Lulu Fong’s Curatorial Career
The world of arts has many dimensions and aspects that need to be covered. There are parts of the artistic process that fall into the hands of detail-oriented individuals with a vision that can be the backbone of a show, and it is important for all those who enjoy art to know these figures, as well as the hard work that goes into their career. Most of the time, we think about the artists whose work is most visible to us. That is natural. But we also need to think about the decisions behind every show or gallery opening. More openly, the work of curators and gallery administers.
Lulu Fong is one of those individuals we are happy to introduce. At NY Art Life, we believe in showcasing artists and those working in the field who have a remarkable impact on the quality of work and enriching culture that is circulating in the city, as well as places beyond New York. Lulu Fong has an impressive expertise in making decisions that impact these events, as well as the long-term impacts on history and culture in New York. We will be highlighting some of the most important aspects of her career, as well as her own process when it comes to making significant decisions in the arts.
At the core of Lulu’s career is a unique ability to utilize her personal transatlantic experiences in her continuous promotion of the arts. Her academic training from reputable American institutions inculcated her with the existing art history canon, through which she observed an urgency to expand the conversation to include non-western narratives. With her professional experience unfolding at the heart of the art industry, she offers a particular standpoint that is needed to bridge gaps of Asian representation in both the creatives side and the audience of arts. She began her first curatorial internship in 2016 at the Minsheng Art Museum in Shanghai where she assisted in group exhibition, designing, and translating exhibition and administrative documents. At this venue, she was able to become a communication expert with artists and galleries who wished to collaborate. It was a great experience as she was also responsible for many of the design department projects and products that were used for the museum. She was also the acting museum tour guide for groups of 10–15 visitors.
Later in 2017, Lulu Fong became a curatorial assistant at The Art Newspaper in Beijing. Her work took a turn in another, exciting dimension of the arts. She covered top-to-bottom curation for traveling exhibition “Art of Takumi.” Her tasks at The Art Newspaper included concept development, exhibition design, and meeting with upper-management and client presentations with many notable sponsors such as Lexus Automobile. While being at The Art Newspaper, she also had the opportunity to document a past exhibition called “BMW Art Car by Cao Fei.” She edited news articles with publishers, which had high coverage in Beijing.
She found works by Eisa Jocson to be a critical body of work, especially in today’s climate. She was fortunate enough to work on 2019 Hugo Boss Asia Art at the highly respected Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) in Shanghai, which Jocson was the edition’s winner. The Hugo Boss Asia Art Award for Emerging Asian Artists since its inception in 2013 has encouraged and promoted new and diverse narratives in contemporary Asian art. The Guggenheim in New York is home to Hugo Boss Prize, which honors outstanding achievement in contemporary art, celebrating the work of remarkable artists whose practices are among the most innovative and influential of our time. Noting The Hugo Boss Asia Art Award’s focus on supporting emerging Asian Artists, Jocson’s work is vital in her exploration of gender formation, social mobility and body politics.
Lulu Fong finds her works exciting in the trifecta of format, content, and concept. “Jocson is a contemporary choreographer and dancer from the Philippines, originally trained as a visual artist with a background in ballet. Her works embrace traditional approaches to body movements, where they derive technical prowess, whilst subverts it by imbuing each piece with a contemporary zeitgeist that questions the history of such classical training. Rockbund Art Museum director Larys Frogier expresses, “the artist creates multilayered images, revisiting the vocabularies of dance and music, as well as infiltrating local popular references and contemporary visual art formats. It is with great intelligence that Eisa Jocson engages today’s life and art, always repositioning her own practice into the unknown, going beyond fixed identities, genders, and frontiers.” These are thoughts recounted by Lulu Fong herself.
Then, she assisted in setting up Lisson Gallery’s Shanghai location. Joining at a bluechip gallery’s inception offered many autonomous projects that trained her to be sensitive to visiting artists’ needs and provide them with excellent collectors and a circle of the gallery’s history with a strong group of members. Her work at Lisson Gallery also included everyday maintenance of the gallery as well as providing front of house service for the guests and patrons. It is very important for curators to create a sense of community for the gallery visitors and guests, and to have a circle of collectors that will support artists and keep the art community moving forward.
Lulu Fong moved to New York City in 2020. She had an excellent kickstart to curating and assisting galleries, which paved the way for her success in a new city, a place where art thrives and lives on. She assisted whilst completing her master’s in Art Administration. The insightful experience exposed her to fresher challenges and delights alike. Lulu had a great impact on sales, as well as digital communications. She was a strong influencer in bringing the gallery up to speed with digital tools and strategies that were an asset during the pandemic. She also made very notable connections with figures such as Frank Stella, Joan Snyder, and Caio Fonseca. Lulu also had a deep impact on professionalizing the gallery’s infrastructure and presence online. This was made possible by her efforts in connecting with New York Times and Wall Street Journal authors, local artists, as well as other galleries in the area.
Her most recent work was being a gallery assistant at Hauser & Wirth. Lulu wasn’t new to researching, due to her impressive background in finding strategies to promote a gallery’s presence in their time and ongoing exhibitions. Lulu spent more time on weekly memos and newsletters, multiplying the connection of the gallery to its members, staff, and visitors. Among her experiences, this gallery implemented a strong sense of curatorial vision and connection for Lulu. By being trained at her day job at a mega-gallery, it enabled her to work directly with intricate departments that are dedicated to support an artist’s development from all facets, whether it is with artist liaisons who are well versed in the institutional space or with the sales team who have acute senses on placing artworks in collections. With the skills and sensitivities this job instilled in Lulu Fong, she co-founded a project space in Brooklyn called ‘peakaboo,’ which allows people to check out the happenings in the minds circulating in this town.
Lulu Fong has also worked on a number of projects both within China and the United States of America. One of these notable projects include her work with Freer | Sackler Gallery in collaboration with AUCSSA. There, she was responsible for training and recruiting volunteers interested in tour guiding, reception, and backstage organization. This was a Lunar New Year project. Another of her projects includes the Etro x The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation. There, she worked as an assistant to the foundation, coordinating The Ritz-Carlton as well as leading a team of 15 assistants who worked closely with designers and models. The fashion show had much logistics for which Lulu ensured they went smoothly.
Lulu Fong carried on with a new project in 2018 with Miguel Abreu Gallery: Art Basel HK. This was a gallery assisting position for which she generated a third of the total sales by engaging with new clients and maintaining after-sales services for mainland clients. She also assisted in Christie’s Asia Art Week, liaising with auction and operations departments to ensure clients’ queries and issues.
With her experience, it is no doubt that she is high demand in the hottest art markers such as Hong Kong, Shanghai, and NYC. Because of Lulu’s personal and professional experience in different countries, specifically China/Hong Kong and the United States, she was able to navigate the differences in art markets around the world. There were challenges in China/Hong Kong such as language barriers between art collectors and artists, the same way there are varying challenges in the United States that she has faced and been able to work through.