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Wang Xin, Curator


Wang Xin, Curator
Exhibition view of MoMA's Sigmar Polke Exhibition. (Image courtesy of Artshare)

Wang Xin is a curator and researcher based in New York. A recent graduate from Columbia University’s MA program in Art History, she has worked as a special exhibition researcher at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on projects such as Ink Art: Past as Present in Contemporary China (2013).
She was the associate curator for Asian Contemporary Art Week 2014 and the inaugural edition of its signature program FILED MEETING. As an independent curator, she has co-organized the panel "Magiciens de la Terre and China: Looking Back 25 Years" with Asia Art Archive at Columbia University, curated the New York solo debut of artist Lu Yang (2014), and presented a critically-acclaimed group exhibition "THE BANK SHOW: Vive le Capital" (2015) in Shanghai.

Wang Xin. (Image courtesy of Artshare)

Art is important in your life, because... I need some kind of stimulation to get out of bed. 

Art goes best with... A filthy mind. 

Art is valuable, because... It creates jobs, and histories (sometimes). 

Moderating a panel with artists at Sun Asian Contemporary Art Week 2014. (Image courtesy of Artshare)

The three words that first come to your mind when you think about art... At this moment: Arcadia, archangel, archipelago.

The best museum show/ exhibition you saw in 2014... Alibis: Sigmar Polke at the MoMA and Grand Design: Pieter Coecke van Aelst and Renaissance Tapestry at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Both remind us of the exhilarating reward of rigorous art historical reckoning. 
If we don’t have to limit the questions to museum exhibitions, the FIFA World Cup was certainly the most significant collective visual experience we had last year, and it’s mind-boggling that it didn’t make any of the “best of” lists. Artists have long taken notice, however, from Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait to Harun Farocki’s Deep Play.

Your favourite museum in the world... So far, the Metropolitan Museum of Art because it’s almost inexhaustible in the range and depth of the collection, in addition to those quality themed exhibitions. It’s both humbling and comforting to know that any assumption you have about art—past and present—might be challenged by a new discovery. Tumblr is quickly rising in the ranks among my favorite destinations for art. I also have a special bond with the Pinacoteca di Brera, where I fell asleep in contentment (and due to the jet lag) on my first trip to Milan.

Gallery talk at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Image courtesy of Artshare)

The best city to go for art... Depends on the art, but New York for sure if you are an omnivore. 

An artist (dead or alive) you would like to have lunch with... Artemisia Gentileschi or Alice Munro for women, Chen Hongshou or Masaccio for men. Though if I do get to meet them, lunch feels too Financial Times-ish.

The artwork you would like to hang in your living room... The Brancacci chapel frescoes, but it's probably better off where it is now. Wouldn’t it be nice to have art AS my living room?

Still from Harun Farocki's Deep Play. (Image courtesy of Artshare)

If you were an artist, who would it be? 

I wouldn't necessarily want to "be" someone, but I do want to be in the head of wildly creative people, in which case that person doesn't have to be an "artist" artist. Great scientists and athletes are bona fide artists as well. It would be great if I can access the intellectual capacity or artistic sensibility of others in the way portrayed in the Wachowski's mind-blowing new series Sense8. Once that's possible, I might spend the rest of my life hopping from mind to mind. Oh the sheer, endless possibilities.

Artemesia Gentileschi, Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1614-20. (Image courtesy of Artshare)


How is Chinese contemporary art perceived in the United States?

Through too many filters; too much historicizing for a rather short historical period. “The war is hardly at an end and it is already converted into thousands of copies of printed matter.” (Nietzsche) And always this anxiety over “Chinese-ness.”

What has been your most meaningful experience as a curator?

I’d like to think that I find meaning accumulatively, exploring and taking pleasure in working with a wide range of artists, time periods, and forms of creativity. I’ve worked on proper museum exhibitions that entail heavy research, public outreach, and educational programming, independent pop-ups, fun conceptual gallery shows, and even “curated” a video game. Obviously unrealized ideas outnumber the realized and on-going ones, and curatorial work should never be limited to “mounting exhibitions.”

What is the public’s biggest misconception about Chinese contemporary art? And can you demystify it?

That it has to make categorical sense or fit into a certain narrative. By now there are enough practitioners and materials out there that this question feels as quaint as “What’s the public’s biggest misconception about the Chinese?” And what public? The artist and the public are not necessarily always interested in each other, nor should they be—perhaps that’s the myth.


Cheng Hongshou, Miscellaneous Studies, 1619. (Image courtesy of Artshare)


  • The Three-Body Problem (and the entire trilogy) is among the most insightful pieces of writing on contemporary China.
  • Feeling bittersweet, at this very moment, at the news of Andrea Pirlo’s signing over to New York FC.
  • Cannot wait to play the sequel of The Last of Us.
  • I read compulsively and perhaps a bit too indiscriminately.



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

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