Yang Hu is a proficient art curator who works with established artists around the world. Her strong eye for talent and broad experience have led her to curate major art exhibitions in China. She played a crucial role in the field of contemporary art throughout her career. The first great inspiration for her curatorial approach came from her father, who loves art. When visiting art exhibitions, she observed the immense absence of female artists. Yang believes that female artists should be more active in this field. Her dedication and passion have helped countless groundbreaking and marginalized artists to find their true colors.
Can you tell us about your background and how you ended up working as an art curator?
I got my master’s degree from NYU Tisch School of Art. My first job was working as a curator at China International Entertainment and Art Group. I curated major art exhibitions in several different museums in China, working with established artists from all over the world. As I grew up, my father loved art. I am influenced by him.
What does your work entail?
To me, my work entails educating audiences and helping audiences to understand cultures from different backgrounds. There might be less conflicts in the world when people understand other cultures deeply.
When my mind is free, I think of ideas for exhibitions. Then I research and interview artists to select the best artworks that will be shown in exhibitions. Moreover, I have to take care of writing, conceptualizing, transport, and installation of artworks. As an art curator, I also have to ensure the safety of artworks.
I have to work in different museums, art galleries, historic sites, and libraries. Therefore, I have to travel between countries and curate exhibitions.
How do you collaborate with other curators and artists to develop exhibitions?
I think good communication is always important when I collaborate with other curators and artists. I always work with curators and artists from different cultural backgrounds. Respecting each other and being a good listener are helpful for the conversation. I work with both established and emerging curators and artists around the world. Collaboration is an essential skill that helps me to organize events successfully. Building good relationships with artists and curators make our work easy. I always love meeting new artists and curators, following their work, and listening to their ideas. It helps me to acquire extensive knowledge and insight.
The latest exhibition was at the GUYU Art Festival. The theme is “The Closest Distance.” In April this year, we had the VR exhibition while we were still in the pandemic. Therefore, many artists who live all over the world couldn’t travel with their artworks to the art gallery in China. We developed an app in which audiences can watch the VR exhibition by downloading the app from the APPLE Store. In August, we had a successful opening at the gallery in China. Many artworks we selected for the art festival were sold. The exhibition has been published in many major media.
What is the most challenging thing about what you do?
In order to work with artists and other curators from all over the world, I have to work in different time zones. I live in New York. Sometimes I work with people in Asia, where there is a 12-hour difference. I need to coordinate my time schedule and work with people in the middle of the night in New York. Sometimes I need to wake up at 5 am to have meetings with people in Europe.
What have been your most challenging and rewarding exhibitions throughout your career?
I would say it is the Latin American Art Exhibition in China. That was a group of established artists from Latin America. The exhibition involved almost a hundred pieces that needed to be shipped from different countries in Latin America to China at a well-known museum. It was a stressful time. However, the show was very successful at the end of the day.
What do you like and dislike about what you do?
I like working with people from a variety of backgrounds so that I can learn about different cultures.
Also, I get the chance to work on exotic and historic projects, which are very interesting. They are great for learning and gaining new perspectives.
What I don’t like is the hectic lifestyle tied to my career.
My work is too busy, and I have to travel a lot. Exhibitions are not limited to one city or country. So, I have to travel to many countries, which is tiresome. I wish I had more time to spend with my family.
What advice would you offer someone considering this career?
A good educational background is often required for this career. You need at least a master’s degree to find a job. Make good connections with people who have been in this field and are established. Have an open mind to accept the differences between cultures and human beings and keep learning new things. Attend as many meetings as possible and learn from them. Talk with people and get their opinions. Figure out your style and make yourself visible. And finally, I would like to say, believe in yourself and never give up.
What are your goals/dreams for the future?
I would like to curate more art exhibitions featuring with female artists. I have been paying attention to this topic for a while. Women artists have not been on stage for a long time. In recent years, more curators have noticed that. I would like to curate an exhibition about this topic for my next exhibition.