Get ready for some major walking at ART HK 2012!

It's not a fair, it's a marathon!!! Back for its fifth year, ART HK 2012 has announced its exhibitor line up and there will be a whopping 264 of them (!), with a total of 77 new participating galleries.

Leading galleries returning from across Asia include Long March Space and The Pace Gallery from
Beijing; Vitamin Creative Space from Guangzhou; Ben Brown Fine Arts and Hanart TZ Gallery from Hong Kong; Anna Schwartz Gallery from Melbourne; Nature Morte / Bose Pacia from New Delhi; Kukje Gallery and PKM Gallery from Seoul; Pearl Lam Galleries from Shanghai; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery from Sydney; Eslite Gallery from Taipei and SCAI THE BATHHOUSE from Tokyo. New additions include de Sarthe Fine Art from Hong Kong, Koyanangi from Japan and three galleries from Mumbai: Gallery Chemould Prescott Road, Galerie Mirchandani + Steinruecke and Volte.

The Fair will also host some of the most prestigious galleries from the West, including Lisson Gallery, Sprüth Magers Berlin London, Timothy Taylor Gallery and White Cube. Other notable galleries include Acquavella Galleries Inc., Marianne Boesky Gallery, Gagosian Gallery, Gladstone Gallery, Marian Goodman Gallery, Galerie Emmanuel Perrotin and David Zwirner. Galleries new to the Fair include The Breeder from Athens; carlier | gebauer and Galerie Gebr. Lehmann Dresden from Germany; Galeria Filomena Soares from Lisbon; Annely Juda Fine Art, Maureen Paley and Stuart Shave/Modern Art from London; XL Gallery from Moscow; Marlborough Gallery Inc and Michael Werner from New York; Galerie Nathalie Obadia and Galerie Daniel Templon from Paris; Casa Triângulo from Sao Paulo; Stevenson from South Africa; Galerie Karsten Greve Ag from Switzerland, among many others.

Of course, bigger doesn't always mean better, but let's face it, Hong Kong is now the premier art fair in Asia. Interestingly it will offer a 50-50 percent balance between Western and Asian galleries participation (compared with the 30-70% at Art Stage Singapore)

One can only say ART HK is bracing large...the only question is whether Art Basel, which now owns the fair risk cannibalizing itself with such a large Asian fair so close to its own Art Basel in June... especially with the new Frieze art fair which will take place in New York in early May.  Will the art caravan move along or come to an halt, especially in the current economic environment ? will important Asian clients no longer travel to Basel and stay in Hong Kong to do their shopping?

One interesting point - ART HK is trying to further its role as a platform for cross-cultural exchange by introducing a new initiative, offering to pair up interested galleries from the East and West, to share practical knowledge on conducting business as a gallery in their respective territories. Definitely a welcome move..

The fair will take place 17–20 May 2012, with preview 16 May, at its usual place the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition, right before Christie's Spring auction, and will be the place to be for art lovers come May.