Collecting the Contemporary: From Mega Gallery to Box Store, Paintings to Toys, the Evolution of Millennial Art Collectors in North East Asia

Mr Raymond Rohne1

1Hong Kong University of Science & Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong

Studies of the history of art collection in humanities often focus primarily on high culture, the term coined by Matthew Arnold and the aesthetics of composition of art itself, within the academy. Furthermore, the research on contemporary art collection has paid inadequate attention to the process of how the current trends in North East Asia have come to be, by millennial contemporary art collectors. This disregard has left those within the humanities, especially historians of art collections, little scholarly understanding how these new collectors of contemporary art have changed the misconceptions of art from high street to main street in the development and dissemination of contemporary art culture. In this paper, I put forward the notion that millennial contemporary art collectors in North East Asia, have helped build a global narrative of art in their respective traditional societies which has transformed regionalized art collections to art of the times. It has also reshaped the way younger generations who are not collectors, engage with contemporary art itself, through commercialization of art products and collaborations. Based on qualitative analysis, this presentation will examine how millennial collectors of contemporary art have built prolific collections while at the same time changed the cultural landscape.


Raymond Rohne is PhD candidate in history (HKPFS awardee) at HKUST, where he also received a MPhil. He earned a MA at CUHK from the Centre for Chinese Studies. Raymond holds a BA in Political Science & International Relations from Underwood International College at Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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