The Art of Travel

SEP 27, 2017

Greg McNamara astride Lynn Chadwick’s Sitting Couple at The Forum.

From left: Greg McNamara at Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles, California; Greg McNamara stands next to an art installation by Walter De Maria, at the Chichu Art Museum in Naoshima

Hong Kong-based ‘artpreneur’ and frequent flyer Greg McNamara shares his packing and travel wisdom

As founder of McNamara Art Projects, an independent art consultancy and curatorial body, Greg McNamara has quickly made a name for himself with an innovative series of public art programmes, including the late Lynn Chadwick’s renowned metal sculptures, Sitting Couple on display at The Forum and High Hat Man and High Hat Women at LANDMARK ALEXANDRA. In November the Hong Kong-based artpreneur will launch a series of exhibitions at a newly-opened project space in Wong Chuk Hang, while continuing to plan more public art shows. All this means McNamara, who was born in Hong Kong and educated in the UK, is on the road up to six months a year. Here, he gives LANDMARK a peek inside his well-organized carry-on and the scoop on his favourite art destinations around the world.

Where does your work usually take you?

I mainly go to Tokyo and Los Angeles – those are the main places I go to meet artists. Then I’ll travel a lot to New York and Europe. I also attend maybe five or six art shows a year, including Frieze, Art Basel and.

What is your overall packing strategy?

I use a hard-case carry-on and then I basically stick to a uniform, which consists of three pairs of black jeans, seven identical white T-shirts, two or three jackets, and two or three pairs of shoes. It’s basically about simplicity. I don’t have to think about it; I can put it all in and it’s ready to go. It all fits into one little carry-on, but I’ll bring a bag as well for books, my laptop and stuff.

What are some of your favourite brands?

I shop a lot at I.T and ISAIA. For jackets I like double-breasted linen, made by my tailor in Hong Kong. To be honest, my style is quite eclectic. One day I’ll wear suede slippers and the next I’ll wear high-tops.

What are your in-flight essentials?

Books and magazines. I’m very old-school. Right now I’m reading a book called Shoe Dog, which is a memoir by the creator of Nike (Phil Knight). I’d recommend that. And the magazines I always buy and read are The Rake and Vanity Fair.

Any grooming products or routine?

I tend to forget everything and just stock up on hotel toothbrushes!

LANDMARK is celebrating A Year of Wisdom. What is your best travel advice or wisdom?

Get out of your comfort zone. Go to places you wouldn’t normally go, in ways that you wouldn’t normally go. Hike instead of taking a bus; take a boat instead of a plane. Just do different things because it will inevitably grow your conscious knowledge of societies, cultures and other people, which is important.

Greg McNamara’s Favourite Art Destinations

Naoshima, Japan

The best [art destination] would be an island called Naoshima, which is an “art island”. Essentially all it has are three world-class museums that are designed by a very good architect, Tadao Ando. It’s a place that really does change your life. It’s quite spiritual.

Rome, Italy

Rome is always on top of my list. My main interest in art is 17th-century Italian baroque. So I go to Rome once a year and just walk around and see the things I like to see.

Los Angeles, California, USA

LA is good for young artists and young galleries. There are a lot of new galleries opening up in downtown LA – it’s called the Arts District.

Wong Chuk Hang, Hong Kong

And there’s my project space in Wong Chuk Hang. We’re using the space to invite Western galleries who don’t have a presence in Hong Kong to come and showcase some of their artists. The plan is to do four shows a year — one example of what we’ll showcase is a gallery called Lorcan O’Neill from Rome, with the artist Gianni Politi.