China Extends Reach Into International Art

Posted filed underArt Market, China.


China’s drive to achieve world status in more than just economic power has now turned to art museums, a push that is also resulting in the showing of more Chinese art in the United States.

The New York Times reports that “China’s drive to achieve world status in more than just economic power has now turned to art museums, a push that is also resulting in the showing of more Chinese art in the United States.

Here, in the nation’s financial center, the city government recently gave its blessing to a museum of contemporary art to be called an “art palace” — actually an expansion of the China Pavilion of the 2010 World Expo — that will bring the space to some 2.1 million square feet. The project will make it the largest art museum in China and will put it among the largest in the world when it opens on Oct. 1, said Li Lei, the executive director of the Shanghai Art Museum, which will move into the new art palace.

Not to be outdone, the National Art Museum of China in Beijing is holding an international competition to choose the architect for a structure of almost 1.4 million square feet to be built next to one of the capital’s new landmarks, the National Olympic Stadium. The three finalists are the American architect Frank Gehry, the Iraqi-born Zaha Hadid and the French architect Jean Nouvel.

This lineup points to a world-class design, eventually, even if it is a bit smaller than Shanghai’s, Fan Di’an, the director of the National Art Museum, said in an interview. “I would like a design that grows out of the Beijing soil,” said Mr. Di’an, who is on the 11-member judging panel. The winner will be announced in several months.

The boom in museum construction, which some Chinese art experts liken to the expansion of museums in the United States at the end of the 19th century, has much to do with national pride. It comes with the full support of the national government as part of a cultural strategy known as “Going Out, Inviting In,” under which the government is giving its blessing to museums’ taking the initiative in offering an array of modern Chinese art for show abroad, including in the United States.”

Read on at The New York Times.

Image by Wu Guanzhong