Hou Hanru Appointed Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of Exhibiti
San Francisco Art Institute

Hou Hanru Appointed Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of Exhibition and Museum Studies at San Francisco Art Institute or

call 1.800.345.7324 (outside US, call 415.771.7020)

San Francisco Art Institute announces the appointment of internationally renowned curator Hou Hanru as Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs and Chair of SFAI’s Exhibition and Museum Studies program, effective July 1. Prior to his appointment at SFAI, Hou has been living and working in Paris as an independent critic and curator and serving as Professor at the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam, Netherlands, and as Visiting Professor at Hoger Instituut voor Shone Kunsten, Antwerp, Belgium.

A dynamic and innovative curator and critic of contemporary art, Hou most recently served as the artistic director of the 2nd Guangzhou Triennale where he co-curated Beyond: An Extraordinary Space of Experimentation for Modernization with Hans Ulrich Obrist and Guo Xiaoyan (Guangzhou, China 2005). Other recent curatorial projects include Go Inside, the 3rd Tirana Biennale (Tirana, Albania, 2005), Out of Sight, organized by the De Appel Foundation (Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2005), Nuit Blanche 2004 (Paris, 2004), and A L’Ouest Du Sud De L’Est / A L’Est Du Sud De L’Ouest (Villa Arson, Nice, 2004). In addition, during the past 10 years Hou has worked as an independent curator on a number of significant international exhibitions including Z.O.U—Zone of Urgency (50th Venice Biennale, 2003), P_A_U_S_E, the 4th Gwangju Biennale (Gwangju, Korea, 2002), Cities on the Move (Secession, Vienna and six other venues in Europe, Asia, and the US, 1997–2000), Uncertain Pleasure—Chinese artists in the 1990s (Art Beatus Gallery, Vancouver, 1997), Parisien(ne)s (Camden Arts Centre, London, 1997), Out of the Centre—Chinese contemporary art (Pori Art Museum, Finland, 1994), and the landmark China/Avant-Garde co-curated with Gao Minglu at China’s National Art Gallery (Beijing, 1989).

“A gifted curator and writer, and an astute intellectual, Hou is one of the most insightful and articulate curatorial thinkers today, whose work has had an enormous impact on how we understand the field of contemporary art globally,” said Dean of Academic Affairs Okwui Enwezor.

As Director of Exhibitions and Public Programs, Hou Hanru will be responsible for formulating and overseeing exhibitions in SFAI’s Walter and McBean galleries, which have been significant venues for exhibiting contemporary art since 1969. Additionally, Hou will be responsible for overseeing SFAI’s distinguished visiting artist and scholar residency programs, which bring dozens of prominent cultural practitioners to the school every year to deliver public lectures, participate in salons and symposia, and work directly with students.

“Hou Hanru will be an important voice in continuing SFAI’s long history of fostering critical discussions about art and society,” said SFAI President Chris Bratton. “We are immensely proud to have him join SFAI’s academic community.”

As Chair of SFAI’s Exhibition and Museum Studies program, Hou will provide an international vision for understanding the relationship between museums, exhibitions, and contemporary culture. As Hou explained in a published interview with Carolee Thea, “The role [of the curator] is to pose a question, and the artist should participate in the formation and the answering with different solutions so that the process is collaboration. … It is the worst to use the artist just as an illustration of your ideas.”

“I don’t think artists are rarified,” says Hou Hanru; “they’re part of our communication system, and they play the game of this new dialogue, dealing with the issue of excessive information, lack of time and space, and how to handle it. Contradiction and chaos have the same value as reasonable knowledge.”

Born in 1963 in Guangzhou, China, Hou Hanru has lived in Paris since 1990. A prolific writer and curator, Hou received both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the Central Institute of Fine Arts in Beijing, where he was trained in art history, with additional work in painting, performance, installation, and architectural research. He is a consultant for several cultural institutions internationally including the Global Advisory Committee of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and the Contemporary Art Museum in Kumamoto, Japan. Described as a significant international voice on cultural difference, Hou is the French correspondent for Flash Art International and a regular contributor to several other journals on contemporary art including Frieze, Art Monthly, Third Text, Art and Asia Pacific, Domus, Atlantica, Texte Zur Kunst, and Tema Celeste. Most recently, Hou was appointed Curator of the 10th International Istanbul Biennial, which will take place from September to November 2007.

SFAI has a rolling admissions policy and is accepting applications for Summer and Fall 2006 and Spring 2007.

For more information visit or call 1.800.345.7324 (outside US, call 415.771.7020)


April 19, 2006