Conversations with Art Writers

Platforms: WeChat Official Account “HEICHIMAGAZINE” / Ximalaya

Speakers: Jia Li, Yang Zi, Hu Hao, Alan Longino, Chang Yuchen, Fan Wu (the list will be updated continuously)

Host: Chen Yujian/Gu Qianfan

Art writers have been absorbed into the art market, and their words printed on various surfaces in art settings actively and passively serve as sources of guidance and connoisseurship. These words lead readers toward artworks and exhibitions, but not the writers themselves. Now, how should we think about this group of interpreters? These conversations provide a window into the people half-hidden behind these beautiful words. This podcast does not deal in trade secrets or prescriptions, but it will illuminate how people “cooking” with words cut the wood, wash the pot, light the fire, and make a dish.

Now that social distancing has become normal, we hope that these writers’ voices will convey a long-lost sense of closeness. Working to cast off the auras created by the artists, we sincerely interrogate the practice of art writing. We want to ask questions and inspire discussion, instead of offering solid answers or a guide to success.

This project is hosted by Chen Yujian, he is the Assistant Curator at Macalline Art Center and Assistant Editor at Heichi Magazine.

Art Writer Interview #5: Chang Yuchen & Fan Wu

Art Writer Interview #4: Alan Longino

Art Writer Interview #3: Hu Hao

Art Writer Interview #2: Yang Zi

Art Writer Interview #1: Li Jia


Chang Yuchen is currently based in New York. She works in an interdisciplinary manner – writing as weaving, drawing as translation, teaching as hospitality and commerce as everyday revolution (see Use Value). By constantly entering and exiting each medium, she strolls against the category of things, the labor division among people.

Fan Wu is currently represented best by this line from Robert Gluck's Margery Kempe: "a writer whose entire faith was in writing, as though telling a story perfectly were the same as obtaining forgiveness for existing." Yet that is not entirely true: Fan is splaying outward from an over-reliance in language, toward the joys of collectivity (long-duration workshops between half-strangers) and performance (experience intentionally set on stage). He lives and works in and away from Toronto.

Alan Longino is an art historian and curator investigating postwar Japanese conceptual art and global contemporary art. Currently, he is a student in the Art History Ph.D. program at the University of Chicago. In 2019, he co-curated the exhibition Yutaka Matsuzawa at Yale Union, Portland, OR, the artist’s first solo exhibition in the United States. His writing has appeared in Artforum and the Haunt Journal of Art from UC Irvine. 

Hu Hao (b.1990) is a curator and art critic, currently working as a researcher at the Taikang Space in Beijing. He obtained his MA in Philosophy (2017) and BA in Philosophy (2013) from Renmin University of China.

Hu's essays are widely published in the press including Artforum China, ARTSHARD, Art Collection, Jiazazhi, Pour Marx, Literary and Art Criticism, Dandureading, Beijing News Book Review, Wenhui Daily, and shortlisted twice by the International Awards for Art Criticism(IAAC). He was nominated by the Robert H.N.Ho Family Foundation Greater China Research Grant: Research Group(2017), and guest-spoke at 180 Years of Photography in China: the International Academic Discussion Forum(2019). Hu's recent curatorial practice includes Card Players(Lianzhou Foto Festival, 2018), Metamorphosis: Art Practices Now Activating Archives and Public Memories(OCAT Institute, 2018), Border Resonance(Geothe-Institut Beijing, 2018), and The Isolated and the Destroyed(Taikang Space, 2020).

Yang Zi is an independent curator. In 2020, he was awarded the first Sigg Fellowship for Chinese Art Research; he was the jury member of 2020 Gallery Weekend Beijing; in 2019 he served as one of the primary judges of Huayu Youth Award; he was a finalist for the 2017 Hyundai Blue Prize.

He was the curator and the head of Public Programs in UCCA.he was the executive eidtor on series of UCCA catalogues for artists such as Wang Yin, Liu Wei, Xu Zhen, and Zeng Fanzhi, and curated numerous exhibitions and public programs, including “The New Normal: Art and China in 2017”, “Pity Party”, “Land of the Lustrous”, “In Younger Days”,“Golden Flow”,and other projects, as well as solo exhibitions by artists such as Zhao Bandi, Xie Nanxing, Bu Di, Wu Chen, Wu Wei, Yang Luzi, Yu Honglei, and Zhu Changquan.

Yang Zi has nearly ten years of experience in art critic writing and curation. In 2011, he served as editor of LEAP, and wrote extensively for a range of publications such as LEAP, Artforum China and the Art Newspaper China. He received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy and religious studies from Nanjing University.

Jia Li is an independent curator and author based in Beijing. She graduated from Peking University with a double major in Law and in Economics in 2005, and received a M.A in Art History from the same university in 2008. She worked as an associate director at Pace Beijing from 2012 to 2015, and then was the senior curator at Taikang Space, a non-profit art institution in Beijing, from 2015 to 2020. She has curated/organized dozens of individual programs and group exhibitions, including A Geography of Resistance (2019-2020), Other Lives of the Alternative Spaces (2019), Genders Engender (2018), Precariousness (2018), Light Pavilion Series (12 consecutive shows, 2016-2018) among others. She was awarded the first Hyundai Blue Prize (Creativity) for achievement in curatorial practice in 2017. Li is a regular contributor to Artforum, Leap and Randian. Her articles were also published in ArtAsiaPacific, Flash Art, Yishu, etc.

The Macalline Center of Art (MACA) is a non-profit art institution located in the 798 Art District of Beijing and officially inaugurated its space on January 15, 2022. Occupying a two-story building with a total area of 900 square meters, MACA unites artists, curators, and other art and cultural practitioners from around the world. Through its diverse, ongoing, and collaborative approaches, the Center establishes a new site on the contemporary art scene. Guided by the “work of artists” and backed by interdisciplinary research, the Center aims to bring together a community passionate about art and devoted to the “contemporary” moment so as to respond proactively to our rapidly evolving times.