UCCA is China’s leading independent institution of contemporary art. Founded in 2007 out of a commitment to bring Chinese contemporary art into global dialogue, it has since become a cultural landmark for Beijing, a conduit for international exchange, and an incubator for new talent. Located at the heart of the 798 Art District, it welcomes more than one million visitors a year. Originally known as the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, UCCA underwent a major restructuring in 2017 and now operates as the UCCA Group, comprising two distinct entities: UCCA Foundation, a registered non-profit that organizes exhibitions and research, stages public programs, and undertakes community outreach; and UCCA Enterprises, a family of art-driven retail and educational ventures. UCCA’s work grows from its core belief that new art can change lives, broaden perspectives, and enrich the conversation between China and the world.
UCCA’s exhibition program is the most active in China, and among the most ambitious anywhere in the world. Most exhibitions at UCCA seek to make the scope of a particular artist’s vision clear to a largely Chinese audience that may be encountering it for the first time, whether the artist is an internationally recognized figure or an emerging local talent. From time to time, UCCA also organizes group surveys and archival exhibitions, which explore artistic trends, histories, and generations. Exhibitions of different sizes overlap, allowing a visitor to discover several different things at the same time. They follow on each other, building a narrative about contemporary art and culture for a global Beijing context.
Since its opening in 2007 till now, UCCA has presented more than a hundred exhibitions and attracted more than 4 million visitors. Beginning its curatorial program with “85 New Wave: The Birth of Chinese Contemporary Art”, UCCA has continued to make real contributions to the field of art historical research through the large-scale group shows “Breaking Forecast: 8 Key Figures of China’s New Generation Artists” (2009), “ON | OFF: China’s Young Artists in Concept and Practice” (2013), and “Hans van Dijk: 5000 Names” (2014); while the solo exhibitions “Liu Xiaodong: Hometown Boy” (2010), “Wang Jianwei: Yellow Signal” (2011), “Gu Dexin: The Important Thing Is Not The Meat” (2012), “Wang Xingwei” (2013), “Xu Zhen: a MadeIn Company Production” (2014), and “Liu Wei: Colors” (2015) are also considered critical to the discourse of contemporary Chinese art.
Acting as a catalyst in the development of contemporary culture within China, UCCA has also presented the international surveys “Inside A Book A House of Gold: Artists’ Editions for Parkett” (2012), “Indian Highway” (2012), “DUCHAMP and/or/in CHINA” (2013), and “The Los Angeles Project” (2014), bringing to light the latest in global art trends.
UCCA has also served as a platform for the works of Olafur Eliasson, Tino Sehgal, Tatsuo Miyajima, Taryn Simon, and Sterling Ruby, introducing China to these significant figures in contemporary art.
UCCA organizes a wide range of programs and initiatives that aim to enrich and diversify visitor experience and improve public access to art. Events including lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, performances, workshops, festivals, and community initiatives allow the museum to function as an open classroom for the greater public, as well as further dialogue and exchange in the contemporary art world.
Founded in 2007, UCCA Store has become an important platform for dialogue in the contemporary design industry, an incubator for emerging local brands, and a champion for a modern, urban lifestyle. With a built-in bookstore and art space, it carries chic, handpicked design products from around the world, offering the best in limited edition artworks, original designs, brand collaborations, furnishings, collectible books, and exhibition-related merchandise. By upholding the highest aesthetic, commercial, design, and service standards, it aims to become a leader in the art and lifestyle retail space.
The architectural regeneration in 2018 will significantly expand UCCA Store’s floor area, adding a cafe where design products and books can be enjoyed in an artistic setting. UCCA Store is also focused on developing a new range of accessible products in conjunction with the exhibition program, and on significantly expanding its digital footprint on platforms including TMall and WeChat.
UCCA Education is mainland China’s only independently developed, museum-based education program for children 2-8, promoting their self-discovery and self-development through artistic immersion, and taking advantage of UCCA’s excellent location and extensive resources and teaching professionals.
Spread over three factory chambers built in the early 1950s to Bauhaus-influenced designs, UCCA’s spaces maintain traces of their industrial past. Fully renovated by architects Jean-Michel Wilmotte and Qingyun Ma in 2007, it is a space capable of hosting international exhibitions of the highest caliber. With a total area of 8,000 square meters, it encompasses four main exhibition spaces including the signature Great Hall, the Central Gallery, the Nave, and the Long Gallery, all of which boast professional lighting and climate and humidity control and support exhibitions of the highest caliber.