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December 2013



Posted August 22, 2013 by in


I am delighted that HOU HANRU, an expert with an excellent international reputation, has accepted to become the Artistic Director of MAXXI, an institution at the forefront of contemporary creativity in Italy and in the world.”

The announcement was made by Giovanna Melandri, President of the Fondazione MAXXI, together with the board members Beatrice Trussardi and Monique Veaute.

The selection process based on curricula at international level, was entrusted by the board of directors to Odgers Berndtson, the national branch of one of the leading European executive search groups. Candidates from the most important artistic and cultural institutions from six countries on three continents were evaluated.

The artistic director will be responsible for planning MAXXI’s cultural programme, taking into account the Foundation’s unique disciplinary complexity, devoted to contemporary creativity.


With the appointment of HOU HANRU as Artistic Director”, says Giovanna Melandri, “we shall finally be completing the strategic plan that led to the creation of the centre for the contemporary arts designed by Zaha Hadid.  Italy and Rome have in MAXXI their platform for research in art, architecture, photography, design and all the idioms of the 21st Century. An open and creative place, an incubator for new energies.

The Artistic Director will work with Margherita Guccione and Anna Mattirolo, directors of MAXXI Architettura and MAXXI Arte, to offer new impetus to the programming of the museum.  I am sure that Hanru is the right person to bring together the many stimuli emerging from Italian creativity, in connection with the ferment of the international scene.”



HOU HANRU brings to MAXXI and Italy a truly global vision”, says Beatrice Trussardi. “Hanru was one of the leading figures and interpreters of the ferment within Asian contemporary art scene that has recently transformed the international artistic panorama. He has worked both in the East and the West, providing a vision of art as a propulsive force and a metaphor for our present.”

The appointment of HOU HANRU as Artistic Director of MAXXI”, says Monique Veaute, “will permit the true launch of this museum world-wide. A first-class personality as Hou Hanru, recognised throughout the world, represents the eagerly awaited turning point for this great Italian museum of contemporary creativity. Its potential for bringing together European art and the art of all the emerging countries, is the true challenge of our times.


I’m very much honoured and excited to take up the position of Artistic Director of MAXXI”,  says Hou Hanru, “an institution open to the contemporary time and the future. This is a museum with visions and ambitions to embrace creations in the field of art and architecture, in Italy, Europe and the world. Emphasing interactions between different disciplines and the force of research and experimentation, situated in an innovative work of architecture thrived from one of the most ancient centres of civilisation, the museum has great potentials to become a unique leading institution in the multitude of global art and architecture scene. Having worked in various contexts across the world, notably in Asia, Europe and America, I’m full of hope and energy to participate in the invention and growth of this wonderful museum. It is a complicated time in Italy and many parts of the world facing the challenge of global restructuring in economy, culture, politics and human values. But complications always imply opportunities for paradigm invention. The institution, being a platform for public debates on the dynamic relationship between artistic creativity and social life, should and can become an exemplary organisation for significant art, architecture and culture productions and a laboratory for new public culture. The task is by no means an easy one. The challenge is huge. However, together with the fantastic team of the museum and the support of the art, architecture and other creation communities, the public of diverse social origins, the authorities and philanthropic circles, I am confident of the capacity of the institution to take this challenge and succeed.


Hou Hanru, Born in 1963, Guangzhou, China, Critic and Curator based in Paris and in San Francisco. Graduated from the Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing (B.A. in 1985, M.A. in 1988). Former Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies, San Francisco Art Institute since (2006-2012). Co-director of World Biennale Forum (Gwangju, 2012), Currently curator of the 5th Auckland Triennial, 2013, Auckland, New Zealand.



Hanru (born in 1963 in Guangzhou former Canton, China) is an art curator and critic who lives in Paris and San Francisco.

He received degrees from the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing and moved from China to France in 1990. He lived 16 years in Paris before moving to San Francisco in 2006. He worked at San Francisco Art Institute as Director of Exhibitions and Public Program and Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies from 2006 to 2012. He is co-director of the first World Biennale Forum (Gwangju, 2012).

He has curated numerous exhibitions including “China/Avant-Garde” (1989), “Parisien(ne)s” (1997), “Cities On The Move” (1997–2000), Shanghai Biennale (2000),Gwangju Biennale (2002), Venice Biennale (French Pavilion, 1999, Z.O.U. — Zone Of Urgency, 2003, Chinese Pavilion, 2007), Nuit Blanche (2004, Paris), the 2nd Guangzhou Triennial (2005), the 2nd Tirana Biennial (2005), the 10th Istanbul Biennial (2007), “Global Multitude” (Luxembourg 2007), “Trans(cient)City” (Luxembourg 2007), EV+A 2008 (Limerick), “The Spectacle of the Everyday, The 10th Lyon Biennale” (Lyon, 2009), etc. He is currently curating the 5th Auckland Triennial (Auckland, New Zealand, May – August 2013).

He has been consultant and advisor in many international institutions including Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York), Kumamoto Museum of Contemporary Art (Kumamoto, Japan), De Appel Foundation (Amsterdam), Rockbund Art Museum (Shanghai), Times Museum of Contemporary Art (Guangzhou), Today Art Museum (Beijing), Deutsche Bank Collection (Frankfurt), Kadist Art Foundation (San Francisco/Paris), Asian Art Archive (Hong Kong), etc. and served in juries of many international awards including the Hugo Boss Prize (Guggenheim Museum), Chinese Contemporary Art Award (Beijing), Ars Fennica (Helsinki), Prix International d’Art Contemporain de la Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco (Monaco), etc.

He contributes regularly to international art magazines including “Flash Art International”, “Art in America”, “Art Asia Pacific”, “Yishu”, “Art-It”, etc. and served as guest/advisory editor for some of them.

A selection of his writings was published as “On The Mid-Ground” by Timezone 8, 2002. His recent books include “Paradigm Shifts, Walter & McBean Galleries exhibitions and public programs, San Francisco Art Institute, 2006-2011″, San Francisco Art Institute, 2011 (with Mary Ellyn Johnson)

He has also taught and lectured in various artistic and educational institutions including Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten (Amsterdam), HISK (Antwerp /Ghent), and numerous universities, museums, etc. across the world.

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