Michael Xufu Huang Is Art's Freshest Mogul

Michael Xufu Huang Is Art's Freshest Mogul

Co-founder of Beijing's contemporary art museum, M Woods, Michael Xufu Huang is changing the art game one show at a time.

Co-founder of Beijing's contemporary art museum, M Woods, Michael Xufu Huang is changing the art game one show at a time.

Text: Alexandra Pechman

This article appears in the pages of VMAN39, available on newsstands now. Order your copy now at vmagazineshop.com

Fresh out of college, Michael Xufu Huang is already outgrowing his It Boy label. After co-founding the contemporary art museum M Woods in Beijing at a barely legal age, for the past few years Huang could be found at art fairs the world over, and became known for collecting young artists like Amalia Ulman and Austin Lee (as well as donning colorful ensembles). These days, Huang, almost 24, is at a crossroads, having just finished his studies at the University of Pennsylvania. Rather than taking a break, he’s been working nonstop: “I’m feeling dead inside,” he jokes—this from someone who received his degree after joining the New Museum’s board of trustees.

Huang is currently based between New York and Beijing while he continues to work both with museums and on new business ventures. With fellow young collector Tiffany Zabludowicz, he’s launching XU-ZA, an umbrella outfit that will help bring artists’ work into burgeoning industries, such as an upcoming project connecting contemporary art with the marijuana business. “What really excites me is finding new industries, just like when I find a new artist,” Huang says. Next, he’s planning a trip to India to take stock of the white-hot contemporary art and tech scenes.

This spring, M Woods is mounting the first-ever solo show in China by pioneering video and installation artist Paul McCarthy. Given China’s strict censorship laws, the museum, which has previously held exhibitions of work by Andy Warhol and Lu Yang, will give McCarthy’s more explicit video work its due with a backdoor entrance and private viewings. In March, M Woods is also hosting the kickoff party for Art Basel Hong Kong, in what’s becoming an annual tradition: “My calendar is reserved every year for that.”

SELECTIONS FROM 'EXCELLENCES & PERFECTIONS' AND 'PRIVILEGE' BY AMALIA ULMAN, FROM THE EXHIBIT 'HEART OF THE TIN MAN' AT M WOODS, 2017

Credits: COVER PORTRAIT BY NO. 223 PHOTOGRAPHY DA YU, COURTESY OF AMALIA ULMAN AND M WOODS

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