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Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World Ocula Conversation Hito Steyerl: How To Build a Sustainable Art World

'A Picture of War is Not War', we read in Hito Steyerl's iconic film November (2004), an essayistic Super 8 film tackling the definition of terrorism constructed around the figure of the artist's best friend Andrea Wolf, who was killed as a terrorist in 1998 in Eastern Anatolia after she joined the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party). Mixing documentary...

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Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future Ocula Report Aichi to Okayama: Art in Japan Looks to the Future 11 Oct 2019 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

There has been a flurry of triennial and biennial art activity in Japan this year. The Aichi Triennale opened in Nagoya this August, sparking a national debate about the shutting down of a display of formerly censored works—the result of public backlash against a burnt image of Emperor Hirohito and a statue commemorating the women forced into...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Beijing

China

Ocula Magazine

JINGART Lowdown: Beijing Art Shows to See Ocula Report JINGART Lowdown: Beijing Art Shows to See 28 May 2019 : Shanyu Zhong for Ocula

The second edition of the Beijing art fair JINGART will take place from 30 May to 2 June 2019 at a new venue, having moved from Beijing Quanyechang to the Beijing Exhibition Centre. The new location's Sino-Soviet-style building is reminiscent of the Shanghai Exhibition Centre where ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair, founded by the same team...

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Gallery Weekend Beijing 2019 Ocula Report Gallery Weekend Beijing 2019 29 Mar 2019 : Tessa Moldan for Ocula

Beyond the fanfare of a gallery weekend, there remains the perennial question: to what end does such an event serve a city? During this year's Gallery Weekend Beijing (22–29 March 2019), this question was raised during a snippet of the inaugural Beijing Art Summit (22–24 March 2019) on a chilly Saturday morning, staged at Ullens Center for...

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Amalia Ulman Ocula Conversation Amalia Ulman Artist

Amalia Ulman's recent solo exhibition in China, Privilege, was staged at the KWM artcenter in Beijing (22 March–19 May 2018). This comprehensive show took full advantage of the office context and the partition structures of the space, which is located on the second floor of the WFC centre in Beijing's CBD area (the centre is supported by the law...

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Local to Global: Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 Ocula Report Local to Global: Gallery Weekend Beijing 2018 13 Apr 2018 : Bowen Li for Ocula

Gallery Weekend Beijing was first staged in 2017 on a number of premises, including the fact that Beijing needed an annual event with international appeal to maintain its place as an art destination after the rise of successful art fairs, and an increasing number of museums, in other regional cities like Shanghai and Hong Kong. As its title...

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Chang Yun-han Ocula Conversation Chang Yun-han Artist, Taiwan

Based in Taipei, artist Chang Yun-han frequently carries out 'local' critiques by describing the visible and the invisible, and dealing with complex and variable narrative structures related to the contexts in which she intervenes. A graduate from the National Taiwan University of Arts with a major in sculpture, Chang extends her sculptural...

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The Lowdown: shows to see during Gallery Weekend Beijing Ocula Report The Lowdown: shows to see during Gallery Weekend Beijing 16 Mar 2018 : Bowen Li for Ocula

To coincide with the second edition of Gallery Weekend Beijing, taking place between 23 and 30 March 2018, various institutions have brought out the big guns, including a list of international artists from Sarah Morris to Paul McCarthy. Galleries are also gearing up for the weekend, from Liu Wei showing at Long March Space, to Richard Deacon at...

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Ten Private Museums in China You Should Know Ocula Report Ten Private Museums in China You Should Know 3 Jul 2015 : Sam Gaskin for Ocula

China is building contemporary art museums at an unrivalled pace. Private companies and individuals increasingly have not only the means to establish these museums but also the know-how to keep them going, often to a higher standard than China’s public institutions. This report lists ten of the best private art museums in China (in no...

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Ai Weiwei Exhibitions in Beijing Ocula Photolog Ai Weiwei Exhibitions in Beijing 30 June 2015

Wang Jiaci was an ancestral temple of Ming age, taken as reference by all future dynasties, from Tang to Qing. Today, Wang Jiaci is the hub of Ai Weiwei’s monumental project, an ancient building which was disassembled into more than 1500 pieces and meticulously re-built inside two exhibitive areas: Galleria Continua and Tang Contemporary Art...

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Tim Marlow Ocula Conversation Tim Marlow Director Of Artistic Programmes, Royal Academy of Arts, London

On the 28th April 2014, Tim Marlow—who had directed exhibitions at White Cube since 2003—embarked on a new role as Director of Artistic Programmes at the Royal Academy of Arts (RA), a British institution of historical significance located in central London. Marlow is also an art historian, who has provided commentary on the contemporary...

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Feng Mengbo Ocula Conversation Feng Mengbo Artist, China

Born in Beijing in 1966, Feng graduated from the printmaking department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts in 1992. Often referred to as China’s ‘Godfather’ of new media art, the artist was one of the first Chinese artists to embrace digital technology, modifying video games to include Chinese elements, and replacing the faces...

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Xu Bing Ocula Conversation Xu Bing Artist, China

Xu Bing is a Chinese-born artist, who was resident in the United States for over ten years, but now lives in Beijing, where he serves as the president of the Central Academy of Fine Arts. He is most well known for printmaking and installation pieces, as well as the use of text to investigate how language and its presentation impacts our...

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Li Zhenhua Ocula Conversation Li Zhenhua Writer, Curator, Artist and Producer, China

Writer, curator, artist and producer Li Zhenhua is the founder of Laboratory Art Beijing and the Mustard Seed garden. Li is actively engaged in the production, dissemination and critical discussions around new media, and has taken part in symposiums, talks and presentations at leading galleries and museum spaces worldwide, including ZKM...

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Wang Gongxin Ocula Conversation Wang Gongxin Artist, China

The pioneering video works of Wang Gongxin heralded the rise of the video art movement in China, and he remains a force in Chinese contemporary art today.Born in Beijing in 1960, he belonged to the first generation of art students after the Cultural Revolution and trained as an oil painter in the Socialist-Realist style. In 1987 he was...

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Apichatpong Weerasethakul Ocula Conversation Apichatpong Weerasethakul Filmmaker and Artist, Thailand

Apichatpong Weerasethakul is an artist and filmmaker born and based in Thailand. He first studied architecture at Khon Kaen University before completing an MA in film-making at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Despite exhibiting his film and videos internationally and participating in large exhibitions like the 55th Carnegie...

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Rich Mix: A Report From Art Basel In Hong Kong Ocula Report Rich Mix: A Report From Art Basel In Hong Kong 21 May 2014 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

It’s all about being global at Art Basel. Such were the sentiments delivered at the Art Basel in Hong Kong press conference this year, in which Art Basel Director Marc Spiegler noted how the launch of ABHK in 2013 was the moment Art Basel went “truly global.” In fact, “nowhere else in the world will you see such a rich...

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Ai Weiwei 'Evidence' At The Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin Ocula Report Ai Weiwei 'Evidence' At The Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin 20 May 2014 : Carmen Ansaldo for Ocula

Ai Weiwei's current survey exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin marks the artist's largest solo project to date, consuming 18 rooms and 3,000 square metres of the institution's floor space. Only open to the public since April, Evidence has already experienced an overwhelming reception that has become the standard for Weiwei...

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Art Basel Vernissage: The Lowdown Ocula Report Art Basel Vernissage: The Lowdown 17 May 2014 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

The second edition of Art Basel kicked off Wednesday with a VIP preview that saw no shortage of collectors streaming through the doors. It felt like a Swiss banking conference in the VIP lounge, as Julius Bar, UBS representatives and financiers all milled around waiting for the doors to open for the preview at noon.

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Art Basel Week Ocula Report Art Basel Week 13 May 2014 : Robin Peckham for Ocula

It is a funny thing to return as a visitor to a city one once called home: not so long ago I was a de facto host for the descending hordes during ArtHK and later Art Basel Hong Kong, but this year, for the first time, I am seeing it all through the eyes of an art tourist. As a city and as an art event, Hong Kong has always been a tightly wound...

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Sun Xun Ocula Conversation Sun Xun Artist, China

Sun Xun is a paradoxical figure: he works with ink but rejects the discourse of cultural purity that accompanies it. Dissects political narratives but takes only vague positions of his own, and runs an animation studio while developing a diverse practice that confronts much more radical questions. Based in Beijing, where he runs Pi Animation, he is...

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Picks Of Art Basel Hk 2014 Ocula Report Picks Of Art Basel Hk 2014 10 May 2014 : Diana d'Arenberg for Ocula

Art Basel HK 2014 is on our doorstep, and this year’s programme is even heftier and more exciting than the last. Invites are flooding in one after and another and you’re double booking yourself every night. But what to attend? Where are the great parties and interesting exhibitions? And where will Kate Moss be? Well, fret no more....

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Pascal De Sarthe Ocula Conversation Pascal De Sarthe Director, de Sarthe Gallery, Hong Kong

Pascal de Sarthe sits in his Hong Kong gallery office surrounded by art books – hundreds of them. They line the walls and they are piled up on his desk, and each book is thoroughly thumbed. In stark contrast to the looming bookshelves are three computer screens, which face de Sarthe at his desk – making him appear more a trader of...

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Philip Tinari Ocula Conversation Philip Tinari Director, Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing

Philip Tinari, the man Xu Zhen has described as “China’s son-in-law,” really needs no introduction. The Director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), (an independent museum in Beijing's 798 Art District with over half a million visitors a year), he is also the founding editor of LEAP, a contributing editor...

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Art Universelle: A Report From Art14 Ocula Report Art Universelle: A Report From Art14 4 Mar 2014 : Stephanie Bailey for Ocula

Art14 is a young fair, and its premise is what makes it interesting. Launched in 2013 as Art13, the fair made a grand statement on its cultural composition by billing itself as London’s global art fair – the one and only. In 2014, this identity was asserted with a broad, multi-cultural stroke that brought together 180 galleries, 700...

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Cai Guo-Qiang Ocula Conversation Cai Guo-Qiang Artist, China

Cai Guo-Qiang was born in 1957 in Quanzhou City, Fujian Province, China. He was a child during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution and strongly influenced by society's vision for social utopia. Cai trained in stage design at the Shanghai Theatre Acadmey. He left China in 1986, spending almost 9 years as a young artist in...

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About Beijing

Contemporary art sprung up in many cities after China's reform and opening in 1979, but Beijing quickly emerged as the most dynamic. Pioneering exhibitions by artists and collectives such as the Stars Art Group helped establish the city's reputation for an energetic art scene that drew in artists from around the country and then collectors from abroad. Now, with the art market thriving in Shanghai, Beijing is no longer the uncontested home of Mainland Chinese contemporary art, but its galleries and museums continue to put on some of the best exhibitions in the country.

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) has long anchored Beijing's art scene with important retrospectives and surveys, such as Bao Dong and Sun Dongdong's ON / OFF (2013), an authoritative overview of Chinese artists born after 1975. After the museum's original owners withdrew funding, the UCCA's future looked doubtful, but director Philip Tinari cobbled together financing to ensure it endures at the heart of the 798 Art District in the northeast of the capital.

Many of Beijing's leading galleries can also be found in 798, including Beijing Commune, Boers Li, Galerie Urs Meile, Long March Space, Magician Space, Tabula Rasa Gallery, PIFO Gallery, the Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Platform China, and Tang Contemporary Art. There are also a number of important and engaging art spaces, including private institutions M WOODS and the Faurschou Foundation.

Many more of the top galleries are located just a short drive further northeast in Caochangdi, and while some have been evicted by the state, Chambers Fine Art, INK Studio, White Space Beijing, and ShanghART Beijing still remain for the moment. The 20,000-square-metre Red Brick Art Museum—founded by Yan Shijie and Cao Mei in 2014—is also located in the northeast of the city.

Between them, 798 and Caochangdi host Gallery Weekend Beijing each March, prior to Art Basel in Hong Kong. In 2019, the Beijing Art Summit was inaugurated to supplement galleries' exhibitions with a talks programme hosted by UCCA.

Other key galleries and institutions that warrant a special trip are largely to be found in the east of the city, including Aye Gallery in Dongcheng District and the China Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) Art Museum, the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Vitamin Creative Space, Song Art Museum and OCAT Institute. Out west, another noteworthy nonprofit is Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum.

Among the most intriguing independent art spaces are The Bunker, which is both literally and figuratively underground, hutong storefront Arrow Factory and DRC No. 12, a scrappy little art space in a former Diplomatic Residential Compound, all of which are in Chaoyang District.

While Beijing has struggled to build an art fair to rival the likes of Art Basel in Hong Kong, JINGART—established by the co-founders of Shanghai's ART021—is starting to get some buzz after its inaugural year in 2018, filling out the calendar alongside Beijing Contemporary and Art Beijing.

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