Cai Guo-Qiang painting a mural for the exhibition Everything Is Museum, on view at the Sackler Center for Arts Education, Guggenheim Museum, February 22–
May 28, 2008.
UMoCA (Under Museum of Contemporary Art): Everything Is Museum No. 2, 2001. Permanent
museum created in September 2001 under St. Francis Bridge, Colle di Val d’Elsa, Tuscany. Commissioned
by Assoziacione Arte Continua for Arte all’Arte 6. Collection of the City of Colle di Val d’Elsa. Photo: Cai Guo-Qiang
Jennifer Wen Ma, Aeolian Garden, 2005. Brass pipes and hammocks. Installation view at UMoCA.
Photo: Ela Bialkowska, courtesy Jennifer Wen Ma and Associazione Continua
The socialist utopianism that pervades Cai Guo-Qiang’s artistic strategies has led to the use of the term “social projects” to describe a range of work for which the allure of socialist memory and the idea of absolute faith in communitarian values are key to the artist’s process, imagination, and narrative. In 2000, Cai inaugurated Everything Is Museum, a series of site-specific, community-based MoCAs (museums of contemporary art) that appropriate nonart structures—such as military bunkers and old kilns—for the exhibition of contemporary art. These MoCAs attest to the artist’s interest in unstable environments. To date, Cai has realized three MoCAs at off-beat sites in Japan, Italy, and the Taiwanese island of Kinmen, and a fourth is scheduled to open in China in 2009.
As the architect, director, and curator of the Everything Is Museum projects, which encompass the MoCAs and the exhibitions presented at them, Cai demonstrates his commitment to the democratic empowerment of art and to reinventing the role of the artist in society. The projects
involve extraordinary logistical negotiations that rely on the artist’s considerable charisma and mobilization skills, including fundraising, and expand on his goal not just to make art but to,
as he says, “create a culture.”
In conjunction with Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe, the Guggenheim Museum has invited Cai to curate an Everything Is Museum exhibition at the Sackler Center for Arts Education. The presentation includes photographs, drawings, archival documents, and contributions by Norman Foster, Jennifer Wen Ma, Kiki Smith, and Tan Dun, all of whom have participated in the Everything Is Museum series. Also on view are designs that have been developed by Thomas Krens for Guggenheim museums, and ideas for museum proposals contributed by various members of the public.
Read more about Cai Guo-Qiang: I Want to Believe
About the Sackler Center