One of the world’s richest men, Adrian Cheng has successfully married commerce and art with his flagship K11 Art Malls in Hong Kong and Shanghai, which sell art and design objects by local creatives. But while Cheng has filled the gap between fashion and art, he’s also identified another more concerning gap: between Chinese artists and the international art world. His solution? The nonprofit K11 Art Foundation, which supports art villages in Wuhan and Guiyang, China, helping young artists find a path from the local art scene to the international stage through academic exchanges and international exhibitions.
The Armory Show’s “Focus: China” fits just that nationalistic mission, featuring 17 Chinese galleries curated by Philip Tinari, the director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art. We walked through the special section with Cheng to get his insights into the most compelling Chinese artists at the fair. Here are his picks, in his own words.