On 18 and 19 January, art lovers and professionals came together for the second edition of the Verbier Art Summit, this year curated by Daniel Birnbaum, director of the Moderne Museet in Stockholm. Birnbaum invited artists Ed Atkins, Douglas Coupland, Olafur Eliasson, Pamela Rosenkranz and Anicka Yi, curator Karen Archey, virtualreality expert Dado Valentic, scholar and curator Michelle Kuo, research professor in neuro-engineering Paul Verschure, and museum director Susanne Pfeffer to discuss the theme More Than Real: Art in the Digital Age. The closed morning discussions in the various chalets – one of the wonderful features of this unique summit – turned out to be much more pluriform than the title suggested. Some of my personal conclusions were that the Frankensteinian fear of the digital world is as old as technology itself and has proven to be unfounded; that we can currently see only the tip of the digital world, which will bring about a tsunami in our social structures. Once this tsunami has receded, we will all have an ocean of free time that will need to be filled and financed. These are challenges for which we currently have no answers.
In February, in a frozen NY, I had lunch with Jon Hendricks to talk further about Yoko Ono’s proposal for the exhibition Buddha’s Life that I am co-curating and designing at the Nieuwe Kerk in Amsterdam. The exhibition, featuring historical artefacts representing 2500 years of Buddhist philosophy alongside works by contemporary artist such as Ai Weiwei, Carolee Schneemann and Ugo Rondinone, will be opened by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on 14 September together with a symposium on consciousness and technology.
March saw the fifth edition of Art Basel Hong Kong. As this market has become increasingly interesting for me, this year I have opened an office in Hong Kong.
TETTERO HK Limited will occupy itself mainly with finding works in the Asian market for my European and American clients, but will also focus on Asian clients. As The Financial Times wrote on 6 April in its report on the fair: “The confidence and sophistication of Asia’s contemporary market increases steadily”. This is also evident in the recent opening of a prestigious new building on Queens Road Central that houses David Zwirner and Hauser & Wirth alongside Pearl Lam and other Asian galleries. Following a trip to Tokyo to see several beautiful Mono-ha works from the 1970s and 1980s and a visit with architect and artist Kohei Nawa in Kyoto to discuss his work for the exhibition in the Nieuwe Kerk, I had the opportunity to celebrate the arrival of spring in Naoshima and Teshima, two art islands in the Inland Sea near Takamatsu. An exodus since the 1990s has left these islands practically uninhabited and they are now excellent examples of how the popularity of contemporary art can breathe new life into an area. Several museums, designed by Tadao Ando, show works from Monet to Warhol, and there are also several museums devoted to specific artists. The Japanese artist Rei Naito, another artist featured in the exhibition at the Nieuwe Kerk, has a museum in which you can follow the ebb and flow of small streams of water. Teshima Art Museum is the only museum on the eponymous island and attracts enormous numbers of visitors. If you plan ahead, you can spend a night in one of the museums. The best deal on Naoshima is an oval room in the Benesse House, which grants you exclusive access to one of James Turrel’s open sky installations.