Every Decision Counts: Lulu Fong and the World of Curators
In the world of arts, we hear and see a lot about artworks and content creators. Artists are usually the main attraction, and we are eager to hear more about their process, what inspired them, as well as the things that hinder their work. At NY Art Life, we dedicate much of our work to showcasing brilliant artists. It is important to know them, think about them, and keep them in mind while we see new works of art in the future. But we also want to showcase those who make the decisions behind the paintings we see, the way they are selected.
Those who love art and are enthused with paintings always make time for galleries and openings. Especially in New York, there are so many opportunities for art lovers and art collectors since there are many galleries that continuously feature new artists. But art shows are a bit more complicated than paintings hung on the wall. There is much thought that is put into the paintings that are chosen, their frames, the way they are hung, as well as their size, the number of paintings, and many other factors that people associated with the gallery decide.
There will be many times when you have conflicting emotions once you’ve visited a gallery opening or art fair. You may feel that you’ve enjoyed all the artworks, and that they are in perfect alignment with one another. In that scenario, you may like most of the works, and think that they work perfectly together on the white walls. The frames complement the work, and the sizes and proportions of the paintings and artworks arranged look just right. There are also situations in which there are excellent paintings, but not appreciated so much because of their arrangement and relationship to other works within the gallery. That is why the decisions that go into gallery openings and exhibitions matter so much; they impact the entire experience of a gallery.
Curators and gallerists are in charge of many big and small decisions that are made before our entry to these venues. It is why we feel such comfort and quiet when visiting a gallery. Many galleries take pride in their curatorial team, since they are the ones who promote their marketing, as well as impact their sales with each show. It is important to know the people who make these decisions and influence art and culture in New York City. One of these figures is Lulu Fong. Lulu Fong has an extensive career of working in the arts in the United States of America and China.
Lulu began as a curator at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai. She began gearing up for the many responsibilities of a curator during her time there. There are many departments of a museum or gallery most people don’t know about, such as the designs department, the group exhibitions, as well as administrative departments that take care of the day to day and visitor situations of these places. Lulu assisted in all these departments, and even trained tour guides who would show the museum to visitors. This gave her a sense of what a museum or gallery should always be prepared for, as well as the layout of such an art venue.
Her next stop was The Art Newspaper. She became a curatorial assistant and continued her work within departments of a gallery. In this venue, she assisted with curation in an exhibition called “Art of Takumi” which traveled in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen. The exhibition was truly successful and had many notable sponsors, including Lexus Automobile. This was a great experience for Lulu Fong since she was also able to document a past exhibition: “BMW Art Car by Cao Fei.” It was widely covered by the press within China.
After The Art Newspaper, Lulu continued her curatorial work at Rockbound Art Museum in Shanghai. For her, researching is a big component of curation. In her work at this museum, she had many projects that included researching artists of past exhibitions, studying exhibition history for new exhibitions, as well as going through global and regional cultural heritage. Following her research, she also led the education department to carry out the first edition of “RAM Interview” with Tobias Rehberger. And as she had experience with tour guiding museum visitors, she gave extensive guided tours to museum advisors, artists, collectors, board members, gallerists, and industry professionals, as well as the general public. This experience was quite different than the Minsheng Art Museum, as the tours varied in length and group sizes.
Lulu had a great experience working with galleries and museums in China. She worked with one last gallery in Shanghai before moving to New York City. Lisson Gallery was a great success for her in that she worked closely with the gallery director and found many connections that were actively present in the art world, extending beyond Asia. Lulu created English and Chinese artist and exhibition portfolios for client-use during exhibitions and art fairs. This was a turning point for her career, which pushed her to think about curatorship in New York.
Lulu Fong brought her expertise to New York City in 2020. She gained insights from Anders Wahlstedt Fine Art and Hauser & Wirth. Being able to generate sales and conduct tour guides for visitors prepared her for the important decisions to closely assist with a, where she generated 20% of gallery sales with new client. She also grew the client retention rate with existing collectors by strengthening their online presence. This was very important as the art industry was facing major difficulties with the pandemic. But with all the challenges, Lulu Fong was able to make decisions that benefited galleries and left viewers and visitors with a remarkable experience.
Lulu Fong is currently based in New York City, working on many projects that connect the world through art. In her experience, connecting others through art is one of the greatest experiences as a curator.