Peter Eleey Joins Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art

April 30, 2021

Peter Eleey, former chief curator New York’s MoMA PS1, has accepted the post of curator-at-large at Beijing’s UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Artnews reports. Eleey, who departed MoMA PS1 last year citing the Covid-19 crisis, will oversee development of UCCA’s exhibitions, programs, and curatorial direction as the museum expands to Shanghai. He will additionally be charged with organizing occasional exhibitions at the institution, and with elevating the museum’s programs and partnerships.

Eleey joined MoMA PS1 in 2010, rising to chief curator there in 2016. During his tenure he organized the 2015 edition of Greater New York, co-curated the 2019 exhibition “Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991–2011,” and curated solo shows by Ian Cheng, Frances Stark, and Garry Winogrand, among others. In 2018, he was named in a discrimination complaint filed by curator Nikki Columbus alleging that he had offered her a job at the museum but rescinded the offer on learning she had recently given birth. The claim was settled in 2019.

“I am thrilled to join UCCA and its terrific team during this exciting period of the museum’s growth,” said Eleey in a statement. “I look forward to working together with the staff to engage new audiences and build on UCCA’s pioneering legacy of vibrant programming.”

UCCA director Philip Tinari noted that Eleey was “quite active in this part of the world in years before the pandemic,” pointing to Eleey’s history of working with Chinese artists—among them Cai Guo-Qiang, Song Dong, Zhang Huan, and Zheng Guogu—and specifically calling out his work on the 2017 exhibition “.com/.cn,” which Eleey co-organized with Klaus Biesenbach for the K11 Art Foundation in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

“We have a critical mass of smart, young curators,” Tinari said, “and it’s a great time to bring in someone who can be sort of a mentor figure. It’s very important that UCCA becomes more and more mature as an institution and is able to generate better and better content as we grow.”