American-born, Beijing-based curator and editor Philip Tinariwill take the helm as Director of the UCCA (Ullens Center Contemporary Art Beijing) this December. He replaces Jérôme Sans in the position.
Tinari has been active in the Chinese contemporary art arena for nearly ten years. He is the China Representative for Art Basel and is founder and current editor of LEAP magazine.
Tinari’s appointment affirms UCCA’s commitment to remain in China, despite speculation to the contrary. According to ARTINFO, rumors began to circulate that Baron Guy and Miriam Ullens would close the Center after they sold a major part of their collection of Chinese contemporary art to Sotheby’s Hong Kong this past spring. Chinese journalists have been told that the money from the sale will go back into operations costs at the UCCA.
Sans, who co-founded the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and was Director of the BALTICCenter for Contemporary Art in Gateshead UK, was brought to UCCA in 2008. He arrived at a crucial time. Just five months after UCCA opened in November 2007, all but one of the original five staff members left the institution, including founding director Fei Dawei. Sans organized an international exhibition program, a lecture series and the launch of a successful restaurant and shop. However, his program received criticism from locals for its lack of focus on Chinese contemporary art.
Tinari’s deep knowledge of the Chinese scene indicates that UCCA will return to its original mission to focus on the local. The incoming director has hinted that a new institutional long-range plan will be released in the coming weeks.