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The Lure of the Glossy

Auction Houses in Southeast Asia

By Valentine Willie

Illustration by Harriet Seed 

When I started my first gallery in Kuala Lumpur almost 20 years ago, I insisted that its tagline be “Southeast Asian Art.” Of course, there are many who would take issue with the very idea of Southeast Asia as a single geographical, economic, political or even cultural entity. For them, the region is just too diverse and inchoate—a cacophony of different and unconnected voices. However, where others saw vast, unmanageable differences and an intellectual…

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