“New Wave” Of Chinese Enterprises Sponsoring Art Exhibitions, Activities

Business Partnership Between Minsheng Art Museum And Ullens Center For Chinese Art (UCCA) Making Waves In Chinese Art World

 Minsheng Art Museum curator He Juxing and UCCA founder Guy Ullens at the signing ceremony of their arts partnership (Photo courtesy China.org.cn)

Minsheng Art Museum curator He Juxing and UCCA founder Guy Ullens at the signing ceremony of their arts partnership (Photo courtesy China.org.cn)

Along with the rapid rise in prominence of mainland Chinese art collectors has been a more public interest among Chinese enterprises in sponsoring art exhibitions and arts activities. While we’ve seen art-business partnerships in China before, between companies like ING and the Shanghai Museum, only in the last year or so have we seen a stronger interest in arts sponsorship among home-grown Chinese companies and enterprises.

Today, the Global Times takes a look at the “new wave” of Chinese enterprises that are looking to partner with arts organizations to organize and promote exhibitions and activities in China. As China.org.cn recently pointed out out, Minsheng Bank’s partnership with Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art is the first of its kind in mainland China.

Many art experts and critics are optimistic about [business-art] cooperation, saying that it could go a long way in helping to resolve the shortage of financial resources facing many art organizations and independent artists today.

The allegiance causing the greatest sensation at the moment is the “business partnership” between Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), a landmark in the Chinese art world and Minsheng Art Museum, a soon-to-be-opened Shanghai-based art organization sponsored by Minsheng Bank.

The two organizations will cooperate with each other on many aspects such as holding exhibitions, educating workers, catalogue publications and researching collections, revealed He Juxing, director of Minsheng Art Museum and manager of the brand marketing department of Minsheng Bank, at a press conference to mark the partnership held Friday in Beijing.

The article goes on to speculate that Minsheng’s interest in partnering with UCCA will only add fuel to the rumors that Minsheng plans a full takeover of the organization. While we’ll leave the speculation to the Global Times, the article does go on to discuss the upcoming grand opening of Shanghai’s Minsheng Art Museum.From the article:

Minsheng Art Museum, founded by Minsheng Bank, will open its doors April 18 in Shanghai, with a large-scale exhibition tracing the history of Chinese contemporary art over the past 30 years marking the occasion. Famous avant-garde artist Zhou Tiehai has been appointed chief director of the museum.

More than 100 pieces from the past 30 years will be part of the opening exhibition, among which some are regarded as representative works, such as Luo Zhongli’s oil painting Father, Chen Danqing’s portraits of Tibetans and Liu Xiaodong’s unique work Migrants of Three Gorges.

An exhibition of Shu Qun, one of the first generation of Chinese avant-garde artists will be held at UCCA at the same time, with both exhibitions the result of joint efforts by the two organizations, according to He Juxing from Minsheng.

In many art experts’ eyes, the news of the founding of an art organization sponsored by a local enterprise and its partner relationship with a high-standard art center is encouraging for the long-term development of Chinese contemporary art.

“No matter how the two sides will work with each other in the future, the cooperation between an art organization and a local entrepreneur is good news for both artists and art lovers,” commented Cai Jianjun, a collector who has long paid close attention to the Chinese art world. He added that he believes many cooperations of this kind will be forged in the near future.

As Jing Daily has written before, though these business-art partnerships have their supporters as well as detractors, we can expect to see a good number of private and semi-private museums like Minsheng’s opening in the next five to ten years, as more Chinese collectors look to show off their collections in style.

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Art & Auction, Culture