The Guangdong Times Museum on August 17 revealed that it will close October 9 after nineteen years in operation. “River Pulses, Border Flows,” currently on view at its roughly 13,000-square-foot exhibition space, located on the nineteenth floor of a high-rise residential building, will be the Guangzhou institution’s last exhibition. The museum cited the devastating economic effects brought on by the country’s strict Covid-19 rules, which included extended lockdowns, as the reason for its closure. The institution is one of China’s oldest and most respected private art museums, and was the first Chinese art institution of any stripe to establish an outpost in the West, which it did in 2018 with the founding of Times Art Center Berlin. That museum closed in June.
The Guangdong Times Museum was established as a joint venture between property developer Times China and the Guangdong Museum of Art, which is owned by the state. In 2010, Times China agreed to wholly fund the institution as an independent nonprofit museum. The closure of the museum is a direct result of the property company’s performance amid the country’s sustained economic battering.
The Art Newspaper reports that seven museum employees will lose their jobs and that they are in talks with Times China’s HR team regarding future severance payments, as the company is too cash-strapped to offer them lump-sum payments. According to ArtAsiaPacific, the remaining staff—comprising deputy director and chief curator Nikita Yingqian Cai, director Zhao Qie, and administrative director Liu Qian—are focusing their efforts on reopening a pared-down version of the institution sometime next year. In the meantime, Liang Jianhua, curator of the Guangdong Times Museum from 2011 to 2022, will continue to run HB Station, an education and research initiative financed by the museum from its 2012 through 2017 and now independently operated.