Forum focuses on emerging curators

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Over the past three decades, contemporary Chinese art has grown into a global phenomenon, with more and more Chinese talents taking center stage at major art festivals, exhibitions and auctions worldwide, said Yu Ding, director of the Institute of Arts Administration and Education, Central Academy of Fine Arts, at an academic forum at the Beijing World Art Museum on Thursday.

With online exhibitions increasingly becoming a new normal, art curators need to shift from an artist-centered approach to an audience-centered approach when doing their part, said Chinese Artists Association chairman Fan Di'an at the Curating for Future academic forum on Sept 3, 2020 at the Beijing World Art Museum. [Photo provided to]

"What deserves special mention is that a large number of young and upcoming Chinese art curators, who work mostly behind-the-scenes, are contributing to this development," said Yu, who also is deputy director of the Young Curators Art Project initiated by the Wu Zuoren International Art Foundation. "But most of them are unwilling to become professional curators. Because working as a full-time curator can hardly earn them a decent living."

"On the way to become a qualified and even outstanding curator, a young curator needs a strong support from all relevant parties in and outside of the art circles,'' said Wu Hongliang, a key organizer of the forum, titled Curating into the Future 2020, which focuses on the cultivation, training and promotion of younger generations of curators.

The forum is a spin-off of Curating in China, an annual academic gathering incepted in 2018 to bring together China's top-notch curators from major art galleries, museums and art academies to tackle the main challenges to and opportunities for the curatorial community.

Featuring a cluster of sub-forums running through Sept 23, Curating into the Future 2020 is co-organized by the Art Curators Society under the Chinese Artists Association, the Wu Zuoren International Art Foundation and the museum.

Themes to be discussed include the expression and communication of Chinese culture in the context of globalization, the rediscovered value of cultural heritage in contemporary art creation and interpretation, the social responsibilities for exhibitions on design and architecture, and emerging technologies and new possibilities for curatorial experiments.

"We must aware that young and upcoming curators are a vital factor for the sustainable development of contemporary Chinese art," said Fan Di'an, chairman of Chinese Artists Association.

In his keynote speech, Fan said the pandemic has posed a great threat to economic development and even the creation and communication in arts and culture.

"But that does not mean arts and culture are withering," Fan said. "Instead, Artists and curators alike have found new ways, such as online exhibitions, to present artworks to the public."

"In light of this new trend and also a challenge, art curators need to shift from an artist-centered approach to an audience-centered approach when doing their part. This is the moment for young and innovative curators to excel," Fan concluded.

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