Hong Kong Museum of Art (Ha Bik-chuen)

I went to the Hong Kong Museum of Art today. It was free admission day, but I was told not to worry about a crowd: "Hong Kong cares only about making money," the woman who gave me directions on the subway said. "We don't care so much about paintings or music or museums."

The museum featured a special exhibition of the work of Ha Bik-chuen (1925-2009), an artist with whom I was (and still largely am) unfamiliar, but I was told he is somewhat of a local hero.

One of the first things I noticed about Ha Bik-chuen was that he appeared to be influenced by Marcel Duchamp, the granddaddy Dada, my favorite artist when it comes to the philosophy of art, as opposed to, say, the art itself. Later on in the exhibit I saw some of Ha's personal library, which included volumes on Picasso, Duchamp, et al.

Hong Kong Museum of Art

At the nearby space museum, door handles are disinfected every two hours. The space museum was largely unimpressive, although I saw only the main exhibition hall, not the entire museum, but c'mon, it's not like China has ever even been to the moon; in your face, China!

In the foyer of the entrance to the Ha Bik-chuen exhibit, which did not allow photography; fortunately this entrance piece was one of the more interesting examples of his work: The room was plastered with wallpaper made from old color photographs of storefronts, and of course the awning and drying laundry were added later. The whole thing made me feel as though I was actually in Asia, as opposed to Hong Kong, which feels a bit more like a dirty shopping mall on the moon selling only luxury goods.

Translation of Pidgin English from the 1800s: Basically this exhibit poked fun at the fact that many native Chinese speakers have difficulty with English pronunciation and grammar, which makes sense once you have an understanding just how easy Chinese grammar is compared to English. The exhibit was presented uniquely, in the form of a travel guide from the 1800s, with appropriate paintings and sketches accompanying text about certain activities (e.g. housing, entertainment). And of course Pidgin English for every topic.