By Sarah Archer
Philip Tinari originally hails from the Philadelphia region (he’s an alum of St. Joseph’s Prep) but you’ll rarely find him in the Western hemisphere these days. He is currently the director of the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art in Beijing, where he oversees an exhibition program devoted to presenting the work of both established figures and rising talents in Chinese contemporary art. UCCA welcomes more than half a million visitors each year. Prior to joining UCCA, Tinari was editor-in-chief of LEAP, the international art magazine of contemporary China, which he founded and ran from 2009 to 2011. He has worked as China representative for Art Basel, as a contributing editor to Artforum, and as a lecturer in art criticism at the China Central Academy of Fine Arts. Tinari, who speaks fluent Mandarin, holds degrees from Duke and Harvard, and was a Fulbright fellow at Peking University.
I first had the chance to meet Phil in 2010 during the National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts (NCECA) conference when he gave a talk at Arcadia University in conjunction with the Ai Weiwei exhibition Dropping the Urn, which was organized by Richard Torchia and Gregg Moore. Phil’s talk was, quite simply, one of the best art lectures I have ever seen. Distilling a complex cultural history that concerned porcelain manufacturing, tourism, revolution, censorship, and the destruction of cultural heritage, into a cogent, concise analysis of Ai Weiwei’s artistic practice and persona, Phil’s overview was at once scholarly and accessible. I walked out of the auditorium feeling as though I had been on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to China with a phenomenal tour guide.
We were lucky enough to find Phil on the east coast during the run of The Way of Chopsticks and he will give a talk here on October 3 at 7pm about the contemporary art community in Beijing, of which Song Dong and Yin Xiuzhen are key participants. He was an advisor for this project from its earliest stages, and will contribute an essay to the exhibition catalog which is scheduled for publication in December.
Learn a bit more about his curatorial practice and views of China’s emerging artists by viewing “ON|OFF: The Double Consciousness of China’s Newest Generation of Artists,” a talk he gave on March 11, 2013 at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver. The talk was part of the Asia Contemporary Speaker Series, presented in partnership by the Canadian Art Foundation and the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada.
Click here to reserve your seat!The Way of Chopsticks has been supported by Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Mindspring Foundation, and the Asian Cultural Council. For a complete list of The Way of Chopsticks events, click here.
The Philadelphia Art Alliance is open Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Saturday through Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. (closed on Mondays). Admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students and seniors and free for members. For more information, please call 215-545-4302.
Sarah Archer is Senior Curator at PAA.