It’s not so easy to open a private museum of Contemporary art in China despite the growing trend toward building them. The South China Morning Post looks at the remarkable number of hurdles that will get you wondering why China’s newly rich are going to such a bother:
The lack of any government financial or taxation support places an additional burden on the development of China’s private museums; they are not eligible for preferential government financial initiatives that are provided for culture and art programmes.
Contemporary art has been marginalised by government-controlled public museums, which prefer to promote traditional art, such as ink and oil painting and calligraphy.
“The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Modern in London are well-supported thanks to a network of sponsors, institutions and also preferential tax breaks – such as lower levels of tax paid on art that is donated to museums – something that is impossible here in China,” said a private museum employee, who declined to be named.
“We have to try to survive by our own means through the capital generated from business and funds raised by our founder.”
High customs tariffs on artworks are another heavy burden facing private museums.
“If we import artworks from abroad for an exhibition then we must provide heavy guarantee deposits – sometimes as much as 10 million yuan,” the employee said.
“On the other hand, if we lend artworks to overseas exhibitions, we are required to apply for their temporary export, which means we must deposit up to 40 per cent of the market price of each of the artworks before they can clear customs.”
Emerging private museums also face the pressure of curatorial andconceptual considerations, too.
“Ultimately, the curatorial judgment over the quality of a museum’s artworks isvital for its long-term success,” said Wang Guofeng, an independent contemporary artist. “Only those museums that are dedicated to curatorial quality will be able to grow and become a part of the art history.”
New Beijing collection joins rising ranks of China’s private art museums (South China Morning Post)