Zhang Zikang at the Ceremony

On the morning of May 26, 2017, the appointment ceremony of the Director of CAFA Art Museum was held in the VIP room of CAFA Art Museum. Su Xinping,Vice President of CAFA Art Museum, Xu Juan, Minister of the Organizing Department, Jin Rilong, Director of Personnel Division, former Director of CAFA Art Museum Wang Huangsheng, and New Director Zhang Zikang, as well as the staff of CAFA Art Museum attended the ceremony.

At the meeting, Ms. Xu Juan, Minister of the Organizing Department was entrusted by the Party Committee of CAFA to read the No. 83 File (2017) issued by CAFA – “Notice is given that Zhang Zikang is appointed as the Director of CAFA Art Museum”: To All Faculties (Departments and Institutes), each department, division, office, hall, center, and the High School Affiliated to CAFA, after consideration by the standing committee of CAFA’s party committee, it has been decided that comrade Zhang Zikang is to be appointed as the director of the CAFA Art Museum. It means that Zhang Zikang officially enters CAFA Art Museum and takes over as the director.

After Wang Huangsheng, former Director of CAFA Art Museum was interviewed by CAFA ART INFO, Zhang Zikang was interviewed and talked about the idea of the development of CAFA Art Museum in the future.

CAFA ART INFO: As everyone knows, you were appointed as the director of the first private art museum in China from 2004 to 2012 – Director of the Today Art Museum; after leaving the Today Art Museum, you was appointed as Deputy Director of the National Art Museum of China, CAFA Art Museum is an art museum at the academy, what are the differences among these three different types of art museums in regards to working conditions and operating modes? Can your previous different experiences be used as reference for the management of the CAFA Art Museum?     

Zhang Zikang: The development of the National Art Museum of China is closely centered on the overall cultural strategy of the state, open broadly to the public, focusing on the social value of art, following the rules within the system to carry out operations and management; Today Art Museum is a private art museum, so the mechanism is more flexible, based on the professional positioning of the art museum itself, the academic research, exhibition & display and collections that focus on more specific areas; CAFA Art Museum is an art museum at the academy, after years of development, it has gradually become the leader of the art museums at universities in China. This positioning first makes one think of the overall development perspective of CAFA, as well as the relationship between the academy and society, thinking of the important tasks of the academic research and personnel training.

Two decades of working experience will inevitably play a role in the management work of CAFA Art Museum in the future when I take over it, but at the same time, my previous experience is only auxiliary, while it is a new job and challenge for me, I will do my best to run, explore and innovate.

CAFA ART INFO: CAFA Art Museum is an art museum within the academy system, which gathers contemporary intellectuals, what do you consider are its academic ideals and cultural attitudes?

Zhang Zikang: CAFA gathers a large number of outstanding, cutting-edge scholars, artists and talent in art management, and constantly cultivates batch after batch of future-oriented talent which is an unique condition of the CAFA Art Museum. As an art museum at the academy, it is a platform that connects the academy and academies, academy and society, promoting forefront academic exchanges at home and abroad. The art museum gives full play to their academic research, international exchanges and the great potential to create new value which can form a synergistic effect with the development of the school. In the future, I hope to continue to build such a platform, gathering the power of everyone, to introduce unique and creative art, to discover an unique and creative artist, and promote social aesthetic progress, improving the quality of the humanities.

CAFA ART INFO: Will you be involved in a certain amount of teaching after you are appointed as Director of CAFA Art Museum? Do you hope to do this? How do you share your many years of experience and research on the operation of art museums with students?

Zhang Zikang: I personally hope to take some teaching tasks, which shows my sense of responsibility, hoping to share my experiences and thinking with more people, especially the young students. In the methods of sharing, I might involve an in-depth combination of theory and practice, for example, sharing classic cases with students, providing them with practical opportunities and platforms, to help them think and sum up, to fully mobilize the enthusiasm of students to organically combine theoretical knowledge and practice.

CAFA ART INFO: CAFA Art Museum itself has always had a collection system to continue contemporary art, which has not yet been finished and the former director of the art museum Wang Huangsheng regrets it has not been fully developed. Do you have an idea of how to continue this collection system? How will you continue it?

Zhang Zikang: In fact, Wang Huangsheng has done a lot of work in terms of construction of the collection system of the art museum. I am also very grateful to Wang for what he has done and his achievements which have largely offered a foundation and passage to my future work. In the future, I will continue the construction of the collection system of contemporary art, and through the collection of contemporary art connect with the traditional and modern, thus pointing to the future.

CAFA ART INFO: For the future development of the CAFA Art Museum, do you have any preliminary direction or plan?

Zhang Zikang: First of all, I think the CAFA Art Museum has been at a high level of development which is with thanks to the assistance of the established academic background of CAFA and the efforts of the leaders of the academy, managers and workers of the art museum, as well as the support of the social resources. First of all, I want to successfully take over the position and finish all aspects of daily work, based on which I will continue to improve the academic system and collection system. At the same time, further strengthen the professionalism of the hardware and software of the art museum which might involve multiple aspects in many details. Now, the state strongly advocates innovation, how to achieve academic innovation, innovation of value, turning itself to an important window and platform that leads to the academic development, are all problems for CAFA Art Museum to consider. I hope that I can make breakthroughs and innovation in these areas.

About Zhang Zikang

Born in Hebei in 1964, Zhang Zikang is a famous artist, curator, publisher and an expert in operating the management of art museums. He once served as Deputy Director of the National Art Museum of China, Deputy Director of the Department of Cultural Affairs in Uygur Autonomous Region, Xingjiang, Director of the Culture and Arts Publishing House, Director of the Center for Chinese Art Research and Promotion at the Chinese National Academy of Arts, Director of the Center for the Studies on Art Information at the China National Academy of Painting, Deputy Dean of the Institute of Contemporary Art at Chinese National Academy of Arts, Director of Today Art Museum, Director of “Oriental Art” & “Today Art” magazines, Director of Beijing Feng Ya Song Art Center at Hebei Education Publishing House. He is also the deputy director of the professional committee of the national art museums and the deputy director of the Experimental Art Committee at the China Artists Association.

Over the years, Zhang Zikang has always been active in the museum community, and in particular, he has made outstanding achievements during the period when he took over as director of the Today Art Museum for 8 years, he launched a series of important contemporary art exhibitions and was known as “The Pioneer of Private Museums” when it was being transferred to the Department of Cultural Affairs in the Uygur Autonomous Region, Xingjiang, he had contributed to the establishment of the two Biennales of Xinjiang, and has spared no effort in promoting the construction of the museum, trying to enhance the local regional art and establish the role of Xinjiang as an Eurasian academic center.

Zhang Zikang is also an important publisher in China, since 1996 he has directed & planned, edited & published more than a thousand articles of literature and art books with a variety of forms, he has won several national book awards; directed and planned many influential large-scale art exhibitions at home and abroad; publications include “Art Museum” (co-authored), “Culture Made a City” (co-authored) and “Cross-Border Survival” (monograph), and published more than 100 articles related to art theories; his paintings were on show at many important academic exhibitions at home and abroad.

Courtesy of Zhang Zikang and CAFA ART INFO, translated by Chen Peihua and edited by Sue/CAFA ART INFO

Photo by Hu Sichen/CAFA ART INFO

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