Guggenheim names Hou Hanru, Xiaoyu Weng curators

Curators Hou Hanru and Xiaoyu Weng. Guggenheim image

NEW YORK – The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation strengthened its long-standing commitment to the study and support of contemporary Chinese artists with the appointment of Hou Hanru as Consulting Curator, the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative, and Xiaoyu Weng as the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Associate Curator of Chinese Art.

Led by Alexandra Munroe, the Guggenheim’s Samsung Senior Curator of Asian Art and newly named Senior Advisor, Global Arts, they will work as a team to develop the next two exhibitions scheduled as part of the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative. The next exhibition, a thematic group show of newly commissioned works, will open at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in November 2016.

Conceived to enhance and extend the work of the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Initiative, founded in 2006 and the first of its kind at a contemporary art museum in the West, this program has allowed the museum to contribute to both Chinese and international scholarship while further developing the Guggenheim’s related global arts initiatives. The first exhibition, “Wang Jianwei: Time Temple,” opened at the Guggenheim in October 2014 and featured a sculptural installation, paintings, a film, and a performance by Wang Jianwei, one of China’s leading conceptual artists.

The Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Chinese Art Initiative enables the Guggenheim to commission major works from individual artists or groups of artists born in mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or Macao and presents them in exhibitions at the Guggenheim in New York. An expansive offering of publications, lecture series, education programs, and public interactions with the artists is developed for each exhibition. The commissioned works will enter the Guggenheim’s permanent collection as the Robert H.N. Ho Family Foundation Collection.

A prolific writer and curator based in Rome, Paris and San Francisco, Hou Hanru is the artistic director of MAXXI, National Museum of the 21st Century Arts, Rome. Educated at the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing in the 1980s, Hou moved to France in 1990, and after a period as an independent curator and critic, he became Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies at the San Francisco Art Institute (2006–12). Over the past two decades, he has curated and co-curated more than one hundred exhibitions at institutions and events around the world, including biennials and triennials in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Gwangju, Istanbul, Venice, Lyon, Auckland and Johannesburg. Hou consults for numerous cultural institutions, frequently contributes to journals on contemporary art and culture, and lectures at many international institutions. He is also a founding member of the Guggenheim’s Asian Art Council, a curatorial think tank.

Xiaoyu Weng served as the founding director of the Kadist Art Foundation’s Asia Programs, Paris and San Francisco. There, she launched the Kadist Curatorial Collaboration, which organizes exhibitions that stimulate cultural exchange, and she also oversaw artist residencies and the building of the contemporary Asian art collection. Previously, she worked as program director of the Asian Contemporary Art Consortium in San Francisco and as a curator at the Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts at the California College of the Arts (CCA). Educated at the Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing and the CCA in San Francisco, she has organized exhibitions and public programs for venues including the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the CAFA Art Museum, Beijing. She is a contributing editor of Leap, a bilingual magazine dedicated to contemporary Chinese art.