Pop-up Supper Club aims to make art in Hong Kong more accessible

As ultra-high-net-worth collectors descend on Hong Kong for the VIP opening of Asia’s largest art fair, a new fringe event is floating the idea that the art market can balance commerce with open and relaxed experiences.

Taking place at the Fringe Club in Central, Supper Club (until 30 March) is the pop-up initiative of Hong Kong gallerists Alex Chan (owner of The Shophouse), Ysabelle Cheung and Willem Molesworth (the founders of PHD Group). Twenty-two local and international galleries are exhibiting alongside panel discussions and artist performances over six evenings, with opening hours from 4pm until 1am. The event is supported by curator Anqi Li and art advisor Guoying Stacy Zhang, a board member of the Fringe Club.

Supper Club is taking place in Central’s Fringe Club Courtesy Fringe Club, Hong Kong

Supper Club is designed to be an informal experience of contemporary art, countering the packed calendar of exclusive events during Art Basel. The organisers hope it will be “a bridge between the internationally focused, hyper-commercial energy of Hong Kong’s art week and the experimental, intimate localities of regional presentations,” Cheung says.

They drew inspiration from the 2022 launch of Basel Social Club, alongside the Swiss edition of Art Basel, as well as Our Week, a similar fair hosted during last year’s Frieze Seoul and Kiaf Seoul. Both events aimed to be a relaxed antidote to the corporate mega-fairs.

Some of the Supper Club galleries taking part are showing art in Hong Kong for the first time, like the Seoul-based Cylinder, which opened in 2020 and until now had only taken part in South Korean fairs. “After participating in Frieze Seoul last year, we felt that we might need a more expanded gallery programme,” says the gallery’s founder Dooyong Ro. “We were fascinated by Supper Club’s stance, which regards itself as an alternative fair that does not follow conventions.”

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