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The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) is designed to serve as a global art center in Beijing. It is a not-for-profit entity and it offers both exhibitions and other programs which are designed to help visitors understand the art culture of China. The center is also heavily involved with promoting the growth and development of art in China in order to revitalize the public’s interest in all things cultural.
UCCA was founded by Baron and Baroness Guy and Myriam Ullens de Schooten. They are considered to be two of the greatest patrons of the arts in the world as well as formidable collectors of art. The Baron retired in 2000 and now dedicates his life to charitable ventures including the Ullens Center.
The UCCA is based in three factory-chambers which show some Bauhaus architectural influences. They were recently renovated and offer just less than 10,000 square meters of international exhibition space. It’s one of the best kept and maintained exhibition spaces in the country.
Exhibitions at the Ullens Center are all non-permanent. They are designed to facilitate exposure to a specific style of art or indeed to a specific artist. Visitors are advised to familiarize themselves with the current program of exhibitions before making a trip to UCCA.
At the time of writing the UCCA is featuring Xu Zhen (A MadeIn Company Production) from Shanghai and his intelligent critique of consumerism. The exhibit consists of performance art, installations, videos, paintings and more.
Past exhibitions have included; Taryn Simon, Wang Keping, Tino Sehgal, Wang Xingwei, Teppei Kaneuji, Techning Hsieh, Duchamp, and China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice.
Future planned exhibitions include Art-Post Internet, Lee Mingwei, Pawel Althamer, and Broached Retreat.
UCCA is heavily involved in public education on the arts. The center provides more than 500 cultural programs each year. There are regular art talks, film screenings, performances, festivals and workshops which can be attended by visitors (though numbers may be limited depending on the popular demand for any program).
There is a store on the UCCA grounds. It offers the largest collection of limited editions of contemporary art in China. There are normally 40+ artists featured in these collections and many of the works have been uniquely commissioned for the store. You can also find a host of design work from many of China’s leading edge designers.
There is also an art books store on the premises where you can stock up on art materials galore. It’s worth noting that the vast majority of instructional texts are only available in Mandarin with only a very small selection of English language works available.