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He Jianfeng - ARTnews Top 200
©HEM

He Jianfeng

Shunde, China

Diversified industrial investments (Infore Holding Group Co., Ltd)

Global contemporary art; Modern and contemporary Chinese art

Overview

At the beginning of 2020, He Jianfeng created a lot of buzz when he announced that he would open the He Art Museum in the Shunde district of Foshan, a city in China’s Guangdong province. The 172,000-square-foot private museum, located in the collector’s hometown, is designed by Pritzker Prize–winning architect Tadao Ando, and has at its helm Shao Shu, who serves as the institution’s founding director and previously led the curatorial team of another Chinese private museum, the Long Art Museum in China.

The focus of HEM is particular to its location, as it will highlight the local art scene, placing the Lingnan School, a 19th-century painting movement, and place it in conversation with international contemporary art. In an interview with ARTnews, Shao said, “The He Art Museum hopes that it can be different from other art museums in China, which are often less concerned with the country’s art and culture. The museum is seeking to change the local art ecology and provide local artists more opportunities and possibilities.”

The focus of the museum, in addition to staging exhibitions, is research, education, and creating scholarship about modern and contemporary Chinese art within a global context. “We want HEM to be part of the community, a resource that people feel that can take pride in and have their own sense of ownership. It is open for all and open to everyone’s individual interpretation,” Shao said.

The museum’s original March opening date was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic to October 2020. Collecting, He told ARTnews in August 2020, hasn’t been the first thing on his mind during the pandemic, however. “We have commissioned some artists for the museum, but some of these conversations changed in nature and scale due to the new world we live in.”

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