K11 Musea Plans “City As Studio” Street Art Exhibition

Travelers returning to Hong Kong will find an intriguing showcase at the Kowloon harbor-front attraction.

Martin Wong, Untitled (Bicycle Boy), 1997-98. Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 48 inches. © Estate of Martin Wong. Courtesy of William Lim c/o Living Limited, the Estate of Martin Wong and P•P•O•W, New York.

Hong Kong’s annual art month looks poised to make a post-pandemic comeback this spring, and the ultra-luxe K11 Musea shopping mall is getting in on the action with “City As Studio,” billed as the first major exhibition of graffiti and street art in China. Its upcoming launch coincides with Art Basel Hong Kong, and the special showcase will run from March 20 until May 14, 2023.

Curated by Jeffrey Deitch, a maverick art dealer and longtime advocate of graffiti art, “City As Studio” is a retrospective that looks back on the past half-century of the genre, using 1970s New York as the starting point. The exhibition chronicles the movement’s subsequent spread around the world, through artists who put their unique stamp on the urban environments of Los Angeles, San Francisco, São Paulo, Paris, and Tokyo. Genre pioneers like Fab 5 Freddy, FUTURA, and Jean-Michel Basquiat are on the lineup, as is a younger generation of New York street artists represented by KAWS and AIKO. In all, over 100 works will be shown at K11 Musea’s museum-grade cultural space, a more than 9,700-square-meter gallery atop the mall.

Highlights include Basquiat’s Valentine (1984), on loan from the personal collection of Paige Powell; The Bomb (1983) by CRASH; and Untitled (1983), a three-meter-long spray painting by Keith Haring. Also on display will be Charlie Ahearn’s film Juanito, which captures his twin brother, sculptor John Ahearn, making plaster casts of people in the Bronx. Artworks by AIKO and Lady Pink celebrate the unique contributions of female artists in a genre traditionally dominated by men. In addition, “City As Studio” will showcase photographs by the likes of Gusmano Cesaretti, Henry Chalfant, and Martha Cooper documenting street artists during the 1970s and 80s.

The non-profit K11 Art Foundation is organizing a diverse range of events to complement the exhibition, including talks, screenings, and docent-led tours. An education corner will feature an interactive graffiti-tagging activity suitable for visitors of all ages. Details on exhibition times, ticket prices, and the full lineup of artists can be found at k11artfoundation.org.


Shepard Fairey, Basquiat (Red), 2010. Stencil impression and mixed media collage on canvas, 152.4 x 111.8 cm. Courtesy of Shepard Fairey / ObeyGiant.com. Collection of Jeffrey Deitch.


AIKO, Kiss, 2017. 46 x 34 inches, Mixed media on canvas. Courtesy of the artist.


Craig Costello, Untitled, 2011, Latex enamel and Krink on steel mailbox, 139.7 x 73.7 x 73.7 cm / Untitled, 2011, Latex enamel and Krink on steel mailbox, 127 x 63.5 x 63.5 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

Kenny Scharf, BLOBZIC, 2018. Oil on canvas with powder-coated (aluminum frame), 96 x 120 inches. Courtesy of the artist.

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