Each week we spotlight the news shedding light on the world of Chinese cultural travel.
Amsterdam’s Van Gogh Museum has worked with Dutch fashion brand, Daily Paper, on a 21-piece capsule collection. Swirling brushstrokes and floral subjects have been printed onto denim jackets, jeans, and hoodies in a collaboration that first launched at Art Basel Miami Beach. With 2.1 million visitors in 2019, The Van Gogh Museum is already a highlight of many an Amsterdam vacation, but it hopes to reach a younger, more culturally diverse market through working with a streetwear retailer that stresses ethnic inclusivity. The art institution follows the likes of New York’s MoMA, which has an ongoing partnership with Japanese chain, Uniqlo, to design clothing aimed at Gen-Yers. This practice has led to the rise of hybrid retail-exhibitions that attract contemporary audiences, including Chinese FIT’s, known to explore art through collaborative products.
Chinese visitor numbers to Australia were strong in 2019, accounting for over 15 percent of the total inbound market, and spending $11.5 billion. Melbourne’s National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has been increasingly focused on curating exhibitions of interest to next-gen travelers from China. Their latest offering, “KAWS: Companionship in the Age of Loneliness”, is one such example. KAWS is an American pop culture phenomenon known for signature vinyl toys and sculptures and collaborations with fashion brands such as Dior and Uniqlo. In China, his popularity was cemented through a 115-foot-long inflatable sculpture that bobbed around Hong Kong harbour during Art Basel last year. Although tourism has been severely affected by the ongoing coronavirus, KAWS seems poised to draw sizable Chinese audiences.
The Cincinnati Museum Center (CMC) enjoyed a record-breaking 2019 with 1.8 million visitors. One factor driving the success is a newfound emphasis on immersive experiences. Its latest offering, “The Cave” at the Museum of Natural History & Science, takes visitors on a plunge through a series of dark, damp, and chilly spaces modelled after Kentucky limestone caves. With waterfalls and the intermittent passage of bats (they are scheduled), visitors can learn from digital displays explaining geology and zoology as they pass through an exhibit spanning two levels and 500 feet. By embracing multi-sensory showings, cultural institutions cater to the expectations of Chinese museumgoers that frequent hi-tech, interactive exhibitions—such the National Museum of China’s Van Gogh exhibition—back home.