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An Interview with Michael Xufu Huang

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An Interview with Michael Xufu Huang
​Image courtesy of M WOODS

The Artling sits down with Michael Xufu Huang, the 22-year-old co-founder of the private museum M WOODS in Beijing, a collector of international contemporary art and a member of the New Museum's International Leadership Council, to find out more about his collecting habits and his thoughts on the art scene in China. 

 

You started collecting at the young age of 16. What was the first piece you bought and what drew you to it?

The first unique art piece I bought was a Chinese painter called Bodu Yang. Her work depicts scenes in art museums. The subject matter and how it looks visually really resonated with me.

 

What’s the most recent piece you’ve purchased?

Amalia Ulman’s new Instagram series which hasn’t been unveiled publicly yet ;)

The exterior of the M WOODS museum in Beijing
Image courtesy of M WOODS

You became a Co-Founder of the M Woods museum after its original opening. How did this come about, and what made you interested in being a part of this private, not-for-profit art museum?

I officially became the Co-Founder half a year after its original opening but the conversation started at the beginning. I have been great friends with Wanwan Lei and Lin Han for a long time and we share a lot of thoughts on art and collecting. We are very complementary and I joined to enable the collection to be more rounded and the museum to be more international-facing.

 

Working with the two other co-founders, do you find that the three of you have similar taste in art? If not, how do you overcome your differences when dealing with permanent acquisitions or exhibition programming?

Of course everyone’s taste and aesthetics vary but I think the three of us work cohesively on the art and exhibition programming. Personally, I explore post-internet art more than the other founders but they always have an open mind about my propositions.

Installation view of "Andy Warhol: Contact"
​Image courtesy of M WOODS

The rapid growth in private museums in China is often attributed to lack of governmental support. Do you see public support for the arts within China increasing in the future?

Yes. China is transitioning and developing quickly. Creative industry is important to that and I think both the government and the public realize that. We have already received support from many patrons and it’s growing.

 

On a similar note, you’ve said before that the art scene in China is still very young. How do you see it changing over the next five to ten years?

I meant that the contemporary art scene is still young. I think it will grow naturally as more people are exposed to it and at M WOODS we are doing our best to present the most exciting art to the Chinese public.

Installation view of "Andy Warhol: Contact"
​Image courtesy of M WOODS

Beijing has long been considered the art capital within China, but in the past few decades, Shanghai’s art scene has evolved dramatically. What are some of the key differences between the art scenes of Beijing and Shanghai? Is there a rivalry between the two cities?

Personally I think Beijing is stronger on the creative side as more artists like to have their studios in Beijing, and there is more active discussion. Shanghai is more commercial because of the art fairs there. I don’t think there is a rivalry – we are growing together.

 

What’s your favourite art destination to travel to?

Marfa.

 

 


Any views or opinions in the interview are solely those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the company or contributors.



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