Posts tagged UCCA
Back in February, I saw an exhibition at one of my favorite art organizations ever, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), that was not only aesthetically enjoyable but combined all three topics of this blog — art, public relations, and China — along with the additional theme of soccer (football). In connection with South Africa’s hosting the FIFA World Cup, PUMA commissioned artist Kehinde Wiley to paint portraits of soccer stars from throughout Africa. PUMA then made a short, promotional documentary about the paintings as well as soccer in Africa and heavily publicized the whole project both online and through an exhibition that traveled the world. Apparently PUMA also uses Kehinde Wiley’s art in their product design.
View more paintings and the video at the http://africa.puma.com section on Kehinde Wiley here.
This seems like a sponsorship partnership made in heaven for Wiley, UCCA, PUMA, and possibly also the players who are the painting subjects. Wiley got his work not only commissioned but heavily publicized and exhibited worldwide. Players got to be the subjects of paintings and a documentary viewed by people all over the world. UCCA got a free or cheaper-than-usual already curated exhibition, and PUMA gets to look like they care about art and Africa to visitors of high profile art institutions.
What made this project stand out to me when I was viewing it is that it seems like worldwide, especially in China, most people who love art are not so into sports and vice versa. This could be because both activities are pretty time intensive, either as a participant or follower. I think it’s smart of PUMA as a sports brand to reach out to art lovers. It may not be the first time a sports brand has done so, but it’s the first time I’ve personally witnessed it.
This past Sunday, I finally made it to the exhibition “Christian Dior and Chinese Artists” at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing’s 798. I had heard it was great but was skeptical. Was this exhibition going to be one big, classless advertisement for Dior? Fashion has an obvious connection to art made public by many museums, so how was this unique?
Every once in a while I have an experience that reminds me why I want to work for arts clients. My visit to the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) on an unusual Friday off was one of them. Most of the works in the current exhibition made me smile, some made me nearly cry, and even fewer made me grimace. Overall, this art center is a reminder of the positive effects of globalization and art’s vital role in society.
UCCA is considered China’s first nonprofit art organization. Its founders and some of its upper management are foreign, but almost all the art is Chinese, and all of it is contemporary. It’s the only organization in Beijing’s 798 Art Zone to charge admission, but every Thursday is free, and I went during the end of a period about two weeks long of free admission every day in celebration of the Olympics. The bulk of the current work comes from the personal collection of Guy and Myriam Ullens, the center’s founders. Most of its art is from really famous artists, so it inspires to me to see this work available for viewing and experiencing in such a publicly accessible way.
I almost had a heart attack when I discovered “Bloodline Series – Family Portrait 1” by Zhang Xiaogang tucked away in the main exhibition room’s corner. This series will probably be as famous as Andy Warhol’s portraits someday, if it isn’t already. Unlike most of the other fragile work by famous artists at UCCA, it was hung at eye level, making it vulnerable to vandalism, both unintentional and intentional.
I maintain that because Chinese people like to touch visual art much more than I’m used to, good artists who create art for Chinese visitors make it interactive. To enter the exhibition, visitors go through “Space Time Tunnel” by Wang Du, the same artist who created “International Kebab,” my favorite exhibition I’ve seen in 798. Its entrance contains a claustrophobia disclaimer with directions to an alternate entrance. One of my favorite Chinese artists, Cao Fei, made a Second Life world called “RMB City” that is a futuristic combination of famous buildings in all Chinese cities that visitors can explore on a computer.
UCCA may also be one of the best places in Beijing for tourists to shop. I wish I could buy all my postcards there, but alas, they are quite pricey: 10元 (currently about $1.50) each. I may reserve UCCA postcards for family members.
Have you ever had an experience with art that inspired you personally or professionally? Please tell!
I’ve become someone fascinated with Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, located about a five-minute walk from my work and known as the first non-profit art organization in China. Here’s a copy of its press release on changing chief curators, followed by the English version from Google Translate. The translation’s definitely not perfect, but you get the idea.
Please press release issued 20080513
You Lunsi Chief Curator of Contemporary Art Center, Qin, deputy director of the source will carry out his resignation and an independent curator career, Guo Xiaoyan successor as the center’s chief curator
You Lunsi Contemporary Art Center curator of the UCCA杰罗姆桑斯announced that Deputy Director and Chief Curator Qin source will leave the Arts Centre. From the opening date, Qin source for a non-profit organizations that provide a crucial contribution and efforts, and building a comprehensive Juju highly professional team of art for art center in China’s development and success of planning a series of exhibitions, Arts education courses, and the related promotional efforts.
You Lunsi left on Contemporary Arts Centre’s decision, Qin said the source of self-originated from his personal career planning considerations. Qin source said: “I hope that the next step can be an independent curator and artist’s identity, with other artists and art institutions work more closely……, I UCCA of work experience, I was invaluable.”
The newly appointed Chief Curator Guo Xiaoyan, as early as You Lunsi before the opening of Contemporary Art Centre (September 2007), then to join the identity of the curator. She Arts Centre will develop into China’s contemporary creative voice market, an important role to play. Guo Xiaoyan have been involved in China’s first folk art museums “on the River Art Gallery” (Chengdu) the establishment and management. In 2002 the Guangdong Museum of Art, “the Guangzhou Triennial” deputy director of the office, planning, planning, organizing many important contemporary art exhibitions and activities, in November 2005 of the second session, “the Guangzhou Triennial” planning one. In 2004, Guo Xiaoyan as Assistant Curator of Contemporary Art in Lyon, France planning “China Year” exhibition.
杰罗姆桑斯 said, You Lunsi Contemporary Arts Centre grateful Qin’s outstanding contribution to the source. In his work done on the basis of Guo Xiaoyan will continue to vigorously develop the arts centre of the arts projects, in-depth and international artistic dialogue.
As an international platform You Lunsi Contemporary Art Center display contemporary art from China as the creative mind would have been extended. In the next few months, the center of a series of art projects will increase cooperation with the Chinese artists of the new project.
You Lunsi Contemporary Art Center is a non-profit integrated arts centre, funded by collectors You Lunsi couples construction, in November 2007 was officially opened. Arts Centre launched, including well-known young artists and the exhibitions, to create a through education, research projects to share the experience of contemporary art platform.