China’s nationwide lockdown to contain the coronavirus pandemic pushed the launch of Beijing’s private X Museum, founded by the young collectors Michael Xufu Huang and Theresa Tse, from March to 30 May.
The delay had a financial impact as “some brands have cancelled their sponsorship”, Huang says, but he appreciates that it also “gave us time to do more”. The museum teased its opening show with an interactive online exhibition conceived as “complementary to our physical space”.
Designed by the architect and artist Pete Jiadong Qiang, the site went live on 6 March, and attracted over 20,000 visitors by 6 May. Unlike the recent proliferation of online viewing rooms “which are like going through PDFs”, Huang says the exhibition is “almost like a game” in which the art “flies into your face”. Still, he concedes: “it does not replace seeing physical art”.
The IRL exhibition How Do We Begin? (30 May-13 September) is billed as the first edition of a contemporary art triennial. The mix of 33 artists includes emerging and more established talents, such as Cheng Ran and Miao Ying, and represents diverse gender and sexual identities unusual for a Chinese group show. Next up will be an exhibition of the Norwegian artist Yngve Holen, in line with the global programme envisioned by Huang.