Intelligence Squared Asia - You Don't Need Great Skill to Be a Great Artist

Hong Kong Convention Centre, Room S221

“You Don't Need Great Skill to Be a Great Artist”

Outset Contemporary Art Fund and Wedel Fine Art are pleased to present the third IQ2 Asia debate in Hong Kong, “You Don’t Need Great Skill to Be a Great Artist,” on 28 May 2010. The event, which brings to Asia some of the most important voices on contemporary art, will tackle the contentious questions: Is craftsmanship still important in creating the great art of our times? Are conceptual artists taking us for fools? Is there more value in art “made” by an artist’s own hand? Is skill in art limited to the technical? Do auction results or museum endorsements create the great artist?

Speakers for the motion, “You Don’t Need Great Skill to Be a Great Artist,” are Antony Gormley (British artist and 1994 winner of the Turner Prize) and Tim Marlow (art historian and director of exhibitions at White Cube gallery). Hans Ulrich Obrist (critic and co-director of exhibitions, Serpentine Gallery, London) and Sarah Thornton (sociologist and bestselling author of Seven Days in the Art World) will speak against it. Deborah Kan (presenter, Reuters Insider) will moderate the debate.


The IQ2 Asia event will be held before a live audience at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. It marks the second time the debate takes place during the Hong Kong International Art Fair, a highlight of the cultural calendar in Asia. Intelligence Squared Asia’s inaugural Hong Kong debate in May 2009, on the ownership of cultural treasures, attracted a standing room-only crowd of 500 people. The debate is presented by  Outset Contemporary Art Fund  and Wedel Fine Art .


Deutsche Bank is the lead sponsor of the 2010 IQ2 Asia debate series, consistent with its longstanding global commitment to promoting cultural vibrancy in the markets in which it conducts business. Deutsche Bank is also the lead sponsor for the Hong Kong International Art Fair. 

At least half-a-dozen auction houses are also planning sales in Hong Kong that week. In 2007, Hong Kong became the third-largest auction market in the world after London and New York.

“You Don’t Need Great Skill to Be a Great Artist” will take place at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on May 28, 2010. Doors will open at 6:00 pm and the debate will start at 6.30pm. Tickets are HK$300 per person, including free access to the ART HK 10 fair, and available through HK Ticketing:
+ 852 3128 8288  / .

For all press enquiries, please contact Whitney Ferrare on +852 9105 1500 /

About the Speakers


Antony Gormley, 1994 Turner Prize awardee, has revitalised the human image in sculpture through an investigation of the body as a place of memory and transformation, using his own body as subject, tool and material. He created iconic works of contemporary British sculpture, including Angel of the North at Gateshead and Quantum Cloud on the Thames in London. His work has been exhibited at major art venues like the Tate, Hayward and Serpentine galleries in the UK and the Museum of Modern Art in New York.


Hans Ulrich Obrist is an influential art curator. He is also an author and art historian. Obrist joined London’s Serpentine Gallery in 2006 and currently holds the post of Co-Director of Exhibitions and Programmes and Director of International Projects.

Obrist, who was born and raised in Switzerland, has one of the most extensive networks of art movers and shakers, and is a constant prominent presence at major international art events. He also curates and writes, continuing his long-running series of in-depth interviews with key figures in global culture.   

In 2009, Art Review magazine ranked him No. 1 in their list of the 100 most powerful people in the art world.


Tim Marlow is an art historian, curator, writer and broadcaster. He currently serves as director of exhibitions at London’s White Cube gallery.

He has written extensively on museums, artists and culture for publications like The Times of London, The Guardian and Blueprint. He has also presented radio programs, as well as UK television series and shows on art. Marlow famously hosted the Channel Four debate “Is Painting Dead?” at which Tracey Emin walked out.

The author of several books, including volumes on French sculptor Auguste Rodin and Austrian painter Egon Schiele, he has a master’s degree from London’s Courtland Institute of Art.



Sarah Thornton is the author of Seven Days in the Art World, an international non-fiction bestseller, available in nine languages and forthcoming in two Chinese editions through Renmin University Press (for mainland China) and the China Times Publishing Company (for Taiwan). Thornton has a BA in Art History and a PhD in the Sociology of Culture. She is the chief writer on contemporary art for The Economist.

About the Moderator


Deborah Kan is a presenter for Reuters Insider and has been a journalist for more than a decade. She was the main anchor of Star News Asia, an award-winning newscast reaching over 10 million households broadcast on the Star World channel. She was also presenter of Talk with Deborah Kan, a program featuring exclusive interviews with prominent business and world leaders including US Vice President Al Gore, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and Philippine President Joseph Estrada.

Prior to joining Reuters, Kan was a contributing correspondent to the Wall Street Journal and the Fox News Channel. In 2008, Kan was nominated as a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum.

About Intelligencesquared Asia

IQ2 Asia was founded in 2009 as a unique forum for political, economic and cultural debate.  The Hong-Kong based media group is run by Yana Peel and Amelie von Wedel as a non-profit organisation which promotes creative thought and challenging dialogue in the region. IQ2 Asia presents a range of globally and locally relevant debates that are designed to enlighten and encourage critical thinking and discussion by providing a unique forum for intellectual and cultural discussion.


Since launching in the UK in 2002, Intelligence Squared debates have attracted the world's leading thinkers, writers and activists, drawing crowds of up to 2,500 in London. Past speakers have included distinguished personalities like President Valery Giscard d'Estaing, Christopher Hitchens and Thomas Friedman. Now reaching up to 70 million people through its partnership with BBC World as well as millions of online viewers, Intelligence Squared has hosted discussions and debates in Hong Kong, India, the UK, the US, Australia and the Ukraine.

For more information about Intelligence Squared global activities please visit .

Press enquiries:
Whitney Ferrare
+852 9105 1500

For the Motion

Antony Gormley
Antony Gormley
Tim Marlow
Tim Marlow


Deborah Kan
Deborah Kan

Against the Motion

Hans Ulrich Obrist
Hans Ulrich Obrist
Sarah Thornton
Sarah Thornton
Next DebatePrevious Debate