The UCCA Gala 2013

Lively celebration of UCCA’s sixth anniversary as a cultural hub in China raises RMB 2.4 million for future exhibitions and programs.

On November 21, 2013, the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art held The UCCA Gala and Benefit Auction 2013, with a diverse group of supporters coming together to commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Center’s founding. As the cultural environment in China steadily matures, UCCA endeavors to strengthen and expand its engagement with local and international arts communities. Thanks to the support of the Center’s many benefactors, the inaugural UCCA Benefit Auction, containing eleven lots by artists who have previously shown at UCCA, managed to raise RMB 1,560,000. In total, the evening raised RMB 2,400,000 for UCCA’s ongoing exhibitions and programs, making it the most successful museum fundraiser in mainland China to date. The landmark success of the UCCA Benefit Auction offers a new model for not-for-profit cultural institutions in China to expand their fundraising channels.

The UCCA Gala 2013 was generously supported by Lead Sponsor PYE, a luxury fashion brand belonging to Hong Kong’s Esquel Group. This year’s Gala encompassed two core components: the Gala Dinner and the Benefit Auction. Since UCCA’s inaugural Gala in 2012, each UCCA Gala has appointed a renowned contemporary artist to curate a program of live performances to accompany a menu designed by outstanding Beijing chefs and restaurants, offering guests an unparalleled cultural experience.

UCCA Director Philip Tinari observed, “The success of this year’s UCCA Gala and Benefit Auction is a testament to both the generosity of the Chinese art community and their belief in our mission to present contemporary art and culture to a broad public. We are grateful for and humbled by the support we now receive from our many partners and collaborators.”

PYE Managing Director and Chief Brand Officer Dee Poon attended the Gala as a representative of the Lead Sponsor PYE. The Gala also brought together guests from Artron Art Group, Sotheby’s, New Yijing Group, Sichuan Tomorrow Art  Management Co., Ltd., Dior, UCCA Creative Studio, Morgan Stanley, United Art Collection Corporation, Long March Space, Galleria Continua Beijing, Gallery Yang, White Space Beijing, Star Gallery, Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, Tang Contemporary Art Center, Beijing Commune, Plus Factory, Top Media & Magician Space, and Nong Art Space, as well as UCCA Founder Baron Guy Ullens, the UCCA management team, the UCCA Patrons Council, the Ullens Contemporaries, the UCCA Design Committee, and the UCCA Advisory Board. At the cocktail reception, guests congregated at an ice bar inspired by Lu Hao’s 1998 series “Flower, Bird, Insect, & Fish” and received on-site bespoke tailoring services at a special display area by PYE.

UCCA invited television presenter Cao Difei to act as master of ceremonies. The menu was designed by EAST, Beijing’s restaurant Feast, and drinks were provided by Martell. The Gala Dinner opened with music by classical guitar and oboe duo Zoco, made up of internationally renowned musicians Jacob Cordover and Laura Karney and co-organized by GuitarW Music Workshop. Later, young theater director Liu Zheng choreographed the modern dance work Mist, a silent performance by dancers wearing apparel provided by PYE.

The Benefit Auction was a highlight of this year’s Gala. The auction marked the first time a mainland Chinese cultural institution attempted to raise funds through a benefit auction. The UCCA Gala Benefit Auction comprised both an online auction and a live auction organized in cooperation with Paddle8 and Sotheby’s, respectively. All artworks in the auction were generously donated by the artists. Ian McGinlay of Sotheby’s served as auctioneer for the live auction. All six works sold for well over estimate, with a combined hammer price of RMB 1,280,000. Liu Wei’s Untitled was the top lot, sold with a hammer price of RMB 550,000 (opening bid RMB 200,000). Cronus – Payne’s Grey, donated by artist Xu Qu, sold for a hammer price of RMB 280,000 (opening bid RMB 120,000), a record for this emerging artist. The online Benefit Auction, which ran from November 5 to 20, saw all five of its works sold. In total, the inaugural UCCA Gala Benefit Auction raised RMB 1,560,000. All auction proceeds will go to support UCCA’s exhibitions and public programs, promoting the center’s long-term development.

The Gala Dinner closed with a multimedia performance co-created by rock group Ziyue Qiu Ye and artist Lu Hao. Composed of music and images drawn from Lu’s iconic works, the performance embodied Beijing’s diversity as a global contemporary arts hub. At the conclusion of the Gala Dinner, guests moved to the UCCA Gala Party at EAST, Beijing’s bar Xian, where they toasted to UCCA’s sixth anniversary.


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UCCA Founder Guy Ullens: “When we opened in 2007—over six years ago now—I could not have told you exactly what things would look like at UCCA in 2013. My wife Mimi and I wholeheartedly support UCCA, and we hope to see UCCA become an Asian and international art center of the highest caliber.”

PYE Managing Director and Chief Brand Officer Dee Poon: “We believe that museums are at the center of our communities, and by supporting the visual arts, we can not only elevate our understanding of life, but through this, offer better products for our vast and expanding consumer base. We hope that in the future we might expand our collaborations with outstanding artists and institutions, making our common world that much more beautiful.”

UCCA CEO May Xue: “For the continued development of the center, we need to usher more patrons into our ranks. At the same time, we hope to actively explore institutional development strategies with local art professionals. […] In May of this year, UCCA signed a new contract with Sevenstar Group to extend our lease for another six years, effective until December 2019. Tonight, I would like to once again declare that UCCA will remain in 798, will continue to develop, and will continue to contribute to our community.”

UCCA Director Philip Tinari: “The UCCA Patrons Council, established in 2012, has helped UCCA draw support from a large group of individual patrons. UCCA has planned a series of exciting programs for these important supporters. In May of this year, we also formally established the Ullens Contemporaries program, aimed at young patrons. These young supporters of the arts represent the rise of a new generation of collectors in China.




Artistic Director: Lu Hao

Artists and institutions donating works to the Benefit Auction: Chen Wei, Chen Wenbo, Guo Hongwei, Li Shurui, Zhao Zhao, Gong Jian, Liu Wei, Wang Yuyang, Xu Qu, Qiu Xiaofei, Teppei Kaneuji, and ShugoArts, Tokyo

Director’s Table: Artron Art Group, Sotheby’s, New Yijing Group, and Sichuan Tomorrow Art Management Co., Ltd.

Patron’s Table: Dior, UCCA Creative Studio, Morgan Stanley, United Art Collection Corporation, Long March Space, and an anonymous donor

Anniversary Table: Gallery Yang, White Space Beijing, Star Gallery, Platform China Contemporary Art Institute, Tang Contemporary Art Center, Beijing Commune, Plus Factory, Top Media & Magician Space, Nong Art Space, and Galleria Continua Beijing