Home Arts Aric Chen, director of Het Nieuwe Instituut, heads the Dutch National Museum and becomes the world’s first “Zoöp”

Aric Chen, director of Het Nieuwe Instituut, heads the Dutch National Museum and becomes the world’s first “Zoöp”

by godlove4241
0 comment

Much of the art world revolves around questions of value, not only in terms of appraisals and price tags, but also: what is worth your time in These Times, as well as your energy? , your attention and, yes, your hard-earned money?

What calculations do you make to determine the meaning and value of something? What moves you? What enriches your life? In this new series, we ask individuals from the art world and beyond about the assessments they make on a personal level.

Aric Chen knows a thing or two about culture – he has defined a career at the crossroads of architecture, design and the digital worlds. Two years ago, Chen became director of the highly esteemed Het Nieuwe Instituut (HNI) in Rotterdam, famous for its rigorous and avant-garde design-driven presentations. This month, HNI will open “Work clothes“, an exhibition that explores the transformation of functional workwear into fashion symbols seen on the catwalks and in metropolitan centers.

Prior to HNI, Chen was the Curatorial Director of the Design Miami Fairs, and from 2012 to 2019 served as the founding Senior Curator of Design and Architecture at the Hong Kong Museum of Visual Culture, M+.

Chen moved from Shanghai to Rotterdam and is currently renovating his biggest recent purchase: a 1904 house a short walk from the museum (and where Lee Harvey Oswald may have spent the night).

We recently caught up with Chen, who shared photos in progress from his pad, told us why he has no problem falling behind, and why his ability to handle difficult personalities is his blessing and his curse.

Aric's new apartment - it's a commitment

Construction of Aric Chen’s new apartment. “It’s a commitment,” he said. Courtesy of Aric Chen.

What’s the last thing you splurged on?
I just bought an apartment in Rotterdam, which I don’t see so much as madness, but as a commitment! It is less than a 10 minute walk from the Nieuwe Instituut in an old 1904 house. Supposedly in 1962 Lee Harvey Oswald spent a night in what is now my kitchen on his way back from Union Soviet Union, where he had defected, to catch a Holland America Line ship bound for New York. That’s the story, but as always with Oswald, there are unanswered questions.

What are you saving for?
New skylights. I’m doing work on the apartment, and these are next on the list.

New skylights in Aric Chen's apartments.

The skylights of Aric Chen’s apartment. Courtesy of Aric Chen.

What would you buy if you found $100?

I’m always told I’m terribly short of cooking utensils, so I guess I’ll stock up. But I’m not such a cook. If I had to choose, I would do the dishes.

Research Center at HNI

Research Center. Courtesy of Het New Institute.

What makes you feel like a million bucks?

Honestly, Nieuwe Instituut staff and visitors, as long as they are happy too. We are quite a large, complex and strange beast. But I have to say that’s what makes me feel like I have the best job in the world. We have an incredible collection – the Dutch national collection of architecture and urbanism – while also working in the fields of design and digital culture, with a deeply rooted culture of experimentation that pushes us to rethink the critical issues around of the past, present and future — at local, national and planetary scales, with a role in politics, etc. We are not just a place for exhibitions, discussions and debates, but a testing ground for new ideas, working with a wide range of audiences and collaborators, and it is all this that motivates me every day. .

What do you think is your greatest asset?
I’d love to say it’s my towering intellect and winning smile, but in real life it’s probably more like an ability to deal with difficult personalities, which is both an asset and a curse. Another answer to this might be my curiosity. Maybe the two are related.

Worlds Within by Nina van Hartskamp at 'In Search of The Pluriverse' at Het Nieuwe Instituut, 2022

by Nina van Hartskamp worlds inside (2022) in “In Search of the Pluriverse”. Courtesy of Het New Institute.

What do you appreciate most in a work of art?
I like art that makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Which is probably the most artistic these days, although for different reasons.

Who is an emerging artist worthy of everyone’s attention?
Right now, he’s the one I just met. When it comes to art and design, Rotterdam punches above its weight, and since moving here just over a year ago, I’ve been constantly discovering new artists and designers.

Aric Chen with Tobias Wong

Aric Chen (right) with Tobias Wong. Courtesy of Aric Chen.

Who is an unknown artist who has not yet received his due?
My friend and occasional collaborator, New York artist-designer Tobias Wong, who sadly passed away in 2010 at the age of 35. I’ve been thinking about him a lot lately, because the Vancouver Museum opened a retrospective of his life and work [through July 23]. Tobi had an amazing mind; he was a genius of appropriation who questioned authorship, holding a mirror up to our obsessions and desires in a kind of mixture of Fluxus and Virgil Abloh, although he foreshadowed the latter by nearly a decade. Both, of course, died too young.

What do you think is the most overrated thing in the art world?
The suspension of disbelief.

What is your most valuable asset?
My contact lenses. Life gets blurry without them.

What was your best investment?
If showing up is half the battle, it’s also probably the best investment you can make. I believe in serendipity, and the people I’ve met, the things I’ve seen, and what I’ve been able to learn from them have most often been the result of just being there, wherever it is. is located.

Aric's passport.

Aric Chen’s passport. Courtesy of Aric Chen.

What is something small that means the world to you?
Literally, my passport.

What’s not worth the hype?

By definition, anything hyped isn’t usually worth the excitement. (Not to name names, though.) It’s best to keep things real.

What do you think is a good cause?
It’s easy: prevent the collapse of our planet. At this point, I don’t think I need to repeat all the “blah, blah, blah,” to quote Greta Thunberg, who is often talked about on the issue. Let’s just say there are a lot of things we need to do to fix it. At the Nieuwe Instituut, we have developed, together with many others, an organizational model called the Zooop. Fundamentally, it is a framework that brings non-human interests and voices into an organization’s decision-making processes to ensure practices that are not only more sustainable, but regenerative. There is a whole methodology. It was designed to be adaptable to all kinds of organizations, and earlier this year we officially adopted this model to become the world’s first Zoop. There are about 40 other organizations right now that are getting ready to become Zoops, so that’s a good start.

What do you aspire to?
I tend to take things one day at a time, so we might have to revisit this one later.

More trending stories:

Was Roy Lichtenstein an appropriation artist or a plagiarist? A new documentary probes the ethics of his multimillion-dollar comic book empire

The dealer who sold the world’s most expensive coin has been arrested for falsifying the provenance of the $4.2 million artifact

What I buy and why: New York collector Larry Warsh talks about his first look at Basquiat and the octogenarian artist he now covets

87-year-old artist Barbara Kasten explains how her new career-defining monograph shows she’s more than just a photographer

Hito Steyerl explains why NFTs and AI image generators are really just “integration tools” for tech conglomerates

Art Industry News: Rishi Sunak Says There Are ‘No Plans’ to Return Parthenon Sculptures to Greece + Other Stories

Is this Rolls-Royce the most extravagant car of all time? Designed by Iris van Herpen, it’s iridescent, has a signature scent…and the cosmos within

Generative art sensation Tyler Hobbs has filled his first London show with old-school paintings – painted by a robot, that is

Final sale of masterpieces from late Microsoft founder Paul Allen’s collection could fetch $43 million at Christie’s

A Wall Street billionaire committed suicide in his Family Office. His death resounds in the world of museums and the art market

Researchers in Vietnam have discovered that two deer antlers languishing in museum storage are actually 2,000-year-old musical instruments

Follow Artnet News on Facebook:

Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.

You may also like

Leave a Comment

@2022 – All Right Reserved. Designed and Developed by artworlddaily