Night School: Hu Fang, Zhang Wei & Xu Tan

Night School: Hu Fang, Zhang Wei & Xu Tan

New Museum

Benji Okuda instructing a life drawing class, an adult night school group at the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Image courtesy of the National Archives, Records of the War Relocation Authority, 1941-1947.

June 16, 2008

Night School: Public Seminar 6
Hu Fang, Zhang Wei & Xu Tan

Space within space within space /
Things to do while you’re alive /
Keywords School

June 19th – 21st, 2008

235 Bowery
New York, NY 10002

Night School is an artist’s project by Anton Vidokle in the form of a temporary school. A yearlong program of monthly seminars and workshops, Night School draws upon a group of local and international artists, writers, and theorists to conceptualize and conduct the program.

Thursday June 19th, 7:30PM
Space within space within space

Vitamin Creative Space functions as an alternative working model specifically geared to the contemporary Chinese context. In order to operate independently from institutionalized funding, it is active both as an “independent” art space and as a “commercial” gallery. Vitamin Creative Space is actively challenging preconceptions by merging these two models, which traditionally are opposed strategies for supporting and presenting contemporary art, and is developing new Chinese contributions through research into both: the artistic practice and institutional organization within the new global context.

The seminar will look at the recent practice of Vitamin to explore how it is not merely a physical space, but is an attempt to create a new model for development and distribution of artist’s new thinking on creativity.

Friday, June 20th, 7:30 PM
Things to do while you’re alive

Accompanied by a slide show of Hu Fang’s recent pictorial collection of adverts, signs, photos from the realm of public media, Hu Fang and Zhang Wei will spontaneously generate a narration of a “life journey” and spatial transformations, outlining global surroundings we are living in and how there can be a possibility of the space for the artistic view of life: a view which proposes an alternative way of transforming reality.

Saturday, June 21st, 3 PM
Keywords School

The “Searching for Keywords” project was initialled from a series of interviews of active people in the Chinese society or people in the active Chinese area. By analyzing the content of these conversations, artist Xu Tan identified certain “keywords,” terms which shed light on values and motivations of contemporary Chinese society. “Keywords” measure the pulse of the current social climate and present an insight into the collective social consciousness of China. “Keywords” looks at connections between the individual speakers, words and the mental tendencies of the society.

In this seminar, Zhang Wei and Hu Fang will invite Xu Tan to discuss his Keywords project and introduce the idea of opening a “Keywords School,” as well as his conceptual approach, method and the larger social landscape made visible by the Keywords – a landscape of “collective consciousness” which actually frames our daily process.

Zhang Wei is director and co-founder of Vitamin Creative Space established in 2002, an independent art initiative exploring an alternative working mode, specifically geared to the contemporary Chinese context. Lives and works in Guangzhou and Beijing.She graduated with a MA in Creative Curating at Goldsmiths University in London, and has organized numerous exhibitions internationally. She has contributed to numerous exhibition catalogues and international magazines including Parkett, and curated(co-curated) and organized the show inside and outside Vitamin Creative Space include “Sprout from White Nights”(Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, 2008), “Through Popular Expression” at the Singapore Biennial (2006),ect. Zhang Wei is particularly interested in the exploration of the unique contribution from Chinese context within the international contemporary scenes, through which people can be inspired to find the new entry into life.

Hu Fang is an author and co-founder of Vitamin Creative Space. Lives and works in Guangzhou and Beijing.As a novelist and writer, Hu has published a series of novels including Shopping Utopia, Sense Training: Theory and Practise, and A Spectator. His recent publication is a collection of fictional essays called New Arcades (Survival Club, Sensation Fair, and Shansui.) His writing has appeared in Chinese and international art/culture magazines since 1996. His curatorial practices are widely engaged in different situations within Chinese and international contexts, he is coordinating editor of documenta 12 magazines, link curator of Singapore Biennial 2006 and a “player” of Lyon Biennial 2007, as well as the member of the curatorial team of Yokohama Triennale 2008.

Xu Tan was born in Wuhan, Hubei Province in 1957 and currently lives in Shanghai and Guangzhou. In the early 1990s he joined the “Big Tail Elephant Group” in Guangzhou with Lin Yinlin, Chen Shaoxiong and Liang Juhui. The aim of this group is to develop critical strategies for negotiating the rapidly changing economic and cultural life in China. His work has been shown around the world including the P.S.1, Biennale di Venezia, Berlin Biennial, Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, Australia, Guangzhou Triennial, Taipei Biennial, De Appel in Amsterdam. Recent solo shows were held at the DAAD Gallery in Berlin, at the Vitamin Creative Space in Guangzhou, at BizArt is Shanghai.

All events are free with Museum admission but tickets are required. Tickets can be reserved online or at the Museum one week before the seminar’s start; a limited number of tickets will be available one hour before each event’s start. Tickets are limited, distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis, and must be collected prior to the event’s start time. Unclaimed tickets will be released promptly at the event’s start time. Please check individual events below for tickets and more information.

For tickets see

Night School is part of the Museum as Hub, which is made possible by the Third Millennium Foundation.

With additional generous support from the Metlife Foundation

Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and the New York State Council on the Arts.

Endowment support is provided by the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Skadden, Arps Education Programs Fund and the William Randolph Hearst Endowed Fund for Education Programs at the New Museum.

Generous support also provided by the Charlotte and Bill Ford Artist Talks Fund.

New Museum

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June 16, 2008

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