Michael Xufu Huang: Rising Art World Curator From Beijing
By: Alex Hawgood Source: New York Times Date: 9/8/2017
Michael Xufu Huang
Now Lives A recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Mr. Huang is relocating to a one-bedroom apartment in Gramercy Park in September.
Claim to Fame He is a founder of M Woods, a contemporary art museum in Beijing that focuses on internet-minded works from artists like He Xiangyu and Olafur Eliasson. With his penchant for bright suits and a flair for publicity, he could be considered something of a next-generation Jeffrey Deitch of China. “Everyone in Beijing is really hungry for culture,” he said. “We really see a lot of young people who are very engaged with us and learning about art and making it a part of their life.”
Big Break Last year, M Woods’s debut exhibition, “Andy Warhol: Contact,” received immediate international recognition. The wide-ranging retrospective of Warhol’s lesser-known film, photography and interactive installations shed new light on the pop icon’s reputation outside the United States. “A lot of people in China know him as a brand,” Mr. Huang said. “The show explains how he became who he is.” Four months after the show opened, Mr. Huang became a member of the board of trustees for the New Museum.
Latest Project “Heart of the Tin Man,” a group show partly inspired by “The Wizard of Oz,” featuring “works by 12 artists consciously revealing, investigating or subverting current internet or technological practices,” opened last week at M Woods. “I think the Tin Man represents us in the digital dominated world,” he said. “We are slowly losing our sensations and emotions and even soul.”
Next Project Mr. Huang is at work on a mysterious start-up that he hopes will “reconceptualize the dissemination of art for the millennial generation by taking art out of the gallery space and creating new ways for it to exist in the world.” If that sounds vague, that’s the point. “I don’t want to spoil too much, just like how a good artist is always unpredictable and constantly evolving,” he said.
Hometown Flavor Even though he is about to become a full-fledged New Yorker, he still yearns for a taste of home. His current favorite restaurant is Hao Noodle and Tea by Madam Zhu’s Kitchen on Avenue of the Americas. “I like it because it tastes very authentic and the spiciness is spot on,” he said. “They have the same restaurant in Beijing, so they are on the same standard as China.”