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Guggenheim Expands Chinese Art Engagement With New Curator and Commissions

Cai Guo-Qiang's "Inopportune Stage 1" at the Guggenheim (Image by Henri Charreau)
Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Inopportune Stage 1” at the Guggenheim (Image via Henri Charreau)

The Guggenheim just announced that with the help of the Robert H. N. Ho Family Foundation, the museum will greatly expand its engagement with Chinese art and artists.

The initiative will support the commissioning of new works from at least three major Chinese artists (“China” is defined as encompassing mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao), as well as the appointing of a designated curator of Chinese art for the museum. These new efforts are designed to continue on the work pioneered by the Guggenheim’s existing Asian Art Program, led by Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art Alexandra Munroe.

Dr. Thomas Berghuis (Image via sydney.edu)
Dr. Thomas Berghuis (Image via sydney.edu)

The new commissions present a renewed commitment to supporting contemporary Chinese art. The initiative will “contribute to the wider critical appreciation of Chinese contemporary art in a global cultural context,” Robert H. N. Ho Foundation’s chairman of the board Robert Y. C. Ho said in the announcement’s press release. Previously, the foundation has supported the Guggenheim’s Cai Guo-Qiang retrospective as well as its 2009 show The Third Mind: American Artists Contemplate Asia, 1860-1989.

The curator who will join the Guggenheim is Dr. Thomas J. Berghuis, a scholar of Chinese and Southeast Asian art who has taught at the University of Sydney and acts as the deputy director of the Australian Centre for Asian Art and Archeology. He was an associate curator for the Sharjah Biennale in 2003, co-curator for the 2006 Dashanzi International Arts Festival in Beijing, and co-founder of the Edge of Elsewhere project in Sydney.

“I am looking forward to working with artists, critics, and museum colleagues in China to further the understanding and appreciation of contemporary Chinese art within a broad global art context,” Dr. Berghuis said. He will work to find the artists who will receive the foundation’s commissions as well as participate in the Guggenheim’s curatorial department doing research on Chinese contemporary art and transnational art studies.

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