Day in the Life: Follow Serial Entrepreneur Kevin Poon as He Installs an Art Show at a Restaurant and Browses Art Basel Hong Kong

The entrepreneur, art collector, and DJ documented a whirlwind day of art and reunions at Art Basel Hong Kong.

Kevin Poon.
Kevin Poon.

Kevin Poon wears many hats. The entrepreneur, art collector, and DJ is the founder of the art gallery WOAW. He has also co-founded bars and restaurants throughout Hong Kong and mainland China. This week, as Art Basel Hong Kong descended on his hometown, Poon documented a day in his life during the fair’s VIP opening. 

En Iwamura (left) and Kevin Poon (right) setting up the exhibition "URLANDSCHAFT" at WOAW Gallery in Central. All photos courtesy of Kevin Poon.

From left: En Iwamura and Kevin Poon setting up the exhibition “URLANDSCHAFT” at WOAW Gallery in Central. All photos courtesy of Kevin Poon.

12:00 p.m.

This is my first day out of quarantine. Eager to get back in the game, I immediately go to my gallery at Central to set up the newest exhibition featuring works by Japanese sculptor En Iwamura, titled “URLANDSCHAFT,” and do some photography. The artist also recently completed his quarantine in Hong Kong. We are so excited to host him, it’s been too long since an artist was able to fly into the city.

 

From left: Emerald Mou. Tobias Berger, and Tap Chan.

From left: Emerald Mou, Tobias Berger, and Tap Chan.

2:00 p.m.

After setting up the show, En and I cruise over to Art Basel Hong Kong. The overall presentation is as energetic as pre-pandemic times. We made a quick stop at Mine Project to meet up with co-founder and director Emerald Mou and Hong Kong artist Tap Chan. We also run into Tobias Berger, the head of art at Tai Kwun Art Centre—very much in awe of his creative vision.

 

From left: Dee Poon, Adeline Ooi, and Jonathan Cheung.

From left: Dee Poon, Adeline Ooi, and Jonathan Cheung.

2:30 p.m.

We have a nice encounter with Adeline Ooi, Art Basel’s Director Asia. Super proud of everything she has done for the city’s art scene, especially in the last few years. We also spot [fashion-industry insider] Dee Poon and [art advisor] Jonathan Cheung at the fair.

 

3:00 p.m.

Over at Ben Brown’s booth, the iconic “All You Need is Love” sculpture by Robert Indiana. Don’t we all?

 

Pictured with Atsuko Ninagawa at center.

Pictured with Atsuko Ninagawa at center.

3:30 p.m.

There’s a great contingent of Japanese art figures here in Hong Kong. Here’s us meeting owner and director of gallery Take Ninagawa, Atsuko Ninagawa (center), for the first time. She’s also the founding director of Art Week Tokyo, a citywide initiative for contemporary art in Tokyo, which officially launches this November.

 

Louise Bonnet, <i>Red Pantyhose</i>.

Louise Bonnet, Red Pantyhose.

3:45 p.m.

What I love most about Art Basel Hong Kong is that I get to wander around the fair and explore a plethora of artworks without a particular agenda. Here at Gagosian’s booth is Red Pantyhose by Los Angeles-based Louise Bonnet, who is renowned for her paintings of grotesque and bloated figures. I have loved her work since I saw her first show in 2016 and her latest at this year’s Venice Biennale.

 

5:30 p.m.

Enter the fantastical world of young Hungarian artist Bozó Szabolcs. We are hanging his paintings at a restaurant in Central Hong Kong, where I will be hosting an intimate dinner to celebrate Iwamura’s exhibition later in the evening. Heading to Iwamura’s exhibition opening next, super stocked!

 

URLANDSCHAFT opening reception.

URLANDSCHAFT opening reception.

6:00 p.m.

It’s a full house at the Asia debut of En Iwamura’s show at our gallery’s space in Central. It’s so great to see such a big turnout. Iwamura’s sculptures have a variety of facial expressions that range from shock and surprise to moody contemplation. Have sculptures ever looked so supple and endearing?

 

From left, En Iwamura with Hong Kong actor Sam Lee.

From left, En Iwamura with Hong Kong actor Sam Lee.

7:00 p.m.

Iwamura is pictured with Hong Kong actor Sam Lee. The artist is a little starstruck.  The actor appeared as one of the contestants in the Japanese film Ping Pong. They really hit it off!

From left, Fiona McLeish and Iwamura’s wife at an intimate dinner to celebrate Iwamura’s Asia debut.

From left, Fiona McLeish and Iwamura’s wife.

8:00 p.m.

Evenings are always busy time during Hong Kong’s fair week. To celebrate the opening of Iwamura’s show, I hosted an intimate dinner with my wife, Iwamura and his wife, and our close friends at a restaurant in IFC. After this, it’s time to wind down…and muster enough energy for another busy day ahead.

An intimate dinner to celebrate Iwamura’s Asia debut.

An intimate dinner to celebrate Iwamura’s Asia debut.


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