A video of the installation process of Shirley Tse’s sculptural artwork ‘Negotiated Differences’ at the M+ Pavilion in Hong Kong.

‘Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders’: Agency in Practice

‘This is our new world, no?’

Suhanya Raffel

What does a museum installation process look like during COVID-19?

Shirley Tse: Stakes and Holders is the response exhibition to Hong Kong’s participation at the 58th Venice Biennale. It is the last exhibition at the M+ Pavilion.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, artist Shirley Tse and guest curator Christina Li were unable to travel to Hong Kong for the installation. The exhibition was installed through extensive dialogue across three different time zones—between the artist in Los Angeles, the guest curator in Amsterdam, and the curatorial and installation team in Hong Kong.

This video documents the three-week installation process of the site-responsive work Negotiated Differences, which relies on close collaboration and negotiation between all of the exhibition’s stakeholders.

Construction workers on a yellow elevated stand working on a neon sign in a street under a blue sky. The neon sign is in the shape of a cow. The words ‘Sammy’s Kitchen Ltd.’ in green English and red Chinese lettering are displayed inside the cow.

Collecting Neon Signs from Hong Kong’s Streets

For the past several years, the government has been flagging Hong Kong’s neon signs for removal due to safety concerns over their condition and size. Since 2013, M+ has been collecting some of these neon signs. Five of them are now in the M+ Collections, alongside a large archive of neon sign design drawings and photo documentation.

The acquisition of these condemned neon signs is in recognition of the important role they have played in the visual culture of Hong Kong: More than just advertisements, they are objects of craftsmanship, graphic design, illustration, and architecture. Reproduced in movies, photographs, artworks, and video games, they are one of the most recognisable identifiers of the city of Hong Kong.

A door in a wall next to a large sign. The sign contains the exhibition title ‘Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice’ and the dates ‘11 May–24 Nov 2019’ in both English and traditional Chinese.

Hong Kong Venice Biennale Interns on Their Most Memorable Moments

What’s it like to greet thousands of international visitors to the Hong Kong exhibition at the Venice Biennale?

The Hong Kong exhibition at the 58th Venice Biennale, Shirley Tse: Stakeholders, Hong Kong in Venice, co-presented by M+ and the Hong Kong Arts Development Council, drew thousands of visitors before wrapping up in November 2019. Who spoke to those visitors? Eight interns who each spent six weeks in Venice giving tours and greeting visitors in the gallery.

After the exhibition ended, we asked each intern: What was the most memorable interaction you had at the gallery? What question were you asked the most? Here are their answers.

A person is taking a selfie of himself with two other people standing on a tower looking out over the Tokyo cityscape. All three people are smiling at the camera.

Outside Hong Kong: Museums as Cultural Ecosystems

What happens when museum workers visit each other?

The M+ International initiative was recently launched to create a platform to discuss current issues facing museums by partnering with international institutions. As part of this project, M+ and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo recently organised a symposium to reconsider the meaning of museum collections.

In addition to this symposium, three M+ team members visited the Mori Art Museum for two weeks to work with and learn from the staff there. We sat down with them to chat about what they learned.


  • William Seung, Curatorial Assistant, Design and Architecture
  • Ping Ping Tung, Exhibition Designer
  • Nixon Wong, Assistant Curator, Learning and Interpretation