At NY Art Life, we are committed to introducing notable artists who are making a difference with their career in their field of work. From many submissions of artists, we’ve carefully chosen one artist to feature this time: Lulu Fong. We always speak about painters, performers, and artists with visible work, which is important and valuable to art lovers. But this time around, we are speaking to an art curator. We’ve chosen to speak to her since she has a lot of experience with the art world and the things that happen behind the scenes.
NY Art Life: Thank you for speaking with us. We’re very impressed with your success as a curator and gallerist. How do you describe your work?
Lulu Fong: Thank you very much. I’m a curator and administer, and I truly believe in promoting the arts. At the core of my career, I believe in advancing the way art is presented, and the way culture is circulated within the world. In my experience, making decisions in the stages before the arts are presented truly affect the way we see the world. So, I call myself a curator as I make decisions that have that impact.
NY Art Life: That is an impressive way to describe your career. Tell us about your first impressions with curating. Was it the way you expected?
Lulu Fong: I first began at Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai in 2016. It was my first hands on experience with curatorial work. One of my favorite projects was assisting with a group exhibition called “Turning Point: Contemporary Art in China Since 2000.” It was very interesting for me since I had to communicate with many artists and studios and galleries, and I also began working with different departments which are usually unseen from the public who visit an exhibition. For instance, I worked closely with the design department and prepared all visual arts for the education program Poetry Comes to Museum. There are also other components to being a curator which is cultivating the literature of a gallery, or updating and translating documents that are required for the visitors, or staff. Those were duties that I didn’t always think about before starting my training, but I’m grateful to have had the opportunity of doing them.
NY Art Life: That’s interesting! You have a history of working in China before being settled in New York City. What was that like?
Lulu Fong: I do, I’m very happy for the experience I gained in China. I worked in Beijing and Shanghai, and one of the exhibitions I assisted with at The Art Newspaper traveled around both cities, in addition to Shenzhen. That was my second experience, and I was a curatorial assistant. I was able to gain so much insight on the art world and the ways the art scene was evolving at the time, but my training also weighed heavily on the existing art history canon. But being exposed to the arts and the way it can connect to the world urged me to expand the conversation to include non-western narratives as well. I think that was when I truly knew, I want to do this beyond any border and country. I want to be in the art scene, and the art scene exists everywhere.
NY Art Life: You have a beautiful perspective on your passion. Congratulations for that. So how was the transition between working there, and then moving to New York City?
Lulu Fong: I think there’s always a shift in goals and perceptions when a person moves. When I began working in China and gained expertise on the ways a gallery operates, as well as the long-term goals with each exhibition, I learned a lot about why I wanted to continue curatorial work. I think at its core, representation is something curators care about the most. So when I made my move to New York City, I brought a lot of my vision with me. I have a great ability in offering a particular standpoint that is needed to bridge gaps of Asian representation in both the creative sides of the arts, as well as the audience’s side. There is so much diversity in New York, and as a person who has been part of decision making in group exhibitions with other artists in China, it was great to see there was an opportunity to share that art and culture. The great part is that the audience is always receptive and supportive to it.
NY Art Life: That’s amazing, thank you so much for sharing. Can you tell us more about being an arts administrator and curator in New York City?
Lulu Fong: It’s impeccable! I had the opportunity of working with notable galleries, Hauser & Wirth, Lisson Gallery, and the historical Miguel Abreu Gallery. I truly felt the magic of New York City and the way it connects people from all countries, and how art was able to connect audiences and artists in a way every curator hopes. I met many people along the way that impacted my work and the way I would like a gallery to operate when I’m assisting, or part of the curatorial team. There’s something about the way incredible artists arrange their galleries; they always create an environment where visitors leave with a feeling they will never forget. That is something I took away from my experiences being the point person for prominent artists’ and curators’ visits to Shanghai, as well as my time in Beijing and now in New York.
I think it is a blessing being able to be part of the art scene, even if it is making a decision behind the scenes. I’m grateful for the way audiences have been more supportive of the process of curatorial work, and how people like you bring the work of curators into the public eye. I hope to continue my work with the representation and connection of artists and audiences as my key goal.