UCCA Beijing

Panel Discussion: What Does an Award Mean to an Art Institution?


Location:  Workshop
Language:  Chinese with simultaneous English translation

On the 20th anniversary of the Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA), M+, the West Kowloon Cultural District, and CCAA will host a panel discussion titled “What Does an Award Mean to an Art Institution?” at UCCA. Speakers include: Director of Tate Maria Balshaw; Director of the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou Bernard Blistène; Director of the Power Station of Art Gong Yan; Taiwan-based curator Hsiangling Lai; Executive Director of M+ Suhanya Raffel, and Beijing-based artist Xu Bing.M+ and CCAA will also make an important announcement during the event.

An increasing number of prizes are available to support contemporary artists, and number of prominent international art institutions have begun to offer their own prizes to artists. Notable awards include the Turner Prize by Tate, the Marcel Duchamp Prize by the Musée national d’art modern, and the Emerging Curators Project by the Power Station of Art. These awards have had a significant impact on both the public and the art world. In response, some have countered that the creation of art is personal and subjective, making it impossible to judge a piece as being good or bad, and difficult for a panel to reach a consensus on which artist should win an award. The panel of judges for CCAA 2018, along with previous recipients of the prize, are invited to share with the audience their own stories about granting and receiving art awards. Their discussion will seek to answer the two questions, “Is it possible to give a contemporary art award?” and “What is the significance of art institutions and the art world?”



*This event has a limited number of seats available to the public, please call UCCA to reserve a place.


Maria Balshaw (Director of Tate)

Maria Balshaw is Director of Tate, a position she has held since 2017. She oversees Tate’s strategic direction and its operations, working with a team to further the institution’s mission to promote public understanding and enjoyment of British art, and of twentieth-century and contemporary art. She is also the Accounting Officer, appointed by the British government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Previously, as Director of the Whitworth at the University of Manchester, and Manchester City Galleries, she was responsible for the artistic and strategic vision for each gallery. During this period, she oversaw the transformation of the Whitworth, which subsequently received the Art Fund Museum of the Year award in 2015. As Director of Culture for Manchester City Council from 2013 through 2017, she played a leading role in establishing the city as a major cultural center, including the development of a new arts venue, the Factory, as the site for Manchester International Festival from 2020.

She is a Board Member of the Clore Leadership Programme and the Manchester International Festival, and was a Board Member of Arts Council England until March 2018. In 2015, in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, she was awarded a CBE for services to the arts.

Bernard Blistène (Director of the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou)

In December 2013, Bernard Blistène was appointed Director of the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou. He served as curator at the Centre Pompidou from 1984 to 1990 and Director of Musées de Marseille from 1990 to 1996.

Following a period during which he oversaw many exhibitions in the United States, he was named Inspector General of Artistic Creation in 2000 and Director of the Département du développement culturel du Centre Pompidou in 2008, where he created Un nouveau festival, a new multidisciplinary rendezvous for contemporary art. He is currently supervising the renovation and expansion of the modern and contemporary collections at the Centre Pompidou. The author of books on Andy Warhol, Daniel Buren, and Enrico Castellani, and of A History of Twentieth-Century Art, he has organized over one hundred monographic and thematic exhibitions. He has been a Professor of Contemporary Art at the École du Louvre for the last twenty years.

Gong Yan (Director of the Power Station of Art)

Gong Yan is Director of the Power Station of Art, a position she has held since 2013. She is also Chief Editor of Art Worldmagazine. After graduating from the École nationale supérieure des beaux-arts in Paris, she established O Art Center at the Shanghai Institute of Visual Arts in 2005, as a hub for research on new media art and the city, and a platform for young artists and curators. In 2007, she was invited to join the jury of Ars Electronica, in Linz. Recent exhibitions she has curated or co-curated include Ordinary Architecture, the Chinese Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale, in 2008; Decorum: Carpets and Tapestries by Artists (2014); Shinohara Kazuo (2014); Anticlimax Poetry: Sakamoto’s Architecture (2015); Mobile Architecture: Yona Friedman (2015); Snacks (2016); Toyo Ito: On the Stream (2017); Li Shan (2017); and Yu Youhan(2017).

Hsiangling Lai (Curator (Taiwan))

Hsiangling Lai is the Director of Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab, and a curator, critic, and art consultant. Trained in art history and museum studies, she was the recipient of a joint research fellowship from the National Culture and Arts Foundation in Taiwan and the Fulbright Foundation in the United States.

Formerly a curator at National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts and the Taipei Fine Arts Museum, she has more than three decades of experience in curatorial practice and museum management. She was the Founding Director of the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, and the Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei. Between 2012 and 2017, she served as an independent curator and art consultant, engaging in the planning and operation of several contemporary art museums. She was also a member of the advisory committee of the Rockbund Art Museum and the Power Station of Art in Shanghai. She is currently a member of the advisory committee member of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum and the Kaohsiung Fine Arts Museum. She also serves on the Board of Spring Foundation and the Dimension Endowment of Art in Taiwan. She is an Adjunct Professor at National Taiwan Normal University.

Suhanya Raffel (Executive Director of M+)

Suhanya Raffel was appointed the Executive Director of M+ in November 2016. Previously, she was Deputy Director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney. Before that, she worked at the Queensland Art Gallery / Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, where she held many senior curatorial positions, including Acting Director and Deputy Director of Curatorial. At the Queensland Art Gallery she was instrumental in building its contemporary Asia Pacific collection and led its Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (2002–2012). She is a trustee of the Geoffrey Bawa Trust and the Lunuganga Trust in Sri Lanka, and a member of the Board of the International Committee for Museums and Collections of Modern Art (CIMAM).

Xu Bing (Artist (Beijing))

Xu Bing was born in Chongqing in 1955. In 1977, he enrolled in the Printmaking Department of the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (CAFA), where he completed his bachelor’s degree in 1981 and stayed on as an instructor. In 1990, at the invitation of the University of Wisconsin–Madison, he moved to the United States. Since 2007, he has been living and working in Beijing and New York.

In 1999, he was the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, in recognition of his “capacity to contribute importantly to society, particularly in printmaking and calligraphy.” In 2003, he was awarded the Fukuoka Prize, and in 2004, the first Artes Mundi Prize. In 2006, the Southern Graphics Council awarded him their Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also awarded a Doctorate of Humane Letters by Columbia University in 2010. In 2015, he received the Medal of Arts from the United States Department of State.


Chinese Contemporary Art Award (CCAA)

The CCAA was founded in 1997 by Uli Sigg, a leading collector of Chinese contemporary art, and has been chaired by Liu Li Anna since 2011. Established as an independent non-profit entity, the CCAA recognizes outstanding Chinese artists and art critics.

Awarded every two years, the CCAA is an important presence in the Chinese art world; winners gain significant international recognition. In addition to the Best Artist Award, the CCAA introduced the Best Young Artist Award in 2002 and the Contribution Award for lifetime achievement in 2004. Former CCAA winners include Gu Dexin, Huang Yongping, Ai Weiwei, Zhang Peili, Geng Jianyi, Song Dong, and Xu Bing for the Contribution Award; Zhou Tiehai, Xiao Yu, Yan Lei, Xu Zhen, Zheng Guogu, Liu Wei, Duan Jianyu, Pak Sheung Chuen, Kan Xuan, and Cao Fei for Best Artist; and Sun Yuan and Peng Yu, Song Tao, Cao Fei, Tseng Yu-Chin, Sun Xun, Yan Xing, Ni Youyu, and He Xiangyu for Best Young Artist.

The CCAA Art Critic Award was established in 2007. Past recipients of the award include Pauline J. Yao, Wang Chunchen, Zhu Zhu, Dong Bingfen, Yu Miao, and Lu Mingjun.


M+ is a museum dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, and interpreting visual art, design and architecture, moving image, and Hong Kong visual culture of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. In Hong Kong’s West Kowloon Cultural District, M+ is building one of the largest museums of modern and contemporary visual culture in the world, poised to become one of the world’s leading cultural institutions. M+’s aim is to create a new kind of museum that reflects its unique time and place, a museum that builds on Hong Kong’s historic balance of the local and the international to define a distinctive and innovative voice for Asia’s twenty-first century.