Interview with Collector, Curator and Art Advisor Claudia Cheng.

 

She has curated exhibitions for galleries internationally, and has recently curated a collection as well as a benefit auction for Artsy.

 

She currently serves as a young patron of The Serpentine Galleries’ Future Contemporaries. She has published artist interviews and curated exhibitions focused on women in order to bring female artists’ narratives to the forefront of the historically male-dominated industry.

 

She began her art career at Christie’s, and she received her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Stanford University.

  • What are you working on at the moment?

    I have recently curated the exhibition ‘Through the Prism’ for Gillian Jason Gallery. Bringing together artists spanning East to West of the globe—Cecily Brown, Jade Ching-Yuk Ng, Sougwen Chung, Tracey Emin, Sunyoung Hwang, Eleanor Johnson, Mizuki Nishiyama, and Faye Wei Wei—the show weaves together artwork that explores mixed heritages and celebrates dimensional identity. Using the prism as a metaphor, I would like to shed light on the prismatic quality of identity, and counter society’s focus on assigning fixed labels to our existence. 

     

    What would you change about the art world if you could?

    I hope to work towards a more balanced and equitable art market. For centuries, art history has been dominated by men: male dealers promoted male artists who painted female bodies from a male gaze. It’s so empowering to see women artists reclaim their place in the art historical discourse in recent years, but there’s still a big gap to be filled. According to Artnet, work by women artists comprise less than four percent of global art auction sales, and their artwork only accounts for less than five percent of major museums’ permanent collections. It’s essential to continue to support women artists and bring their narratives to the forefront. There are so many experiences that can only be told from a woman’s perspective: the emotional journeys of growing into our bodies, shedding in cycles, giving birth, being a mother, being a daughter. The unique power of art is its ability to create a space in which the viewer can contemplate the work in relation to his or her own experience. Championing artists of various backgrounds allows us to understand and celebrate all the different perspectives out there.

     

    If you could have a meal with any artist from any time, who would it be, what would you eat and why?

    I would love to spend a day in nature with Georgia O’Keeffe. I imagine we’d go hiking and then sit below a ponderosa pine tree, eat her homemade bread and drink fresh juice made from the fruits and vegetables from her garden. 

     

    Who are some artists who are on your radar at the moment?

    Too many come to mind, so I’ll focus on the artists whose art I’ve experienced this week. I’ve just visited the studios of Anna Woodward, Grace Mattingly and Emma Stone-Johnson, and really enjoyed learning more about their unique practices. I was also particularly excited to include Faye Wei Wei, Mizuki Nishiyama, and Jade Ching-yuk Ng in Through the Prism, as we all have roots in Hong Kong. I’m so proud to see how the global art market is responding to their beautiful work, and am excited to continue to watch them blossom.

     

  • I would love to spend a day in nature with Georgia O’Keeffe. I imagine we’d go hiking and then sit...

    I would love to spend a day in nature with Georgia O’Keeffe. I imagine we’d go hiking and then sit below a ponderosa pine tree, eat her homemade bread and drink fresh juice made from the fruits and vegetables from her garden. 

     

  • Have you found your life being lived across both Hong Kong, London and New York has influenced your practice and eye? How do the art scenes differ (if at all)?

    Living in three continents has taught me to be more adaptable and open-minded. I really enjoy connecting with people of different cultures, and I’m always open to learning about art or perspectives that I’m not familiar with.

     

    Art is a language without borders, so there are definitely more similarities than differences amongst the art scenes of Hong Kong, New York, and London. Having said that, there are certainly nuances and things I like about each of them. 

     

    New York’s art scene is always buzzing—from exciting institutional shows to auction records flooding the headlines. What I love about the London art scene is its continuous dialogue between the past and the present–aside from its wonderful museums, it also has an incredibly dynamic and collaborative community built around supporting emerging artists. I love that Hong Kong is the gateway between the East and the West, so its galleries, art fairs, and private collections often juxtapose artwork from both cultures. A painting by Zao Wou-Ki might hang alongside George Mathieu’s work, next to a beautiful conversation between Joan Mitchell and Myonghi Kang. I love seeing how one culture flows into another.

     

    Have you always been fascinated by art? What was your earliest memory surrounding art?

    My passion for art started at a very young age. My mum is a painter, and she nurtured my love for art by bringing me to museums and art foundations as a kid. 

     

    The earliest memory I have of art is from when I was around five. My mum brought me to Musée d’Orsay, and when I saw Renoir’s ‘Two Girls Reading’ (1890), I asked if I could have it as my wedding gift when I grew up. This fond memory still makes us laugh.

     

    What is your favourite quote?

    Listen—I want to run all my life, screaming at the top of my lungs. Let all of life be an unfettered howl. Like the crowd greeting the gladiator. Don’t stop to think, don’t interrupt the scream, exhale, release life’s rapture. Everything is blooming. Everything is flying. Everything is screaming, choking on its screams. Laughter. Running. Let-down hair. That is all there is to life. – Vladimir Nabokov 

     

    What was the first work you collected?

    The first work I bought was a signed limited edition print by France-Lise McGurn. She’s one of my favourite contemporary artists and it still brings me so much joy to live with the work every day. 

     

    What has been your experience of the art world so far?

    I honestly love what I do so much that it hardly feels like a job. I’m very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with so many like-minded souls, and feel especially inspired and supported by the community of women in the industry.