IN HONOR OF ARMORY FOCUS: CHINA, THE ARMORY SHOW CELEBRATES THE PROVOCATIVE CONCEPTUALISM OF ARTIST XU ZHEN
NEW YORK - The Armory Show is pleased to announce that Xu Zhen has been chosen as the commissioned artist for the 2014 edition. Xu Zhen, a “chameleon of concept," has built an extensive body of work that includes video, installation, performance, and photography. From theatrical merry pranks to quieter works playing on human sensitivity, Xu Zhen has developed a repertoire confronting social-political taboos within the context of contemporary China and beyond.
“I am very honored to be named the The Armory Show 2014 Commissioned Artist. The fair offers an strong platform for exchange, and for dialogue around art, the market and its many interrelated institutions and ideas," says Xu Zhen.
Armory Focus: China, curated by Philip Tinari, Director of The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing, aims to illuminate the strength, dynamism, seriousness and originality of the Chinese art scene and system today. Tinari notes that “Xu Zhen’s participation will further activate many crucial questions meant to be raised by Armory Focus: China. Throughout his career, Xu Zhen has been at the forefront of critical thinking about the role of art and artists in contemporary China, engaging smartly and humorously with many of the big issues facing cultural production there today. It is also particularly thrilling that this year’s Armory Focus: China coincides with Xu Zhen’s major mid-career survey exhibition at UCCA."
Noah Horowitz, Executive Director of The Armory Show notes, “Over the past decade, Xu Zhen has firmly established himself as one of the most insightful provocateurs of a younger generation of Chinese contemporary artists. We are thrilled to collaborate with him as the 2014 Commissioned Artist and through this initiative look forward to extending our fair’s legacy as a site for international dialogue and critical debate."
Born in Shanghai in 1977, Xu Zhen is regarded as a leading figure of that city’s art scene and of the larger generation of artists born in the Post-Mao era. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, he organized a number of groundbreaking underground exhibitions including “Supermarket: Art for Sale" and “Twins." In 2001 he became the youngest Chinese artist ever to show at the Venice Biennale. In 2006 he oversaw the development of the online discussion platform now known as Art-Ba-Ba, which remains a key grassroots conduit for the circulation and dissemination of information and images about artistic developments around and beyond China. In 2009, he began working under the alias “MadeIn," a studio conceived as a company and taking on commissions and projects as well as producing new work.
Xu Zhen has achieved international acclaim through exhibitions at venues such as the Venice Biennale, The Museum of Modern Art, the Mori Art Museum, MoMA PS1, Performa and the Tate Liverpool. As the commissioned artist, Xu Zhen will help create the visual identity of 2014 fair and create two limited edition artworks with proceeds benefitting the Museum of Modern Art and the Pat Hearn & Colin de Land Cancer Foundation.
The Armory Show is New York’s leading fair for modern and contemporary art. A seminal event in the annual New York arts calendar, the fair spearheads Armory Arts Week, a city-wide program of cultural events and exhibitions. The Armory Show 2014 will again feature an acclaimed VIP program, a lively opening night party at the Museum of Modern Art and the engaging Open Forum discussion series. Next year’s fair will also coincide with the opening of the 2014 Whitney Biennial in early March, further enhancing the line-up of Armory Arts Week events planned in partnership with New York’s cultural institutions, and attracting a wide scope of international collectors, curators, scholars, and press.
Over his already long career, Xu Zhen (born 1977) has exhibited internationally, at museums and biennales, such as, Venice Biennale (2001, 2005), The Museum of Modern Art (New York, 2004), ICP (2004), Mori Art Museum (2005), PS1 (2006), Tate Liverpool (2007), Hayward Gallery (2012), Lyon Biennale (2013), etc. Xu Zhen’s curatorial experiments and engagement with an alternative art space and a website has complements and extends his conceptual practices. In 2009, he established “MadeIn Company," a contemporary art creation corporate, focused on the production of creativity, and devoted to the research of contemporary culture’s infinite possibilities. In 2013, MadeIn Company launched the brand “Xu Zhen."