Art capital in question

08:34, April 07, 2010      

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Feelings are Facts, the exhibition currently being held at UCCA.

A new wave of domestic enterprises sponsoring Chinese art organizations and their various activities is currently hitting the Chinese art world with the trend attracting a slew of news headlines as two major players in the industry join forces.

Many art experts and critics are optimistic about such cooperation, saying that it could go a long way in helping to resolve the shortage of financial resources facing many art organizations and independent artists today.

The allegiance causing the greatest sensation at the moment is the "business partnership" between Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), a landmark in the Chinese art world and Minsheng Art Museum, a soon-to-be-opened Shanghai-based art organization sponsored by Minsheng Bank.

The two organizations will cooperate with each other on many aspects such as holding exhibitions, educating workers, catalogue publications and researching collections, revealed He Juxing, director of Minsheng Art Museum and manager of the brand marketing department of Minsheng Bank, at a press conference to mark the partnership held Friday in Beijing.

Both sides declined to comment on the extent of financial support from Minsheng Bank, although speculation is rife about whether it is the first step of Minsheng Bank's take-over of UCCA, with rumors of this kind circulating since last year.

Co-founder of UCCA Guy Ullens expressed his excitement and optimism about the cooperation, saying that UCCA will remain an independent art organization and will continue to try its best to boost the development of Chinese contemporary art.

A large-scale art organization founded by Swiss collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens, who have been collecting Chinese art since the early 1990s, UCCA has carved itself a name as one of the most vigorous art centers in China since it opened three years ago, with a series of world-class exhibitions and art activities that attract crowds of people each day.

However, there has also been speculation that the couple may "withdraw" from the Chinese art world, as they sold some of their collec-tion including several precious traditional Chinese paintings and contemporary works last year, as the global recession worsened. The Ullens raised more than 400 million yuan ($59 million) from the sale and it is said that the money is being used to maintain the art center.

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