Michael Xufu Huang on Collecting

The eminent millennial collector shares his perspective on taking risks, selecting artists and making his mark in the museum world.

The eminent millennial collector shares his perspective on taking risks, selecting artists and making his mark in the museum world.

Michael Xufu Huang, Collector and X Museum Founder


Michael Xufu Huang, a recipient of Forbes’ 30 under 30 in 2017, has become a legend in the field of contemporary art and amongst the international collecting community. Michael Xufu Huang began pursuing a career in the museum world at only 20 years old, and is now the founder of X Museum, a recently-opened institution in Beijing. “I am very free-spirited. My love for art and propensity for adventure brought me here today,” he reflected. Michael Xufu Huang originally started gaining attention for his personal collection and curated exhibitions. “I collected Amalia Ulman’s Excellences & Perfections and curated Nicolas Party’s first solo exhibition in a museum in China. Chinese collectors began to keep an eye out for artists I discovered, collected and promoted, including artists like Julie Curtiss, Austin Lee, Alex Gardner, George Rouy and Zhang Zipao.”

Nicolas Party: Arches on view in Beijing. 

To make a name in the field as a young collector is not easy. “At the core, you need to have a collection that is one-of-a-kind and search for pieces that represent your personal taste. Likewise, if artists do not challenge the norm and create new visual experiences through their art, how can they make history?” he asked. Yet the young collector was once doubted and overlooked. With experience, he is now able to share his story with other new enthusiasts. “Do pay attention to artists that you can grow with. Rich art knowledge and experience are crucial to instantly distinguish young artists with the most potential. As you see and read more, you refine your aesthetics and can quickly identify a piece’s uniqueness. ‘Practice makes perfect’ does apply to art appreciation. With more practice, you can naturally decide whether to buy and collect new artists.”

The Heart of Tin Man, featuring work by Amalia Ulman, on view in Beijing. 

Michael Xufu Huang believes in millennial collectors’ potential. “The Art Market, Art Basel and UBS’ annual global art market analysis published earlier has recognized our generation as the most influential collectors. At the current age of the internet, information is spread at an unprecedented speed. At the same time, it allows us to interact and resonate with artists around the globe. I trust that we can create an art market that is international and welcoming to new voices.”

Exterior rendering, X Museum, Beijing. 

He additionally hopes to bring young art lovers together through X Museum, stating, “My goal when founding X Museum was to inspire young people to introduce art into their daily lives, as well as to promote young artists, ultimately building a new voice for millennials. I am glad that our board of directors is made up of millennial leaders from different sectors. Together, we are working to make X Museum the top art platform of our generation.”

Sharing the same passion for innovative technology that he has for art, X Museum also offers a virtual museum experience facilitated by 3D virtual reality technology, which has been highly praised in the media and named as one of “The Three Must-See Museums in 2020” by Elle Japan. With the ever-curious public wondering about Michael Xufu Huang’s latest acquisitions, X Museum’s future projects might offer a hint on how his collection has grown.


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