The Armory Show 2014: Interview with Philip Tinari, Director UCCA

On 23/12/2013 by Site Default

In September, artnet’s Jessica Zhang sat down with Philip Tinari, director of Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) in the 798 Art District in Beijing.

Jessica Zhang: First of all, congratulations on becoming the curator of the China Focus section of the 2014 New York Armory Show. It will be the first time that The Armory Show is hosting a China Focus section, which is a lot of responsibility for you. What do you think led you to play the curator role for this particular event? What would you like to present for your first appearance?

Philip Tinari: I guess the reason can be traced to my background. I accumulated experience at art fairs when I worked at Art Basel; I used to be an editor of LEAP magazine, and I have been the director of UCCA for two years. Essentially, what I want to build is a platform that provides a comprehensive overview of Chinese Contemporary Art. I feel that America’s understanding of Chinese Contemporary Art has stagnated since 2006, or maybe even since 1998. Without a doubt, many solo exhibitions of Chinese artists have taken place, such as the exhibition tour of Ai Weiwei (Chinese, b.1957), or exhibitions curated by a number of galleries. Yet there is no system, and in fact, it had been a long time since Chinese Contemporary Art has been comprehensively displayed in a public forum. In 2006, when I was working at Sotheby’s, I participated in the first auction of Chinese Contemporary Art, which showcased about 300 artworks. At that time, an art critic for The New York Times described the preview of that auction as the biggest exhibition to summarize the development of Chinese Contemporary Art in the last decade. That being said, China Focus 2014 will be even more concentrated than that preview. I hope to present the most current Chinese Contemporary Art, such as artworks by emerging young artists who participated in the ON/OFF exhibition—a large-scale group exhibition held at UCCA in 2013—alongside works that deal with historical subject matter, such as those by members of The Stars Group, including Huang Rui (Chinese, b.1952) and Wang Keping (Chinese, b.1949). The artwork becomes the most important thing when it comes to organizing an exhibition, and my idea is to present a more comprehensive survey of Chinese Contemporary Art.



Leave a Reply