Hong Kong’s M+: a museum of visual culture at a time of political unrest
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AbstractPart of the yet to be completed complex of cultural institutions called the West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ (i.e. ‘museum plus’) has been a topic of heated debates in Hong Kong for over a decade. Being a museum of visual culture, defining its curatorial mission was from the onset a difficult task since the very idea of what constitutes visual culture is far from clear cut. This task was in fact rendered all the more complex by the emphasis it almost accidentally had to put on the visual arts because of the first great donation this museum benefitted from. Although its collections are extremely varied, the attention of the local public as well as the international art press has often focused on the bequest made by the Swiss collector Uli Sigg of his vast selection of contemporary Chinese art. This article will first address the history of this donation and its potential source of ideological tension with the Beijing authorities in the changing political environment of Hong Kong. This environment was rendered particularly complex in the atmosphere of political polarization generated by the pro-democracy demonstrations (called the ‘Umbrella movement’) of late 2014. The last part of this article deals with the objects generated by the participants of the Umbrella movement that are presently at the heart of the latest controversy about M+, a controversy where the nature of local politics and the very existence of freedom of speech in Hong Kong are at stake.
All Author(s) ListVIGNERON Frank
Journal nameJournal of Contemporary Chinese Art
Year2017
Month3
Day1
Volume Number4
Issue Number1
PublisherIntellect
Place of PublicationBristol UK & Willington US
Pages83 - 99
ISSN2051-7041
LanguagesEnglish-United Kingdom
Keywordsart collector, curatorship, protest art, Umbrella movement, visual culture, art activism

Last updated on 2020-02-04 at 02:32