Beijing's Ullens Center looking for new owner

A Beijing landmark Begins Searching for a new Operator as incumbent Overseas patron says age isn't on his Aspect.

In the Previous nine Many 12 monthss, the Ullens Middle for Modern Art work has evolved into a landmark venue in Beijing's 798 art Area.

It has staged Quite a few Large-profile exhibitions and Proven Performs of Important Chinese language and Western Performers, Such as Xu Zhen, William Kentridge and Taryn Simon.

But an announcement of the Person and Myriam Ullens Groundwork on Thursday Advised that UCCA's Belgian founder, Person Ullens, is now Searching for a new Operator for UCCA - a "More youthful patron who can Carry on to Build this Vital arts institution".

Ullens Points out in the Declaration that he is in his 80s and feels the Require to hand More than the Operatorship, and that he would Market artPerforms in his Personal Selection Via Individual channels and at auctions Afterwards this 12 months. He says he would Carry on to Assistance the center Until a new benefactor turns up.

Ullens, who is knPersonal as a "patron of the arts in China for Much more than 30 Many 12 monthss", Regularly traveled to the Nation in the 1980s for Loved ones Company in sugar and other Meals-Associated trades. He has assembled a Amount of Chinese language artPerforms, the Bigger Component Getting the contemporary pieces of Primary Performers This kind of as Gu WFinisha, Wang Guangyi and Zhang Xiaogang.

UCCA, a nonRevenue that he Money Via the Person and Myriam Ullens Groundwork, encompasses 3 factory Structures of the 1950s. It has Obtained some 4 million Site visitors Considering that the opening. Information of Ullens' Intent to Market UCCA has emerged Considering that 2009, amid speculation that his Loved ones Company was Impacted by the Monetary TurmEssential oil Starting in the United Says in 2008.

He cashed in by Marketing Gathered art in bulk at auctions: a Beijing Selling of his Selection of classical Chinese language paintings in 2009 grossed 288 million yuan ($43.64 million); he Marketed an Essential oil painting of Zhang Xiaogang for HK$79 million ($9 million) in 2011; and a Zeng Admirer-zhi canvas for HK$180 million in 2013.

At the time Ullens denied he would also Market UCCA, explaining that he Marketed his Selection Mainly because his age prohibited him from frequent travels to China and his Kids showed Tiny Attention in art. And now, the news of his Possible renouncement of UCCA isn't a Shock in Chinese language art Groups.

"The Ullens are Soon after all aged, and it (UCCA) is not a Loved ones Company that can be inherited. It's not their Job or obligation to Remain on," says Tang Xin, director of Beijing-Centered Taikang Room.

Li Suqiao, a critic in the Chinese language art Market place, says: "Many thanks to Person Ullens' persistence ... He has Proven Sufficient kindness by Assistanceing the center with 10 % of the Income from Marketing his Selection."

Folks are Questioning who will Carry More than UCCA's Treatment, a mature Chinese language Individual art museum but now also a Warm potato. The center doesn't Revenue from representing Performers like art galleries do, Neither can it Obtain from Marketing or loaning Selections - it has no Selection of its Personal and Features no Network with Ullens' Selection.

In accordance to Xue Mei, chief executive director of UCCA, the Procedure of the center Price Nearly 41 million yuan in 2015 and the ratio of Ullens' Expense Reduced from 100 % to 25 %.

The center has been diversifying its Places of Money More than the Previous 5 Many 12 monthss. Yearly sponsorships by Companies and 49 People of its board of trustees contributed about 35 % in 2015 and its art Shop, opened in 2012, brought in 20 %. It also holds an annual charity auction at 12 months Finish and the proceeds Final 12 months Had been 10.9 million yuan.

SUntil, UCCA Requires a deep-pocketed benefactor who, as Ullens hopes, is Prepared to Build the institution's Possible in Assistanceing contemporary Chinese language art and introducing Western art in the coming Many 12 monthss.

Li Jianya, an art freelancer in Beijing, says: "The Market place for contemporary Chinese language art is sUntil recMore thaning. And the Neighborhood elites who Gather contemporary pieces are in the Center of Constructing their Personal galleries."

In spite of the uncertainty, Xue says: "UCCA will stand Powerful and uphold its Root values of Largelighting Performers from China and Past, and encouraging the Community to engage with contemporary art and Lifestyle."

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