International galleries including Lehmann Maupin and Esther Schipper flock to new Beijing free trade hub

14 galleries are taking part in the three month pop up

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Marilyn Minter's Starry Eyed (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin.

Marilyn Minter's Starry Eyed (2018). Courtesy of the artist and Lehmann Maupin.

Lehmann Maupin has announced it will be part of a new galleries pop-up run by Beijing Blanc Culture Group in the Free Trade Zone in the city’s Shunyi District, near to the Beijing Capital Airport. The gallery will first hold a Marilyn Minter solo show at the project, running from 23 October until late November, this will be followed by an exhibition of work by Chantal Joffe (until January 2022), who Lehmann Maupin will now represent in the Asia market, although she will continue to work with Victoria Miro as well.

“Excitingly, these are the first exhibitions for each artist in mainland China," says gallery cofounder David Maupin. Minter showed in 2018 at their Hong Kong gallery, after which the artist a wildly popular talk at Shanghai’s How Museum. “Ever since we’ve been building strong interest and a loyal following for her work across the region. With Chantal Joffe, we are excited about what this period of introduction will bring,” on the heels of a 2020 solo in the Seoul gallery, “which sparked many new conversations with collectors and curators alike. We expect a similarly enthusiastic response to her work in Beijing.”

The Shunyi space will also host exhibitions from 14 galleries including other international dealers like Chantal Crousel, Massimo de Carlo and Esther Schipper. Several Chinese galleries and international galleries with permanent mainland spaces, including Lisson, Ink Studio, White Space Beijing and Almine Rech, are also joining the project. On the 23rd, Blanc will also launch an antiques fair at the complex (until 29 October) and stage exhibitions From Ancient Maritime Trade to Modern Maritime Shipping and Magnificent Ripples: Works by Artists Studying in France (both until 23 January 2022). It will also unveil a nonprofit space Dangxia, founded by Beijing collectors Zhang Chang, Kai Rong and Kiki Liu Linyao, with a collection show Praise the Insignificant Dwarf Planets curated by Yang Zi.

Blanc’s subsidiary Beijing Baoku Culture Co., Ltd., will run a 3,000 sq. m bonded warehouse, storage and logistics centre, and both are within the National Foreign Culture Trade Base in the Tianzhu Comprehensive Free Trade Zone, Beijing, established by the national Ministry of Culture and the municipal government.

Lehmann Maupin, which has Asia galleries in Hong Kong and Seoul, also this summer added a popup space in Taipei to its Aspen and Palm Beach seasonal projects. “The pop-ups have allowed us to demonstrate our commitment to a particular region, and given us the time and space to invest more deeply. As a result, we’ve seen it pay off for our business; we’ve engaged new clients, reactivated old relationships, and enriched a curatorial dialogue around our programme,” says Maupin.

“Ever since the pandemic started, we have been looking at ways to rethink the traditional, white-cube model," says the gallery’s China director Tiffany Xu, who will manage the Beijing space. “We were attracted to the Blanc Art Space because of its dynamic vision for what an exhibition space can be. There were no set guidelines or rules, which is why we are approaching the space with the integrity that we would a gallery. We are choosing to exhibit artists’ work in-depth and create focused solo presentations in order to allow our visitors the time and the space to engage with an artist’s practice in depth."

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