, Director of Christie’s Education in Asia, tells us more about the growing Asian contemporary art market. 

How is the growing appetite for contemporary Asian Art in Asia manifesting itself? 

The art industry in Asia has expanded tremendously in the past decade. From galleries, art fairs and auction houses on the commercial side, to museums and independent art spaces on the institutional side, there has been a phenomenal growth in the scale and scope of the industry, players in the market, and interest from art aficionados. Naturally, this exciting expansion has given rise to an increased demand for education from art lovers who wish to better understand how the art world works. 

What can Christie’s Education offer to the art lovers you mention? 

In all our courses, we emphasise a hands-on approach to art by giving students opportunities to handle objects that are soon to go to auction. The breadth of objects we can present allows students to apply their knowledge in a much more tangible way. I imagine there are few places globally that would offer the opportunity to handle rare works of art from Chinese ceramics, Japanese installation works, Contemporary sculpture or Korean lacquerware.

You have joined forces with the Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong for the fourth time to offer Contemporary Asian Art: An Insider's View course. What is the benefit of such collaboration?

It has been a great opportunity to align with the world-class Faculty of Arts of the University of Hong Kong to present a programme drawing upon different sources to understand contemporary Asian art from both an academic and a practical perspective. The Faculty develops the art history element of the programme, while the market-related portions are delivered by Christie’s lecturers. For the first time, we have combined the programme to coincide with the Christie’s Hong Kong auction marquee week to include exclusive viewings with our art specialists, a ‘how to read art’ handling session, as well as attending a live auction.

Do you think that five days is enough time to gain an understanding of the Asian contemporary market? 

Five days may seem short but we have condensed insight from our combined institutions to deliver key academic and practical art market knowledge. Each day covers a different area of Asian Contemporary art, including varying genres to business considerations and market knowledge. It is an invaluable course for anyone looking to understand the many roles within the industry whether as art lover or to develop their own career. 

Contemporary Asian Art: An Insider's View is taking place on 20-24 May; a two-day course Chinese Art in Hong Kong Part II: Ceramics will be held on 26-26 May; and Collecting Across Generations: The Rothschild Aesthetic on 27 May 2019 in Hong Kong.