As China takes lead in international art world, South and Southeast Asian art follows steadily behind

Pakistani, Indonesian, and Vietnamese contemporary art burgeon in United States

New York, NY (May 12, 2011)— As China just surpassed the U.S. in terms of fine-art auction revenue according to Artprice (March 2011), the recent surge of South and Southeast Asian art at auction, galleries, and museums is proving to the Western world that it’s not just China that can play with the big boys.

“Sure, China is hot, but that’s just the peak of the iceberg,” states Lorenz Rudolf, former director of Art Basel and cofounder of
Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair. “This is not just about a group of Chinese painters. It’s about a growing market going on in this

While nearly every major New York gallery has signed on a Chinese artist, and prices for contemporary Chinese works have increased by over 2000% since 2004, art enthusiasts are looking for contemporary art that is fresh with intrinsic and appreciating value. Collectors, dealers, galleries, and museums are turning to South and Southeast Asian art not only for original perspective, but also for investment purposes.

Founder of AiBo Fine Asian Art, one of the first galleries in the U.S. to focus exclusively on contemporary Vietnamese art, Glenn Aber, says of the recent Southeast Asian art boom, “I invested in the Vietnamese art scene about six years ago because it was in its nascent
stages and still relatively unknown in the West. I recognized the value.” Mr. Aber is planning to open a gallery in Tribeca and works
with artists directly from Hanoi. “Now, Southeast Asian art is exploding in the U.S. Take Dang Xuan Hoa, an original member of the
Gang of Five*. Dang garnered $85,700 at a Sotheby’s auction in April. It’s really an exciting time.”

Sotheby’s hosted a Modern & Contemporary South Asian Art auction in March featuring contemporary Pakistani artists (e.g. Mohammad Ali Talpur, Ali Kazim, and Faiza Butt), Indian artists (e.g. Ravinder Reddy), among others. The auction brought in $9.2 million.

Other areas in Southeast Asia, like Vietnam, are boding well for contemporary artists. Vietnamese artist, Dinh Q. Lê recently had a
solo show at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and Dinh An-My Lê, Pham Luan, and Nguyen Xuan Tien and other artists also have found their art in museums, galleries and auction houses, getting reviews from publications such as ArtForum, LA Times, andThe Village Voice. Le Thanh Son, an artist from Hanoi, has had his art prices rapidly increase in value and is collected by such luminaries as Bill Clinton, Prince Andrew, and Bill Gates.

As South and Southeast Asian art continues to steadily grow in the West, investors and art collectors are seeing the potential value of
the art in those countries and are looking south, specifically to Vietnam, to see what’s next.

*Gang of Five- the first contemporary group to gain international
recognition outside Vietnam in the late 90’s

Quinn Barker
Publicist, Spun

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