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UCCA Center for Contemporary Art


UCCA Center for Contemporary Art is China’s leading contemporary art institution. Committed to the belief that art can deepen lives and transcend boundaries, UCCA presents a wide range of exhibitions, public programs, and research initiatives to a public of more than one million visitors each year. UCCA Beijing sits at the heart of the 798 Art District, occupying 10,000 square meters of factory chambers built in 1957 and regenerated in 2019 by OMA. UCCA Dune, designed by Open Architecture, lies beneath the sand in the seaside enclave of Aranya in Beidaihe. Formally accredited as a museum by the Beijing Cultural Bureau in 2018, UCCA also operates non-profit foundations, licensed by the Beijing Bureau of Civil Affairs and the Hong Kong government. UCCA’s commercial ventures include the retail platform UCCA Store, the children’s education initiative UCCA Kids, and collaborations and projects under the rubric UCCA Lab. Opened in 2007 and revived by a committed group of Chinese and international patrons in 2017, UCCA works to bring China into global dialogue through contemporary art.


No. 4 Road, 798 Art Zone, Chaoyang District, Beijing


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Meditations in an Emergency

21.5-30.8.2020


The world is undergoing, separately, the first global moment of the twenty-first century. Amidst a pandemic that has brought commerce and culture to a halt, and against the backdrop of renewed mortality, heightened tension, and amorphous suspension, we wonder: What is art for? 


“Meditations in an Emergency” understands implicitly that it will be seen by people wearing masks, standing two meters apart from one another. People whose temperatures have just been measured and do not exceed 37.2 degrees centigrade. People whose data trails can verify that they have been in Beijing for the last fourteen days. (Have we ever been able to assume so much about our visitors?) It grows, in the wake of other plans now discarded or postponed, from the uncertainty—epidemiological, economic, organizational—that has become our shared predicament. Working from the precepts of the world we now inhabit, it unfolds in five sections and asks questions about the everyday, about mortality, about animality, about globalization, about information.


The exhibition brings together more than twenty artists from China and elsewhere, and includes works made in the past fifteen years. It takes its name from the title of an anthology by Frank O’Hara (1926-1966), the American poet better known during his short lifetime as a curator at the Museum of Modern Art. “In times of crisis,” he declares in one of the featured poems, “we must all decide again and again whom we love.” 


“Meditations in an Emergency” is curated by the UCCA exhibitions team: Guo Xi, Luan Shixuan, Ara Qiu, Rocky Lin, Duffy Du, and Neil Zhang.