Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, 2009, financial newspaper and acrylic on canvas, one of the disputed pieces
On September 2010, I had my first solo show in China, ‘The Sleeper Awakes’, at the now defunct Other Gallery, now How Art Museum in Shanghai. What followed was ten years of fruitless one-sided back and forth, excuses, and audacious requests for discounts over my stolen art, where they have refused to return my works or send me rightful recompense.
I shared my story in hopes of spreading awareness to other artists, collectors, and galleries alike. In the process, I have received invaluable support, and had many share stories of experiences similar to mine. It has strengthened my resolve to not only conclude this chapter, but to utilize my platform to speak out about a problem that is much too common in the art world.
I created this page for all those who have shared their stories, and for all of those who have not. Exploitation in the art world has been a widespread problem for long enough. Artists deserve to make art and be protected by the system we support.
Read more about my story here:
"Gordon Cheung is one of the most innovative and influential painters of his generation. He has won recognition through his ambitious exploration of the interfaces between mediation and art. Notably many of his artworks are made using the legendary pink print of the world’s leading financial newspaper the Financial Times. It is no surprise therefore that the artist takes the value of his work seriously and expects others to acknowledge and remunerate him for works they might purchase, sell on his behalf or license. As his legal administrator of his licensing and Artist Resale Rights in the UK and internationally we are disappointed to hear of the current and ongoing situation where for more than a Chinese gallery has failed to return works or honour a purchase agreement. The Other Gallery in Shanghai exhibited the work of Gordon Cheung and then closed down but its owner Zheng Hao has kept the works and focused his spending on opening a private museum called How Art Museum with a boutique hotel called One Home Art Hotel. Not only does this action dishonour their agreement but Inside the hotel they have decorated it with both paintings and prints of Gordon Cheung. We believe this is wilfully arrogant and would call on all artists and collectors to support the mission of Gordon Cheung to resolve this act of bad faith which undermines the cultural sovereignty of an artist of their work."
– Mark Waugh, Business Development Director of DACS (Design and Artists Copyright Society)
“Many years ago 2-3 of my larger pieces were sold and I never received payment. He also had the rest of my work from the show and, in order to get it back, I had to go back to that city and camp out on his car!! Even then, he tried to give me another artists work in payment. This isn’t an isolated incident. It is a totally unregulated business and anyone can hang up a shingle.”
– Kathryn Maxwell, Artist
“I had a similar situation around the same time but with a Danish gallery I had worked with and trusted for a number of years, until one day he liquidated the gallery owing me just under £50000 and other artists too! The owner had been paying himself a good salary up until the end but was able to walk away leaving the gallery stripped of all assets. It took a few years for me to fully realise just how much it had affected me but I struggled to make work for a while and my trust in working with new galleries took a big hit.”
– Simon Keenleyside, Artist
“Big or small operations. Never received payment for work sold at the end of an artist residency. Work I had left on display I was told was mailed to me but I never received it. The gallery owner never followed through with a post office receipt. Had to chalk it up to a learning experience. He is out of business.”
– Marissa Vidrio, Artist