Western Museums and Cultural Institutions
As institutions embedded in the lofty world of culture, it’s understandable for museums to focus their publicity efforts on exhibitions, works of art, and the movements to which they pertain. But, as Getty Museum’s WeChat results from November demonstrate, detailing the on the ground reality of a museum is essential for engaging with audiences. A post outlining the L.A. institution’s handling of the wildfires that swept through the Santa Monica Mountains in late October was its most read in over six months. Sometimes, it’s worth connecting a museum to current news and its social context.
Casual observers of China’s cultural scene should be aware of the enduring popularity of wenchuang products, well-designed cultural goods created by museums. While many western institutions boast quirky and well-curated gift shop offerings, few publicize them on Chinese social media. The Madrid museum’s most WeChat popular post in several months showcased its finest Mondrian products and included a Mondrian X Swatch giveaway that tied into the Chinese shopping bonanza Singles Day (11.11). Smart move.
Chinese Museums and Cultural Institutions
The second instalment of Palace Museum TV show “New Production: Forbidden City” launched in November. China’s most visited cultural destination has used celebrities and smart story-telling to capture the attention of the country’s younger generation — and sell IP-inspired products in the process. Last year’s debut season was an unprecedented success, scoring 8.1/10 on Douban, the country’s equivalent of Rotten Tomatoes. The show’s new soundtrack comes from girl idol group SING, a move indicative of the cast of younger celebrities involved in the second season. While some have critique the lack of historical depth present throughout the show, Palace Museum’s ability to diversify and connect with gen zers and millennials is certainly eye-opening and stretches beyond WeChat.
UCCA has shaped Beijing’s contemporary art landscape in Beijing for a decade. But the 798-institution’s ambitions stretch beyond the capital, it opened a second location in Beidaihe last year and announced plans for a third branch in Shanghai in 2021 at its annual gala. The project will explore art and urban culture through design, architecture, and fashion with a special focus on supporting young artists through residency programs and exhibitions. Posts on the subject were partly responsible for a 20 percent uptick in November. UCCA Shanghai is the latest cultural institution to put down roots in the city’s burgeoning cultural scene.