The latest personnel appointments at Tate Modern, Art Basel, and KADIST Foundation show that women’s leadership in the art field is further improving.
Karin Hindsbo will become the director of Tate Modern. Hindsbo will take office in September. She is currently the director of the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design in Oslo, Norway. Frances Morris, who has held the position since 2016, will remain as an honorary director to ensure a smooth transition of leadership. Hindsbo has extensive experience leading major public institutions and serves as the editor-in-chief of the Danish cultural journal Øjeblikket and a visiting lecturer at the Institute of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Maria Balshaw, director of Tate Modern, said in a statement, “Hindsbo expresses the national and transnational art ecology in a meticulous and diverse way, which perfectly fits the concept of Tate Modern.”
The Basel Art Fair has appointed Maike Cruse as its first-ever director. Cruse, who is currently the director of Gallery Weekend Berlin, will take up her new role in July 2023. She has previously worked at the KW Institute of Contemporary Art and the Berlin Biennale, and served as the communications manager for the Basel Art Fair from 2008 to 2011. In her new position, Cruse will work closely with galleries, collectors, and artists, as well as establish close relationships with major museums, institutions, and cultural partners in Basel. She will also collaborate with Andreas Bicker, the fair’s European business and management director, to strengthen its position as a leading international platform. Noah Horowitz, CEO of the Basel Art Fair, said, “I believe her entrepreneurial thinking, excellent professional skills, and steadfast belief in contemporary art make her the ideal candidate to lead our flagship exhibition in our hometown and guide its future development.”
Cartist appoints Fuyuan as Director of China Collaborative Projects. Fuyuan will work closely with Regional Chief Advisor Weng Xiaoyu to develop and maintain relationships with Chinese artists, curators, and other cultural workers, conceptualize and assist in the execution of exhibitions and related activities in China, and support collaborations with Chinese institutions, including promoting opportunities for Cartist’s collection to be exhibited in museums. Fuyuan is a curator and author whose research interests in performance art and its extended fields are the focus of her curatorial practice and writing. Recently, as a curatorial scholar supported by the German-English Foundation, she researched and outlined the contours of artist travel. From 2019 to 2022, she served as the founding artistic director for the preparation and opening of the Meikailong Center, and from 2016 to 2019, she founded and managed the non-profit art space Salt Projects. She is also the founding editor-in-chief of the bilingual digital publishing platform “Black Teeth” magazine and a contributor to art media such as Artforum, ARTnews, BOMB, Flash Art, Frieze, New York Times, and Yishu
Art Institutions Focus on Overseas Ancient and Modern Masters in New Exhibitions
With the resumption of international travel and the relative easing of the external political environment, international exchange exhibitions in mainland China have recently emerged, with a particular focus on ancient and modern masters. In addition to cultural diplomacy initiatives such as the “China-Italy Culture and Tourism Year” and the “China-France Cultural Spring,” the resources and project experience of overseas institutions have also promoted broader and deeper international cooperation between domestic museums/art galleries and them. At the same time, local galleries continue to showcase solo exhibitions of young artists, focusing on presenting the new face of contemporary Chinese art.
International exchange exhibitions remain popular, focusing on both ancient masters and modern masterpieces. On May 7th at midnight, the “From Botticelli to Van Gogh – Treasures from the National Gallery, London” exhibition at the Shanghai Museum came to a close. During its 98-day run, the exhibition attracted over 420,000 visitors, setting a new record for paid special exhibitions in Chinese museums. On the closing day, the Shanghai Museum held the “Sleepless Night: Shanghai Museum 12-Hour Art Carnival,” which was the first time the museum had been open to the public for a full day since its establishment. Last week, the Shanghai Museum announced the renewal of the “Agreement on Academic, Cultural Exchange and Cooperation, and Other Activities” with the Tokyo National Museum, continuing their 30-year friendship. After this renewal, the two museums will restart their personnel exchange mechanism at an appropriate time. The international exchange of museums and art galleries continues to be popular. On April 27th, the Dongyi Museum launched the “Botticelli and the Renaissance” exhibition, which is the second exhibition of the “Five Years, Ten Exhibitions” cooperation project between the Dongyi Museum and the Uffizi Gallery in Italy. On the same day, the “Soulful Shadows: Self-Portraits by Masters from the Uffizi Gallery” exhibition opened at the National Museum of China.
In addition to exhibitions that mainly focus on ancient masters, the popularity of modernist art exhibitions in international cooperation is also gradually increasing. The “Origin of Painting: Surrealism and the East” exhibition, which was launched by the West Bund Museum on April 29th, is part of the “Five-Year Exhibition Cooperation Project between the West Bund Museum and the Pompidou Center” special exhibition unit. It is also included in this year’s “China-France Cultural Spring” and has received support from the Shanghai Museum. This exhibition is the second cooperation between the Pompidou Art Center, the West Bund Museum, and the Shanghai Museum since “Kandinsky: Pioneer of Abstract Art.” The exhibition “Matisse’s Matisse,” a collaboration between the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art and the Musée Matisse in France, will be launched in July. This exhibition is the first solo exhibition of Henri Matisse in mainland China. The new exhibition “A Stroll through Modernism: The Collection of the National Gallery, Berlin” at the Shanghai UCCA Edge in June is a collaboration between the UCCA Edge and the Museum Berggruen in Berlin. The exhibition will trace and comb through the development of modernist art in various schools, such as Fauvism, Cubism, and Surrealism.
Chinese galleries continue to focus on young artists, with Double Solo Exhibition of artists Bian Yunxiang and Fu Si Te presented by MeiDing Gallery, and the first group exhibition “Replenishing the Sky” presented by ShanghART Gallery (M50) after its reopening. On May 6th, MeiDing Gallery launched the exhibitions “Bian Yunxiang: Memories of Hexi” and “Fu Si Te: Fu Si Te” simultaneously, showcasing Bian Yunxiang’s trilogy of images about human ambition in the desert and Fu Si Te’s latest organic abstract paintings. ShanghART Gallery, located in M50, reopened on May 6th and launched the group exhibition “Replenishing the Sky”, which focuses on the works of artists who use different artistic languages and methodologies, expressing the young artistic forces’ renewed gaze on the panoramic art scene in today’s complex and diverse context. The exhibition will continue to update and iterate works during the exhibition period and change the arrangement of artworks.
Beijing’s Art Ecology is Reviving Taipei Follows the Trend of “Reunion”
Since the “Beijing Contemporary Art Expo – Reunion” was held in April, Beijing’s art ecology has gradually revived. In the summer, Gallery Weekend Beijing and JINGART Art Fair Beijing will be held one after another, with nearly 50 exhibitions throughout the city. Although mainland China’s free travel to Taiwan has not yet been opened, the list of exhibitors announced by the 4th Taipei Dangdai Art Fair still conveys positive news. The number of participating galleries from 90 galleries is close to the pre-pandemic level, and the number of galleries from Hong Kong has also increased compared to the third edition. The full recovery of cross-strait art exchanges is worth looking forward to.
Gallery Weekend Beijing 2023 will be held at the end of May, and JINGART Art Fair will return offline in June. The 7th Gallery Weekend Beijing, themed “Visibility,” will be held in late May, inviting 40 domestic and international art galleries and museums centered around the 798 Art District, radiating to the Grassland Art District, Jili International Art District, Guomao, Shunyi, and co-presenting with JINGART Art Fair and ANAYA to showcase a diverse and vibrant art scene. During the event, nearly 50 exhibitions from nearly 40 participating galleries and institutions in 9 cities around the world will select high-quality contemporary art content for a wide range of domestic and foreign audiences. It will also present public spaces with different types of art works such as sculpture, installation, film, and performance, as well as a new force unit that focuses on the creative status of young artists in the Chinese-speaking region. The 4th JINGART Art Fair will return to the Beijing Exhibition Center from June 1st to 4th, bringing together more than 50 exhibitors from 11 cities. In 2022, due to the epidemic prevention and control situation, JINGART Art Fair announced the cancellation of its offline exhibition plan and presented “JINGART PLATFORM” in the form of an online exhibition. This year’s JINGART Art Fair’s return to offline is the second art fair held in the Beijing area after the cancellation of epidemic prevention and control measures in mainland China.
The 4th Taipei Contemporary Art Fair will be held from May 12th to 14th at the Nangang Exhibition Center in Taipei. This fair brings together 90 top domestic and international galleries, highlighting the rich creativity of emerging artistic forces. Over 30% of the participating galleries are exhibiting for the first time, showcasing the close connection between Taiwan’s rich local culture and the Asian art ecology to collectors and audiences, while re-establishing cooperation with art institutions around the world and activating a new contemporary art ecology in Taiwan. In addition to the main exhibition area “Contemporary Domain” and the “New Dimension” showcasing emerging art, this year’s fair also features the “Art Carrier” which focuses on presenting theme exhibitions with historical significance. The public art program includes the launch of a series of installation artworks, taking the first step in the return of the “Reality Plan”, and the “Thought Stream Forum” which explores diverse topics with the participation of important international curators and scholars under the theme of “Beyond the Domain”.
After overcoming difficulties
As the World Health Organization declared that the COVID-19 pandemic no longer constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern”, the operation of museums and art galleries around the world is gradually returning to normal. The opening of new museums/art galleries on an international scale confirms this trend. As for domestic museums and art galleries, the impact of the pandemic has been more profound. After overcoming difficulties, museums and art galleries have begun to expand outward, but also with cautious consideration of financial aspects. The opening of the new Chengdu branch of MUMA and the new branch of Yuz Museum are both related to the expiration of their previous leases.
The new building of the Yuz Museum, designed by HBA Architecture, is shown in the image above.
The shortlist for the 2023 Turner Prize has been announced. This year’s Turner Prize is part of the Towner Eastbourne’s centenary celebration “Towner 100”. The museum is known for its collection and exhibition of British modern art. The Preis der Nationalgalerie, Germany’s national art museum award, will be awarded to four artists for the first time. The official website states that this initiative adopts the concept of using exhibitions as collective communication.
The Tate Gallery announced on April 27th the four artists shortlisted for the 2023 Turner Prize: Jesse Darling, Ghislaine Leung, Rory Pilgrim, and Barbara Walker. The exhibition of the shortlisted artists’ works will be held at the Turner Contemporary in East Sussex from September 28th, 2023 to April 14th, 2024, and the winner will be announced at the awards ceremony on December 5th of this year. Among the four artists, Jesse Darling uses sculpture and installation to evoke the vulnerability of the human body and the instability of power structures; Ghislaine Leung’s rethinking of gallery space and works full of warmth, humanity, and humor left a deep impression on the jury; Rory Pilgrim blends stories, poetry, music, and film, collaborating with the communities of Barking and Dagenham in East London to reflect on the changes and struggles during the pandemic; Barbara Walker uses large-scale portraits to tell equally grand natural stories, revealing how people are marginalized due to their identity and injustice. Alex Farquharson, director of the Tate Britain and chairman of the Turner Prize jury, said, “These artists are all committed to exploring the contradictions and contrasts of life’s gaps, combining abstract concepts, political concerns, and intimate, sincere personal identities and contemporary community forces.”
Left to right: James Richards, Hanne Lippard, Daniel Lie, Pan Daijing. Photography by Victor Luque, Felix Brüggemann, Daniel Lie, Dzhovani.
Winners of the 2024 German National Art Prize Announced
Artists Pan Daijing, Daniel Lie, Hanne Lippard, and James Richards have been awarded the German National Art Prize for 2024, marking the first time the award has been given to four recipients since its establishment in 2013. Music producer Pan Daijing, born in China, works across performance, installation, and choreography, creating works with strong and rich psychological and artistic expression. Daniel Lie’s sculptural installations focus on ecological environments and non-human life forms. Music artist Hanne Lippard creates immersive sound sculptures around political issues. James Richards focuses on combining experimental techniques with historical memory, archives, and conservation issues. From April to September 2024, new works created by the four winners will be exhibited at Berlin’s Hamburger Bahnhof. Project curators Sam Bardaouil and Till Fellrath stated, “By awarding a joint prize, the German National Art Prize showcases different artistic positions, promoting face-to-face communication and dialogue between artistic concepts. At the same time, the German National Art Prize will be closely linked to the collection of the Hamburger Bahnhof, preserving snapshots of the art world for the future.
Bringing Waves and Controversies to the Art World
The technological revolution of artificial intelligence continues to impact the art world, with artists constantly exploring its applications in contemporary art. At the same time, the legal and ethical disputes brought about by new technologies have led to the introduction of a series of new copyright regulations, and changes in the technology field also serve as a warning to the art world.
American artist Alex Israel, a loyal supporter of ChatGPT, will open his new exhibition “Fins” at the Gagosian Gallery in Rome on May 12th. The exhibition features “a series of large, colorful plastic surfboard fins sculptures, with carefully crafted details that give the works a rich sense of humor and stunning beauty,” according to a press release generated by ChatGPT. This move has sparked controversy in the art world. In response to the controversy, the artist decided to use ChatGPT again to respond: “Using AI-generated press releases is a repositioning of the role of technology in our daily lives. AI is no longer just a tool for completing tasks, but in many ways, it has become a medium itself. Generating text takes a short time, but the project implementation and execution take longer. It is important to ensure that the final product is not just a gimmick, but a thoughtful consideration of the relationship between the artist and the media.” “It is difficult for us to judge whether AI-generated press releases are as clear as human writing. On the one hand, AI can generate very complex and exquisite texts; on the other hand, there are still many shortcomings in its humanistic level. I believe that it should ultimately be up to the reader to decide whether the press release is successful.”
The United States has introduced new regulations on AI copyright, only protecting artificial intelligence art created by “human authors.” In recent years, the US Copyright Office’s policy and procedural guidelines for registering various creative works have made it clear that works created by nature, animals, and plants cannot be registered, including “works produced by random or automatic operation of a machine or purely mechanical process without any creative input or intervention by a human author.” However, according to the new guidelines recently released by the US Copyright Office, there may be some room for maneuver in this area. A typical example is the decision to register the copyright of the comic book “Zarya of the Dawn,” written by New York artist and AI consultant Kris Kashtanova, with images generated by the AI platform Midjourney. The Copyright Office granted the overall copyright of the book, but not the individual images in the book, stating that these images were not independently produced by the artist. Perhaps influenced by the penetration of artificial intelligence in the creative field, the Copyright Office clarified its copyright authorship requirements in March, stating that in certain cases, “works containing materials generated by artificial intelligence may also qualify for protection under the copyright law as works of authorship by human authors. For example, a human may contribute sufficient original creative content to the work to qualify for copyright protection.” This may reveal the direction for some artists to move forward in this new field.
Leadership shakeup in AI and blockchain technology companies: OpenSea’s former product manager found guilty, “AI guru” announces resignation. On May 3rd, Nathaniel Chastain, the former product manager of OpenSea, the largest NFT marketplace, was found guilty of violating confidentiality procedures and selling NFTs at inflated profits, marking the first insider trading trial in the history of digital assets. This fraud theory against virtual technology had never been applied before, and the NFT market had to reassess its risks, which seemed to foreshadow the future storm of potential crises in the virtual market and artificial intelligence. From the initial hype around AI to the current concerns, the competition among tech giants is irreversible. In April, Geoffrey Hinton, the vice president of Google and known as the “AI guru,” announced his resignation and warned of the risks of AI. He believed that the generative nature of AI in text, images, and videos should not be underestimated, as it could eliminate repetitive and complex work in the future, negatively impacting employment. In the long run, the possibility of the emergence of fully autonomous weapons and the behavioral trends learned by AI models from training data have made Hinton very concerned. If relevant regulations, control measures, and emergency plans are not formulated in advance, humans may completely lose control over AI in the future. However, Jeff Dean, Google’s chief scientist, emphasized that they will still be committed to taking a responsible and beneficial approach to humanity and remain vigilant about the potential risks of AI.