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Gary Xu. Photo: Cafa Art Info.

Shenzhen Biennale Fires Curator Gary Xu over Allegations of Sexual Harassment

Curator and educator Gary Xu has been accused of sexual harassment. On Wednesday, March 14, artforum.com.cn reported that writer and professor Wang Ao, an assistant professor of East Asian Studies at Wesleyan University, posted a statement on social media claiming that Xu sexually assaulted his female students over a span of twenty years. Xu denies any wrongdoing.

According to ArtAsiaPacific, an anonymous woman, who said she had previously been in a relationship with Xu, also came forward with allegations of abuse. She shared a picture of her face with a large bruise and a photo of an order of protection she filed against Xu in an Illinois court in 2015 on social media. The woman says the alleged harassment occurred while she was a student of Xu’s at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

In light of the allegations, the Shenzhen Biennale announced today that it would sever ties with Xu, who was tapped to curate the exhibition’s inaugural edition in collaboration with Zehui Tang and Janet Fong. “Given that the center’s attitude and mission is to spread positive energy of art, we, after deliberate consideration, decided to terminate our cooperation with Xu Gang for the 2018 Shenzhen Biennale,” it said in a statement.

Xu currently serves as a professor at the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute. He also previously taught at the Guangzhou Institute and was an associate professor in the department of East Asian languages and cultures at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 

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