The Social Value of Private Initiatives and Museums

On June 5th, 2017 I went to the talk organized at the Delfina Foundation. The panelists were Lu Xun, founder of Sifang Parkland in Nanjing, China, and Luba Michailova, founder IZOLYATSIA,  Ukraine.

The talk was part of the larger public programme of the foundation called Collecting as Practice. If it has become a usual practice for artists to go to residences worldwide, it is a pioneering venture for the foundation to call collectors to participate into such a programme, recognizing the need for research and direction that building an art collection requires.

As explained in the presentation, the aim of the talk was to “explore the public responsibilities of private initiatives”. The outreach to local community was put into the very different geo-political contexts that are Ukraine and China.

Luba Michailova tried reinvigorating through culture a post-industrial town in the region of Donetsk. Music, visual art, talks and social mingling were all part of the program. She explained that she  had to move her operations to Kiev because of the forced evacuation by Russian troops.


A now destroyed Daniel Buren on site installation

Lu Xun noticed the need for the introduction of innovative architectural design in China where efficiency had dictated the general architecture. More than 20 international architects arranged over a 115-acre site in the Pearl Spring forest. If art commissions seem to be coming second for the time being, he hopes that ten years from now people will be coming mainly for the artworks.

Museum by Steven Holl Architects


It seems like new chapters are still being written as to the evolution of these private initiatives that are pointing at the public interest in these countries at a time when the implication of private money in the setting up of public institution’s shows is more and more questionned in the West. To be followed…

Details of the next talks in the programme: 

June 20th, 2017: Who really owns it? Thinking through ownership of contemporary art and cultural heritage. To book, click here.

June 22nd, 2017: Re-collections. To book, click here.


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