The Armory Show: The China Symposium

When 8 Mar 2014 - 9 Mar 2014
Where Piers 94 (The New York Times Style Magazine Media Lounge)
711 12th Ave
New York City, NY 10019
United States
Enquiry 312 527 4141

The China Symposium: Saturday & Sunday, March 8-9 2014
Organized by Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
In partnership with Mr. Adrian Cheng and the K11 Art Foundation

NEW YORK – The Armory Show is pleased to announce The China Symposium, a program of conversations that aims to elaborate and clarify the state of contemporary art in China today. In partnership with Adrian Cheng and his art foundation, a series of eight discussions will be held over the two most visited days of The Armory Show (March 8-9, 2014). The China Symposium will assemble speakers from around China and beyond, including leading artists, journalists, curators, collectors, gallerists, and academics. The Symposium is held in conjunction with the Armory Focus: China section of the fair, which is being curated by Philip Tinari, Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, and will provide new insight into contemporary cultural practice in China through an exciting selection of galleries from the Mainland and Hong Kong. The first day of the forum explores circumstances and dynamics shaping the external environment, while the second day looks at significant currents in art itself. Together the two days offer perhaps the most comprehensive overview of the art scene in China yet undertaken for a general New York audience.

Adrian Cheng is founder and chairman of the K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, which provides a springboard to launch emerging Chinese artists into the global arena through an array of groundbreaking initiatives, including the K11 art spaces, educational programs, and artist-in-residence programs. In line with the Foundation’s mission to generate international dialogue surrounding the development of Chinese contemporary art, it has made The Armory Show’s China Symposium possible, marking an ambitious expansion of the fair’s long-standing Open Forum discussion series. The Foundation recently provided educational programming support for Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Adrian Cheng comments, “We are the new generation to define the contemporary art landscape of China, and it is my privilege to be part of this dynamic change by nurturing and incubating artistic talents in Greater China. Chinese society is at an important crossroad, and Chinese contemporary art is reflecting the key social and economic developments in China today. As we help young Chinese artists gain recognition at home and abroad, we hope to help educate the wider public about art. We are constantly inspired and humbled by the voices underlying great works of art, and we believe The China Symposium and The Armory Show 2014 will be a milestone for Chinese voices to find a greater audience.”

On his multifaceted involvement in the fair, Philip Tinari notes, “my goal is not only to add a further layer of depth to the broader China Focus initiative, but also allow for a new set of relationships and understandings—interpretive, experiential, cooperative—about art in China today to emerge.”

Noah Horowitz, Executive Director of The Armory Show states, “It has been an honor to forge this partnership with Adrian and the K11 Art Foundation. The Foundation’s support in helping to realize The China Symposium has been immeasurable and we look forward to introducing the important work that they are doing in Greater China to our wide-reaching audiences in New York City.”

All panels will take place in T: The New York Times Style Magazine Media Lounge on Pier 94.


12:15 – 12:30pm
Noah Horowitz, Executive Director, The Armory Show
Philip Tinari, Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), Beijing
Adrian Cheng, Founder and Chairman, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong

12:30 – 1:45pm
PARTICIPANTS: Adrian Cheng; Jerome Cohen; Jeremy Goldkorn; Hans Ulrich Obrist
MODERATOR: Reihan Salam

China’s rise to global power has brought about an unprecedented level of openness to the outside world, paradoxically paired with an acute sensitivity to dissent from both inside and beyond. What do these new dynamics mean, especially for the art world? What are the connections between political developments and decisions at the highest levels and the position of contemporary art in the public culture? Now that a new group of leaders has decisively taken the reins, what do we have to look forward to, and what if anything should we fear?

Featuring panelists: Adrian Cheng, Founder and Chairman, K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong; Jerome Cohen, Professor of Law, New York University School of Law; Jeremy Goldkorn, Director, Danwei; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director of Exhibitions & Programmes and Director of International Projects, Serpentine Galleries, London. Moderated by Reihan Salam, Political Commentator, Columnist and Author.

2:00 – 3:15pm
PARTICIPANTS: Huang Rui; Meg Maggio; Shen Qibin; Shaway Yeh
MODERATOR: András Szántó

A long legacy of censorship, speculation, and pay-for-play practice at museums and in the media has created the perception of a deeply flawed system for contemporary art in China. And yet in recent years a crop of enlightened academic departments, dedicated galleries, curious collectors, ambitious foundations, and public institutions has emerged to counter this earlier understanding. Nodding to Lawrence Alloway’s 1972 studio-to-market analysis of the Western art world, this panel asks what is distinctive about the models that have emerged on the ground in China, and what, perhaps, they might have to teach us.

Featuring Panelists: Huang Rui, Artist, Beijing; Meg Maggio, Director, Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing and Hong Kong; Shen Qibin, Director, Tianrenheyi Art Center, Hangzhou; Shaway Yeh, Group Style Editorial Director, Modern Media Group, Shanghai. Moderated by András Szántó, New York-based Author and Cultural Consultant.

4:00 – 5:15pm
PARTICIPANTS: Colin Chinnery; Jeffrey Johnson; Lu Xun; Karen Smith
MODERATOR: Fiammetta Rocco

All across China, fusty state museums are being rebirthed with stunning facilities, while private institutions are launching in record numbers and in many different forms. China’s vaunted “Museum Boom” is creating spaces for the display of contemporary art on a scale never before imagined, raising key questions about the publics these places envision for themselves as well as their ability to sustain operations and programming in the long term. What is behind this sudden urge, both public and private, to establish new spaces? What will it ultimately mean for artistic production, circulation, and consumption in China and globally?

Featuring panelists: Colin Chinnery, Artistic Director, Wuhan Art Terminus (WH.A.T.); Jeffrey Johnson, Founder, China Megacities Lab, Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, Columbia University; Lu Xun, Co-Founder, Sifang Art Museum, Nanjing; Karen Smith, Director, OCT Contemporary Art Terminal (OCAT), Xi’an. Moderated by Fiammetta Rocco, Culture Editor, The Economist, London.

5:30 –6:45pm
PARTICIPANTS: Graham Bowley; Simon Kirby; Daryl Wickstrom; William Zhao
MODERATOR: Georgina Adam

For Chinese and Western audiences alike, interest and concern for the contemporary art scene in China has generally begun with the market. This past autumn saw the establishment of salesrooms in the Mainland by both of the major Western auction houses and new records for both a living Chinese artist and a work of Western art purchased by a Chinese collector. Chinese collectors have emerged in droves, particularly in second- and third-tier cities once thought beyond the purview of the art market. Still, questions of transparency, authenticity, and sustainability persist. What lies ahead for China’s art market? What sort of impact will China’s expanded buying power have internationally? How will domestic policies on taxation and import affect collecting trends? And are the market mechanisms for conferring and transferring value fundamentally sound?

Featuring panelists: Graham Bowley, Reporter, The New York Times; Simon Kirby, Asia Affiliate, Victoria Miro Gallery; Daryl Wickstrom, Executive Vice President and Deputy Chairman, Sotheby’s Asia; William Zhao, Curator and Collector, Hong Kong. Moderated by Georgina Adam, Art market columnist, The Financial Times and, and Editor-at-large, The Art Newspaper.


12:30 –1:45pm
PARTICIPANTS: Thomas Berghuis; Jane DeBevoise; Wu Hung
MODERATOR: Robert C. Morgan

A standard art-historical narrative on contemporary Chinese art—beginning with the movements of the late 1970s, and running through the 1980s “New Wave” and 1990s experimentation to our current thriving moment—started to coalesce in the mid-2000s. Like any important history, its writing has been subject to competing claims from different players with specific agendas. Through volumes such as Wu Hung’s anthology “Chinese Contemporary Art: Primary Documents” and groupings of work like the M+ Sigg Collection, an account of art as a force for openness and exploration is taking shape, perhaps in counterpoint to an increasingly confident Party narrative which sees the contemporary as a manifestation of China’s cultural strength. Can these two accounts coexist?

Featuring panelists: Thomas Berghuis, The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Jane DeBevoise, Chair, Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; Wu Hung, Harrie A. Vanderstappen Distinguished Service Professor of Chinese Art, Director, Center for the Art of East Asia and Consulting Curator, Smart Museum of Art, The University of Chicago. Moderated by Robert C. Morgan, Professor Emeritus in Art History, Rochester Institute of Technology.

2:00 – 3:15pm
PARTICIPANTS: Hao Liang; Alexandra Munroe; Joseph Scheier-Dolberg; Craig Yee
MODERATOR: Britta Lee Erickson

The quintessentially Chinese medium of ink painting is seeing a contemporary resurgence. From the establishment of galleries devoted specifically the cause, to the current survey at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, which takes ink as a starting point to map contemporary art in China more broadly, the brush is proving a renewed source of fascination. Fed by the twin trends of a domestic collector class ever more deeply interested in rediscovering tradition, and a group of younger artists looking for ways beyond more standard (Western) media, this vogue is also coming up against practitioners who have been working in and with ink all along, often without wider recognition. What does this new wave of attention and interest in ink mean for Chinese art more generally?

Featuring panelists: Hao Liang, Artist, Beijing; Alexandra Munroe, Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Joseph Scheier-Dolberg, Assistant Curator of Chinese Painting and Calligraphy, The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Craig Yee, Co-Founder, Ink Studio, Beijing. Moderated by Britta Lee Erickson, Independent Scholar and Curator.

4:00 – 5:15pm
PARTICIPANTS: He Xiangyu; Hu Xiangqian; Li Ming; Sun Dongdong; Zhao Yao
MODERATOR: Lee Ambrozy

A new generation of artists has emerged, less concerned with overt political symbols and cultural identity than with conceptual processes and international dialogue. Driven by the instantaneous proximity to global networks that is one hallmark of our present, these artists are making work that does not “look Chinese,” even as they continue to engage with their country’s endlessly fraught and complex realities. The title of a major generational survey mounted in 2013 at UCCA, “ON | OFF” refers to the graphical interface of a common VPN software that many in China, artists included, use to scale the Internet firewall; it invokes a dichotomy that structures many aspects of their life and practice. Many of these artists are present in the Focus: China section. Who are they, and what are their concerns?

Featuring Panelists: He Xiangyu, Artist, Beijing; Hu Xiangqian, Artist, Beijing; Li Ming, Artist and Member of Double Fly Art Center, Hangzhou and Beijing; Sun Dongdong, Senior Editor, LEAP and Co-Curator, “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice,” 2013, UCCA; Zhao Yao, Artist, Beijing. Moderator Lee Ambrozy is Editor-at-large, Artforum International China and Ph.D. candidate, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

5:30 – 6:45pm
PARTICIPANTS: Alexia Dehaene; Aimee Lin; Barbara Pollack; Pu Hong
MODERATOR: Philip Tinari

Known for his versatile and subversive interventions, this year’s Armory Artist Xu Zhen (b. 1977, Shanghai) is a major force on China’s art scene today. His retrospective “Xu Zhen: A MadeIn Company Production,” on view at the UCCA in Beijing as he takes the stage at The Armory Show in New York, offers the most thorough overview of his fifteen-year output to date. This discussion brings together several expert observers of his work to put his practice, and his commission for The Armory Show, into context.

Featuring panelists: Alexia Dehaene, Project Manager, MadeIn Company, Shanghai; Aimee Lin, Editorial Director, ArtReview Asia; Barbara Pollack, Curator, Critic and Journalist and Contributing Editor, Artnews; Pu Hong, critic and author, Beijing. Moderator Philip Tinari is Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing.

With special thanks to Michelle Darnell for her assistance in organizing this program.


The Armory Show

2014 Fair Show Dates
March 6-9, 2014
Piers 92 & 94
Twelfth Avenue at 55th Street
New York City

Opening Hours
Wednesday, March 5th – VIP Preview for invited guests
Thursday, March 6 – Sunday, March 9, noon to 7 pm

Tickets for The Armory Show can be purchased by visiting the website.
Note that tickets are required for entry to The China Symposium.

The Armory Show
The Armory Show is New York’s leading fair for modern and contemporary art. A seminal event in the annual New York arts calendar, the fair spearheads Armory Arts Week, a city-wide program of cultural events and exhibitions. The Armory Show 2014 will again feature an acclaimed VIP program, a lively opening night party at the Museum of Modern Art and the engaging Open Forum discussion series. This year’s fair will also coincide with the opening of the 2014 Whitney Biennial in early March, further enhancing the line-up of Armory Arts Week events planned in partnership with New York’s cultural institutions, and attracting a wide scope of international collectors, curators, scholars, and press.

The History of Armory Focus
Armory Focus was initiated in 2010 to highlight the contemporary gallery and artistic landscape from a specific geographic region. This unique section of the fair has quickly become one of the defining features of The Armory Show, presenting a survey of a region’s contemporary cultural practices as framed by a singular curatorial vision.

Armory Focus booths are located in a dedicated section on Pier 94 and associated projects will be presented throughout the fair.

About the Armory Focus Curator
Philip Tinari is director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing. There he oversees an exhibition program devoted to established figures and rising talents both Chinese and international, aimed at UCCA’s annual public of more than half a million visitors. Prior to joining UCCA he was editor-in-chief of LEAP, the international art magazine of contemporary China, which he founded and ran from 2009 to 2011. He has worked as China representative for Art Basel, contributing editor to Artforum, and lecturer in art criticism at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Tinari, who speaks fluent Mandarin, holds degrees from Duke and Harvard, and was a Fulbright fellow at Peking University.

About The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA)
The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art is an independent, not-for-profit art center serving a global Beijing public. Located at the heart of Beijing’s 798 Art District, it was founded by the Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens and opened in November 2007. Through a diverse array of exhibitions with artists Chinese and international, established and emerging, as well as a wide range of public programs, UCCA aims to promote the continued development of the Chinese art scene, foster international exchange, and showcase the latest in art and culture to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year.

About K11 Art Foundation

Founded by Adrian Cheng in 2010, the K11 Art Foundation, Hong Kong, is a registered not-for-profit organization that advances the development of the Chinese contemporary art movement by providing the creative incubating platform to nurture artistic talents in Greater China and bring them to the international stage and the broader audience. The foundation has embarked on creative collaborations and cross-regional experimentations regionally and globally to showcase Chinese talents and their full potential. Through research, initiatives and partnerships, as well as harnessing the passion and energy of the active participants, the K11 Art Foundation facilitates the public to enjoy a diverse array of programs and exhibitions to educate and raise the collective appreciation of arts and culture. The K11 Art Villages (artist-in-residence program) in Wuhan and Guiyang, China, offer the space and platform to many young artists to create and present their works.

Photo courtesy of the organiser/s

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