Saturday, February 4, 2012

Damien Hirst Spot Challenge: Hong Kong Spot

I'll attempt to post this entry even though many of the button commands on the web site are in Chinese.  I collected my second spot today at about half past 11 am at the Gagosian in Hong Kong.

  I have a terrible sense of direction and it took me a little while to find this gallery, although it couldn't be easier if you know where to go.  SO for those fellow challengers -- here's a tip.  If you're staying in Kowloon as I am, you simply take the subway from the Tsim Sha Tsui station 2 stops to the Central Station ($8.50HK), and follow the signs in this huge warren of a station to Exit D.  Then take Exit D1 (which will state it's to Pedder Street).  Upon exiting, turn right and the very first doorway is to No. 12 Pedder Street, the "Pedder Building."  Go in, take the small elevator to the 7th floor and you're there!  I could have made it from my hotel in Kowloon to the gallery in 20 minutes total if I'd known so I hope that helps.

The gallery is much smaller than in Beverly Hills, but has good light and a nice vibe.  Since I am under no time pressure whatsoever here in Hong Kong, I had a leisurely visit and enjoyed taking my time viewing the pieces.  The staff couldn't have been nicer as they processed my spot and took my photo.

My impression of Hong Kong is that is bursting with life in a way that is almost overwhelming.  I was last here in 1984 towards the end of the Cold War, and I was told then that I was lucky that I had had the chance to see Hong Kong before the British turned it over to China, because once that happened, it would fade into a shadow of what it once was.  I smiled to myself as today as I remembered that comment.  There were long lines of people waiting to be admitted to Hermes, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, etc.  Hong Kong seems a thousand times busier and built up -- and more prosperous -- than it was 28 years ago. 

The city has so many malls, elevated walkways, and bridges that it's a bit confusing to get around.  So here is another tip.  From the gallery, I wanted to take the Star Ferry back to Tsim Sha Tsui instead of the quick subway ride, so the young lady behind the counter at the gallery gave me directions.  Go back down the elevator, turn left after exiting the building and immediately left back into the Central Subway station.  This time, look for Exit A.  When you come out of that exit, you'll see an escalator that leads up to a bridge.  Go left over the bridge and into the IFC mall, which is another glitzy mall with many fancy shops and a good noodle restaurant (among many others).  After you've seen enough of the mall, follow the signs to the bridge that leads to the Ferry Terminals.  Terminal 7 will take you back to Tsim Sha Tsui on a 5 minute ferry ride for $2.40HK.  Upon leaving the ferry you'll walk into Canton Road.  If you prefer to go towards Nathan Road and the Peninsula and Intercontinental Hotels, you'll need to bear right.

I've had a fun day and a half here and tomorrow onward to London!  I'm hearing reports that it's terribly cold in Europe so I'm a little nervous about that...