Open Call for Art: Beijing Minsheng Art Museum’s Opening Exhibition “The Civil Power”


From Randian

by Gu Ling Translated by: Fei Wu (中文往下)

Ever since plans were afoot for the recently opened Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai, rumors have been flying about plans to open another Minsheng Art Museum in Beijing. On October 10, 2014, “The Civil Power”—an open call for art —was officially launched by China Minsheng Bank and Beijing Minsheng Art Museum at Beijing’s 798 Art Zone. This is the first call for art work related to “civil power” that will be open to the entire nation. A press conference held around the same time also announced the official opening of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum in March 2015.

The museum director Zhou Xujun commented, “Beijing Minsheng Art Museum has been funded entirely by China Minsheng Bank. The museum’s total area covers 35,000 square meters. Over 200 million RMB has been invested in this museum, which will be the largest and most aesthetically modern private art museum in China….We will continue to explore avenues of sustainable and profitable operation, while establishing the way we run the business of this organization. We would like to become more self-reliant, while enhancing the museum’s ability to develop sustainably, so that we are more able to drive the development of art towards serving the public.”

Dr. Ai Min, Vice Chairman of the Social Responsibility Management Committee of China Minsheng Banking Corporation, and Executive Director of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum said during his speech at the launch ceremony: “Minsheng Art Museum is a platform, a positive force driving art in China towards innovative development that enables civic contribution to the nation’s cultural strategy.” Guo Xiaoyan, Deputy Director of Beijing Minsheng Art Museum commented, “There is no barrier to entry to ‘The Civil Power’; there are no limitations because it was designed as an open exhibition. Also, the public will be deciding which pieces are awarded prizes. We’ve also invited some of the most representative contemporary artists to show some of their pieces; we hope to present some outstanding works with civil origins, works that are relevant to people’s lives.”

The word, “civil” is familiar to many, but what group of people does this term indicate? Are artists included among them? In what ways do the organizers hope the entries received will differ from so-called professional art? “The Civil Power” will be composed of three different units: the first unit will feature works by invited artists; the second unit will be made up of literature and documents, while the third unit will be comprised of works entered into the museum’s competition during its open call for entries. Entries into the competition will be judged by a committee of renowned authorities in art, including artists, academic, and critics, as well as the general public. Standards for judging will be based on “contemporaneity”, “humanism”, “conceptuality”, and “creativity”. Entries are being accepted in the three major categories of paintings, video, and “integrated”. The selection process will include the primaries, semifinals, and finals. The Grand Jury Prize will be an 180,000 RMB award, followed by three Gold Medal Prizes at 50,000 RMB each, three Silver Medal Prizes at 10,000 RMB each, and three Bronze Medal Prizes at 5,000 RMB each. An online voting platform open to the public will also be set up simultaneously, so audiences can vote for their favorite pieces. The judging committee will award substantial prizes to winning artists; pieces selected into the primaries will be exhibited at “The Civil Power” exhibition, while entries by winners of the Grand Jury Prize and Gold Medal Prizes will enter the Minsheng Museum (MSMS) collection.

A series of academic forums and public events will also be held concurrent with “The Civil Power”. For example, “The Human Idea Forum—A Report on Ideological Movements in Asia” invites world-renowned scholars to discuss civic thought in Asia. Six lectures and talks will revolve around the ways in which the real concerns of civil society and human sentiment can inspire a more personal interpretation of history while stimulating creative forces within society.

“The Civil Power” open call for art: October 10, 2014 – January 10, 2015.

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