Horizon, a new studio space and residency program, welcomes emerging and mid-career artists


Emerging artists, take note: there is a bright spot on the horizon for 2022.

Horizon, a new art space and residency program, will open in downtown Los Angeles in February, the foundation announced on Friday. Former Whitney Museum of American Art curator Christopher Y. Lew will be the chief artistic director of the Horizon Art Foundation, making frequent trips to Los Angeles from his New York home. Los Angeles-based May Xue, who previously headed the K11 Art Foundation of Hong Kong as managing director and director of education and institutional relations, is the CEO of the initiative.

Los Angeles-based Chinese art patrons Jason Li and Harry Hu are the association’s sole funders.

Horizon’s mission? Provide emerging and mid-career artists around the world with the resources to create experimental works in an environment free of deadlines and the pressure to exhibit. Horizon will support one artist at a time for up to three months – four per year – and provide them with a place to live, a studio, and a living allowance. The artists will remain the sole owners of the works they will produce during the residency.

“We wanted to find a way to support artists that is less goal-oriented, that is much more open, where artists can take risks and experiment,” Lew explains. Grounding in the city of Los Angeles, he adds, is key. Part of Horizon’s goal is “to help celebrate the true cultural richness of LA”

Horizon has yet to unveil its inaugural artists for 2022, who have all been chosen. The selection process included establishing a list of approximately two dozen artists; four were invited to participate in the first year of residency. The focus isn’t necessarily on artists from LA, but bringing artists from around the world to Los Angeles to experience the city’s busy creative communities is part of the mission. The list of potential candidates was created and reviewed by Lew and a person to two Advisory board composed of María Elena Ortiz from Pérez Art Museum Miami and the Contemporary Art Museum of Saint-Louis Wassan Al-Khudhairi. The advisory board, says Lew, will change every year.

The residency is open to artists from all walks of life, but Horizon “emphasizes artists of color,” Lew adds.

Building a community around artists and connecting them with patrons is key to Horizon, says Xue. As such, the space will host artist talks, open studio tours, and other public programs in its 4,800 square foot studio space in the Fashion District.

The hope is to spark an international dialogue through art for promote cultural understanding, says Xue, who led a three-year artist-in-residence collaborative exchange program between the K11 Art Foundation and the UK’s Royal Academy of Arts from 2018 to 2020.

“This experience has helped many artists discover more about the world and themselves,” said Xue.

Drawing on Xue’s expertise in the field, Horizon plans to open an artist-in-residence exchange program in Beijing or Shanghai, although there is no timeline for this yet. “We’re thinking about an exchange that could take place between Los Angeles and China and Asia in general,” Lew says. “To really have artists between the two places in residence and to go back and forth. “

The Horizon team also works in other areas. Li is a co-founder, along with Xue, of the for-profit editorial platform NFT Outland, which launched earlier this month. Xue too is Outland’s artistic director for Asia, while Lew is the company’s chief artistic director.

Lew says there is no connection between the two companies. “They are two separate entities,” he notes.

Hu, who finances Horizon with Li, works with the family business, a production company in Hangzhou, China.

Horizon aims to welcome artists from around the world, but due to the pandemic – and uncertainty over travel restrictions that could be in place early next year – its four inaugural artists come from North America.

All of them, however, are at pivotal moments in their careers.

“It was really important for us to be able to provide an opportunity for artists who would feel transformative,” Lew said. “A lot of artists at this early to mid-career stage may still have day jobs or other things they depend on for a living. And here is a chance to focus on his art 24/7 for the duration of the residency.

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