Para Site, a Hong Kong art space that has drawn widespread acclaim for its offbeat, boundary-pushing offerings, has named Billy Tang as its next director. Tang will replace Cosmin Costinas, who has led the space since 2011 and has helped it accrue the reputation is currently has today.
Costinas is leaving to join “a German institution” in mid-2022, Para Site said in its announcement. The news comes as Costinas undertakes two major projects being staged outside Hong Kong: the Kathmandu Triennial, which opened in Nepal earlier this month, and the Romanian Pavilion at the 2022 Venice Biennale, which will feature a new film installation by Adina Pintilie and which will open in April.
At Para Site, Costinas curated a range of exhibitions, including 2015’s “Great Crescent: Art and Agitation in the 1960s—Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan” and 2013’s “A Journal of the Plague Year,” which focused on fears of disease in Hong Kong and came to be seen as oddly prescient during the Covid pandemic. He also relocated Para Site, allowing it to expand both in scale and in influence. Many of the show staged under Costinas’s leadership traveled to international museums—a somewhat unusual distinction, given that Para Site is smaller than many of these institutions.
“Serving at Para Site has been the greatest honour,” Costinas said in a statement. “I will remain grateful to have been a witness to this incredible past decade in Hong Kong’s history, with its debates, cultural developments, and international exchanges.”
Tang is currently senior curator at Rockbund Art Museum, a private institution that became the first arts nonprofit in Shanghai in 2019. Though that museum’s exhibitions tend toward blue-chip artists with established markets and international fame, Tang has roots in artist-run spaces, having overseen Magician Space in Beijing between 2013 and 2018.
Referring to his own lineage as the son of Vietnamese parents in Hong Kong during the 1970s, Tang said in a statement, “I will start by focusing my energy on reimagining the institution’s ability to find common grounds between contemporary art and current philosophies, to forge a path between Hong Kong and the rest of the world, and to support and connect diverse practitioners through their ideas.”