Telum Talks To... Anqi Xu, Editorial Director of Arts and Director of Art Projects in Group, Huasheng Media
Anqi Xu, a US-based art editor who takes on a new role at Huasheng Media, has been working on arts for years. Living with arts for most of her life, she is now invited to tell her story with the one of the most fascinating field of human civilisation.
How would you describe your current role?
Working towards the public engagement with art has long been my personal agenda. And I’m more than happy to say that this is the role that I am currently assuming.
You had worked at museums, studios and arts institutes before you joined Huasheng Media. Why did you choose Huasheng to start your career in media?
Referrals have made it a pure serendipity, and I think I clicked with the team instantly. It is a special connection because in addition to the strong titles that Huasheng Media holds, its team is what I loved the most. My colleagues are young and bold, proactive and creative. We have the enthusiasm to accomplish what we think as the best and have the persistence to make it happen.
You were the Chief Editor of Art at Wallpaper* China and T Magazine China prior to the new appointment. What's the biggest difference between the roles?
I would say that it is a very natural transition to take on more editorial work and to collaborate with more group titles while initiating new art projects. I’m particularly excited about the latter—a new line of art projects that we begin to promote, which is a big step that I’m taking and distinguishes my current responsibilities from my previous ones. On one hand, my previous professional experiences before joining Huasheng Media are mostly project-centric; on the other hand, Huasheng Media offers great platforms to generate and execute projects. Hence, I’m both picking up my specialty and following the company’s path of development.
As a US-based journalist, how do you collaborate with editors in Beijing and Shanghai?
There are a lot of texts and calls back and forth, so I sincerely appreciate my colleagues and collaborators for having generously accommodated our time difference.
Can you tell us your stories with art?
My parents are the ones who led me to the art world. Ever since I was little, they would take me to exhibitions, concerts, and cultural events, so I grew up around art. They are also the ones who encouraged me to study art history at college. At school, I took my first art history course during my freshman year in London. And interestingly, although I wanted to become a philosophy major when I started college, I didn’t like philosophy courses but enjoyed those in art history, as the Professor conducted his lectures at prestigious venues such as the British Museum and the National Gallery that exposed me to the charisma of art.
Would you dip yourself into a complete art environment on weekends?
I do enjoy seeing exhibitions with friends on weekends but perhaps only if they are not over-crowded, as I hope to spend time looking at the works. Otherwise, I enjoy working out, reading, watching movies, brunches with friends, and some family time when I’m back at home.
What do you think are the art characteristics of the cities where you've lived?
I am currently relocated to the West coast from New York and have also lived in London as well as Paris. I would describe the art characteristics of Paris as elegant and agile, those of London as weighty and edgy, those of New York as bold and consistent, and those of San Francisco as sun-basked as well as natural.
What should be kept in mind if PRs want to reach out to an art editor?
Not so much. I have to say that I truly respect PRs’ responsibilities and admire how hardworking they are as a group. One note of my personal preferences, though, is that I prefer receiving news streams instead of separate press releases. For example, an organised sheet of what may happen in November would be much easier to review than five emails.
Any recommendation on books or magazines for readers who would like to improve their appreciation to arts?
This is not so much for adults but I highly recommend the children’s books at museum gift-shops. They are carefully selected, interesting as much as insightful, and oftentimes accompany certain thematic exhibitions. Once when I was browsing at the Met, a doll house popup book drew so much of my attention that I immediately bought it for my niece. I believe the content is about Victorian architecture and furnishings, and I’ve never missed the children’s section at the museum gift-shop ever since. For parents, they are a great way to introduce children to the art world.