UCCA Center for Contemporary Art Expands to Chengdu, Shopping Mall

Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art has announced that it will open a branch in the Sichuan province capital of Chengdu in 2024, The Art Newspaper reports, and that it will inaugurate a cobranded exhibition space in a Beijing shopping mall late this year. The Chengdu location will be the museum’s fourth: In addition to its original venue in Beijing, the museum operates outposts in coastal Bedaihe and in Shanghai, having opened the latter, christened Shanghai EDGE, this past May. The Chengdu museum will be part of a new cultural hub being developed by the Hong Kong–based Sunwah Group. The hub, called International Art Island, will additionally feature a concert hall housing the China Philharmonic Orchestra and a museum devoted to the works of Deyang, Sichuan–born sculptor Ye Yushan.

Speculation has abounded during the past two years in regard to Chengdu’s potential as an arts hub. Situated in China’s southwest, the megacity is home to more than sixteen million people. Known hundreds of years ago for its silk brocades and satins, Chengdu has seen rapid expansion in the past decade and is one of the top forty cities in the world in terms of scientific research output, and hosts more universities than any other Chinese city.  “Chengdu is one of the most exciting and rapidly growing cities in China and we have been closely following its development and accomplishments in the arts in recent years,” said Philip Tinari, CEO and director of UCCA, who is also also serving as artistic advisor to International Art Island.

UCCA is additionally collaborating with Young Talent Media, which is backed by the museum’s parent company and by Sun Wah, to create “U2by UCCA,” a series of small museums, each of which will be known as U2 Art Museum. The first of these is to open mid-December in Beijing’s Chaoyang Joy City Mall, which welcomes 100,000 shoppers daily. Occupying around 30,000 square feet, the venue will include a gallery, a space for live performances, a garden for public art projects, and a restaurant. Inaugurating the mall museum will be a group of videos from the long-running US-based Midnight Moment program. Established in New York in 2012, the series presents digital works synchronized across Times Square billboards nightly from 11:57 p.m. to midnight; in Beijing, the works will appear on screens outside the mall, as well as online.