The Museum Boom in China

When 14 Oct 2016
1:00PM - 5:00PM
Where Wood Auditorium, Avery Hall
Columbia University
New York, NY 10027
United States

*Open to the public, no registration required*

Concurrent with China’s rapid urbanization, and as part of its soft power initiative, is a museum building boom, which has produced an average of approximately 100 new museums a year across the country over the past few years. Astonishingly, during some of those years over 400 museums were built. These iconic structure–landmarks for newly planned government and civic centers, central business districts, cultural districts, and in some cases, residential and commercial developments–symbolize the importance of culture in the identity of a new China.

With ambitions to hastily increase museum per capita numbers to international standards, challenges persist in filling the abundant spaces with content. How many museums does China need? Can the museum in China redefine its role in society, whether socially, politically or culturally? And, what new architectural forms and spatial organizations are being invented to accommodate these new possibilities?

In addition to addressing some of the above questions regarding the museum boom in China, the forum will also situate the building boom within a global context. How have global influences and pressures influenced the proliferation of new museums in China? How can we compare the enormous investment in cultural capital in China with other international examples? How has what has been happening in China influenced museums globally?

Session One: Museumification of China
A panel discussion on the current “museumification” of China, which will focus on the causes and consequences of the recent museum building boom.

Zhu Pei, Studio Pei-Zhu
Steven Holl, Columbia GSAPP
Aric Chen, M+ Museum, Hong Kong
Response by Weiping Wu, Columbia GSAPP
Moderated by Jeffrey Johnson, Director of the School of Architecture, University of Kentucky

Session Two: Global Cultural Context
A panel discussion on the theme of situating the museum building boom in China within a global context.

Alexandra Munroe, Guggenheim Museum
Ou Ning, Columbia GSAPP
Wu Hung, University of Chicago
Mark Wasiuta, Columbia GSAPP
Moderated by Jane DeBevoise, Asia Art Archive and John Rajchman, Art History, Columbia University

Co-sponsored by Weatherhead East Asia Institute and Columbia GSAPP

Organized by Jeffrey Johnson and John Rajchman

For more information, please click here.