Shenzhen Biennale Removes Gary Xu Gang From Position As Curator Due To Misconduct Allegations
By Ophelia Lai
The Shenzhen Biennale released a statement on March 15 announcing the termination of Gary Xu Gang, one of three curators of its inaugural 2018 edition, due to allegations of misconduct leveled against Xu that have been circulating online. These accusations surfaced when Wang Ao, assistant professor of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, posted a statement on social media, claiming that Xu, a former associate professor in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), has been sexually harassing his female students for the past 20 years.
Wang’s statement was preceded by his post on zhihu.com—a Chinese question and answer site similar to Quora—asking about Xu’s alleged misconduct, which prompted an anonymous woman to come forward with information on physical abuse that she claims she suffered at Xu’s hands. The woman, who says she was in a relationship with Xu while he was teaching at UIUC, shared photos of a large bruise covering part of her face and her petition for an emergency order of protection against Xu, filed on August 10 in 2015 at the Sixth Judicial Circuit Court of Illinois.
Wang’s original posts about Xu have been deleted, and access to a news article about the allegations has also been blocked.
The statement released by the Shenzhen Biennale highlighted its mission of spreading positivity through art, and announced that after conducting research into the controversy, the organization has decided to terminate its cooperation with Xu.
Xu has denied all allegations of misconduct and assault against him.
Ophelia Lai is an editor at ArtAsiaPacific.
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