Art Connoisseur: Cathy Hau
BY SHERRY DEAN CURRERI
In the heart of the stylish Huaihai Center Business District of Shanghai, the upscale shopping mall Shanghai Times Square has become a hot spot for public art exhibitions and free musical concerts, thanks to the efforts of mall Deputy General Manager Cathy Hau.
In 2010 Cathy Hau was bestowed “The Order Of The Italian Star of Solidarity “by the President of Italy. (Presidente Dell Ordine Della Stella Della Solidarieta’ Italiana ). For her extraordinary contribution to bringing and promoting Italian Fashion Design and Art to China. Cathy Hau is honoured as Cavaliere in Italy.
An art lover, Hau realized that many Chinese people were aloof to art because it wasn’t part of their upbringing or education. “The Chinese people feel very intimidated to go to the museums or galleries, because they don’t feel comfortable,” she says. “So we wanted to educate the people and decided to bring the art to the public.”
Hau explains that, in the beginning, it was hard to get artists to participate. “At first the artists were very skeptical because serious artists don’t want to be associated with anything commercial. But I have friends who are very famous artists. I said please and, because they are good friends, they came.”
Once the exhibits got started, the response was very positive and well-known artists now seek Hau out to exhibit. “I no longer have to go to my friends and beg. I have European artists and musicians sending me e-mails saying they want to have performances and exhibitions here.” She laughs. “I say whoa, I’m not an art agent.”
Renowned artists including installation artist Kum Chi Keung and sculptor Qu Guangci have recently participated as part of the Art in Space exhibit, while musical concerts have included Japanese jazz pianist Makoto Ozone, Shanghai pianist and composer Jiang Tian, Italian maestro Giovanni Allevi and many others.
Shanghai Times Square boasts some 100 high-end stores including Gucci, Salvatore Ferragamo, Armani Collezioni, Corneliani, D&G, Baccarat, Versace, Coach, Givenchy, Roberto Botticelli, Tru Trussardi, Pinko, Furla, Max Mara, and ZARA. But Hau is gratified that many people now come to the mall simply to enjoy the art, spending time discussing the works with friends. “Bringing arts to the mall is a very challenging part of my job.” With a smile in her voice she adds, “but I love it!”