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Curating queerness and queering curation: Exhibiting queer Chinese art in Europe

Bao, Hongwei



This article examines the curatorial strategies of the Secret Love exhibition, the biggest queer Chinese art exhibition outside Asia to date. The exhibition brought together 150 works created by 27 queer Chinese artists. It first took place at the Museum of Far Eastern Antiquities (MFEA) in Stockholm, Sweden, from 21 September 2012 to 31 March 2013, and subsequently toured to other museums in Europe. The exhibition raises the critical question of how one can curate queer Chinese art when definitions of queerness, Chineseness and art remain unstable and contested. This article proposes queer curating – that is, collecting and exhibiting genders, sexualities and desires in an art gallery or museum setting without reinscribing social norms and reinstating identity categories – as a critical curatorial method. Queer curating challenges fixed identity categories and dominant power relations; it also explores a non-essentialist and anti-identitarian mode of curatorial practice. As an example of transnational and transcultural curating, the Secret Love exhibition compels us to consider how curators can work with the structural constraints of exhibition and discursive spaces to create new curatorial possibilities.


Bao, H. (2022). Curating queerness and queering curation: Exhibiting queer Chinese art in Europe. Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, 9(1-2), 313-332.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Sep 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Dec 19, 2022
Publication Date Nov 1, 2022
Deposit Date Oct 30, 2022
Publicly Available Date Nov 2, 2023
Journal Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art
Print ISSN 2051-7041
Electronic ISSN 2051-705X
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 9
Issue 1-2
Pages 313-332
Keywords Secret Love; queer; art; curation; exhibition; sexuality; transnationalism; transculturalism; museum
Public URL
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