First Private Museum Opens in Hangzhou

Scented Air, 2014, at the Opening of the T Museum Yuan Gong Photo courtesy of the artist


The Chinese city of Hangzhou got its first private museum this month, with the inauguration of the T museum. As first reported by the Art Newspaper, the 2,000 square meter museum is owned by art investment company Tianrenhe (hence the name) and will exhibit primarily contemporary art. Tianrenhe also owns the T Art Center in Beijing.

A 1960s train depot and factory underwent a several million yuan conversion and refurbishment in order to be home to the new institution. Part of the architecture includes a 200-meter wall, which has earned the museum a superlative (if inaccurate) epithet:  “China’s longest museum.”

“Hangzhou is rich in contemporary art, but this is its first private art museum,” Shen Qibin, the museum’s director as well as a curator and art dealer who has worked with both the Zendai and Himalayas museums in Shanghai, told the Art Newspaper. The eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou is the capital of Zhejiang, one of China’s wealthiest provinces. It’s also home to the China Academy of Art.

For the opening show, Fusion/Convergence, “the goal is to express China’s local problems via art,” Shen says. “It is about societal problems and contradictions, which are all very complex.” Shen also says to expect research-based exhibitions focusing on contemporary art and international exchanges. The program will also include a residency that gives the opportunity to 10 young artists to come to China to gain an understanding of its art and problems as well as organize exhibitions.

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