This is a modest beginning for A Future Museum for China. It is a response, a small gesture, inspired by the spirit of generosity and collegiality of “A Wedding” that has been organized by The Pavilion, Beijing, with Para/Site Art Space, Hong Kong.

This project is highly personal: the curator responded to the invitation to contribute a gift to the banquet/benefit by thinking about his relationship to those who will be part of the wedding and the institution that will benefit from it, and extended the invitation to his own community of artists. Many of these artists have little contact and experience with those who initiated this occasion, or with Hong Kong and China.

The original conception for the project was a kind of “exhibition in a suitcase.” Instead of a suitcase, however, the container/exhibition space was imagined as a piece of furniture—specifically, a wedding or dowry chest, to fit the occasion. Just as a dowry traditionally served as “seed money” or property for the establishment of a new household, the chest was intended to function as a “time capsule” that holds the “seed” of an idea—an imagination for a future museum in China. Fourteen artists from as close as Tokyo and Seoul, and as far as New York and Berlin, responded to the curator’s invitation based on friendship and a sincere faith in the vision of this gift.

One of the works included in this presentation is a proposition to select the wedding chest itself. Ultimately, the work suggested that it should not be a chest after all but a security deposit box at a bank. This conceptual and material substitution rethinks this project not simply in a symbolic way but much more concretely. In consequence, what you see here is necessarily and intentionally provisional. This work table displays the generous gestures of those artists who responded to the open invitation, while the symbolism that brought them into action has developed into something different.

The project is bound to continually evolve in the coming months and years. At the conclusion of this exhibition, during the course of which more contributions will be added, a security deposit box will be procured and the works will be stored for safekeeping, in the hope that it can serve as a foundation for the “seed collection” of a future museum in China. We do not know what shape this museum will take or how long we need to wait before its doors open—if it does indeed come into existence in the future. Part of the project’s promise is to continue these conversations with all the participants: Para/Site, The Pavilion, the artists, and many others who will join out of a belief in the necessity of such thinking. Ideals are often built upon such a naiveté, especially when willfully and collectively shared.