David Spalding is an award-winning American curator, arts writer and editor based in Beijing. His practices are unified by a desire to build bridges between contemporary art, its interpretive frameworks and a wide range of audiences. From 2006 to 2009, Spalding was curator at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, the first international art center of its kind in China, where he helped to shape the arts program and organized solo exhibitions and new commissions with a variety of artists, including Meshac Gaba, Feng Mengbo, Mona Hatoum, Won Ju Lim, Navin Rawanchaikul, Lawrence Weiner, and Yin Xiuzhen. As an independent curator, Spalding has initiated many collaborative exhibition projects, both in Asia and the SF Bay Area. Ghosts in the Machine, which comprised an exhibition, publication and extensive public programs, received an Access to Artistic Excellence award from the (US) National Endowment for the Arts. More recent projects include Weng Wei: Chasing Sites (Pékin Fine Arts, Beijing) and Even in Arcadia (San Francisco Camerawork). Spalding’s latest curatorial endeavor, Doublethink: The Art of Kata Legrady and Wang Luyan, will open this fall at the Hong Kong Arts Centre.
A well-respected critic, Spalding has published more than one hundred texts on contemporary art in books and periodicals, having served as contributing editor for Art Papers, Contemporary, Flash Art and Modern Painters magazines over the last decade. He was the first China correspondent for Artforum and the founding editor-in-chief of the popular web platform ARTINFO China. In 2011, his writing about art was honored with an award from the Andy Warhol Foundation. In addition to his ongoing work for Artforum, Spalding currently writes a regular column for Frieze magazine. He is also the editor of King of Kowloon: The Art of Tsang Tsou-choi (Bologna: Damiani Press, fall 2013) and is currently at work on Art School (London: Phaidon Press, fall 2014). Before relocating to China in 2005 with the support of a research grant from the Asian Cultural Council, Spalding taught modern and contemporary art history, critical theory and writing at the California College of the Arts (CCA) and Mills College. He is a proud graduate of CCA’s graduate program in Visual & Critical Studies. Spalding sits on the Academic Advisory Board of Hong Kong’s Asia Art Archive.
“In the Garden of Mirrored Flowers and Forking Paths: Notes from the Edges of Beijing” is a multi-part Dispatch and digital Reading Room commissioned by Independent Curators International for their online platform and print publication (Fall 2011).
“A Finale of Broken Spells,” Modern Painters (cover story), September 2010.
“The AI Interview: Rirkrit Tiravanija,” Artinfo.com, January 13, 2010.
“Beijing’s New Luxe Life,” Artinfo.com, October 23, 2009.
“The Political Is Personal: The 11th Istanbul Biennial,” Artinfo.com, October 13, 2009.
Ghosts in the Machine
SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA
October 5 – November 18, 2006
This exhibition and its related publication, which grew from Spalding’s VCS thesis project, explored the ways that pieces of the past return to haunt the present in contemporary lens-based artwork. Received National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence Award. Curator walk-thru filmed for KQED television.
- 7.29.2013 / Chatface Interview with David Spalding on Facebook
- 09.24.2011 / David Spalding Publishes in Art Agenda