HUANG PEI-JU, Close Your Eyes Still Feel – 3:00, 2009, ballpoint pen and acrylic on canvas, 80 × 65 cm. Courtesy IT Park Gallery, Taipei.



Since Taiwan’s Nationalist (Kuomintang) Party won the presidency in 2008, it has implemented  a raft of policies directed  at improving historically strained ties  with China. A free-trade agreement inked in June was hailed as the most important direct agreement between Taiwan and China since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1950. Arts policy has followed suit, with then-director of the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM) Hsieh Hsiao-yun declaring in 2009 that the museum would dedicate two major exhibitions a year to art from mainland China. (Hsieh has since been promoted from TFAM’s directorship to head of Taipei City’s Department of Cultural Affairs.)

Taiwan’s art scene is centered in Taipei, which has a bustling commercial gallery scene, as well as several museums and nonprofit spaces. Principal funding for the arts comes from the government, which devoted a budget of NTD 26.2 billion (USD 850 million) for the development of creative industries to be spent from 2009 to 2013 by three cabinet-level ministries: the Council for Cultural Affairs (CCA), the Government Information Office and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. This comes in addition to the CCA’s regular operating budget, which is the single largest source of arts funding. Taipei City also offers considerable support through the Department of Cultural Affairs, which had a 2010 operating budget of NTD 1.2 billion ($39 million) and distributed an additional NTD 1.1 billion ($36 million) to cultural institutions it oversees, including the nation’s three most important arts institutions: the Taipei Fine Arts Museum (TFAM), MoCA Taipei and AIR (Artist-In-Residence) Taipei, though the latter two also receive funding from other sources. The National Culture and Arts Foundation, which gets most of its budget from the CCA, is also a major source of funding.

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