A Private Museum in China Abruptly Closed Its Doors After Police Gave It a Surprise Three-Day Demolition Notice

The museum says the evacuation orders followed a lengthy dispute with authorities.

The Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou, during the exhibition
The Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou during the exhibition "Bill Viola: Selected Work 1977-2014" Courtesy of Getty Images.

The privately funded Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art in Guangzhou, China, abruptly shut down last week after it was given three days to vacate its premises in anticipation of demolition of the surrounding arts district, known as the Redtory Art + Design Factory.

The museum said the evacuation notice came after a long period of disputes with local authorities, according to The Art Newspaper, which first reported the news. The museum posted its three-day notice to the social media platform WeChat last Wednesday and noted that it never sought financial support or “policy preference” from authorities.

“We expected that they would understand and appreciate the scale of the efforts made by various cultural and art organizations in the Redtory art district,” the post read. The museum said the government’s “lack of vision” was “deeply disquieting.”

New business towers are purportedly planned for the larger district, known as the Tianhe District. “As the wreckers machinery moves in, and the past dissolves before our eyes, do does our efforts,” the museum said in its post. Redtory representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

 Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou, China. Image via Getty Images

Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art, Guangzhou, China. Photo via Getty Images.

The museum was founded in 2009 on the site of a former canned food factory. The museum stages a range of modern and contemporary art and design exhibitions. “RMCA blends the ideas in contemporary art and modern design, listens to the voice during the development process of modern art, carries out the trans-regional fields with visual appearance of modern art and assumes the social responsibilities for extending the art to design and life,” its website says.

The museum’s building was one of the few surviving Constructivist-style factories from the early history of the People’s Republic of China, according to the Art Newspaper. In 2017-18, Redtory hosted a show of work by video artist Bill Viola.

 


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