Jay Chou: Art for Art’s Sake

Music and film may have brought Jay Chou to his current standing, but he has also been actively cultivating his presence in the art world. And he is becoming ever more serious.

It’s not hard to find Chou sharing images of artworks by blue-chip artists from Peter Doig to Jean-Michel Basquiat with his 7.4 million followers on Instagram. And he regularly offers a glimpse into his art collection, such as paintings by Gerhard Richter and Frank Stella, through his music videos.

Chou’s passion for art is more than just a hobby. ARTnews named the Mando-pop star as one of the 50 art collectors to watch in 2019. And in 2021, in a first collaboration with auction house Sotheby’s in Hong Kong, he guest curating an exhibition and auction of more than 100 lots of contemporary artworks, including some from art market hot names such as Richard Prince and Loie Hollowell. The auction ended up being a “white glove” sale, with all the lots sold. It grossed $109 million and set records for nine artists.

The pop star’s emergence in the art scene might seem to have come out of the blue. But Chou has repeatedly said that art has been an interest since a young age, and that his recent art initiatives are simply making make his childhood passion known in public.

“I suppose I did grow up surrounded by art,” Chou has said in a 2021 interview, recalling how his art teacher Ye Hui-mei taught him about art as a child.

“Thanks to my mother, I was also reasonably familiar with art history. When I was little, I was always fascinated by how she engaged with different mediums in her art practice. To me she was the greatest artist.”

Market success aside, Chou wants to make art more accessible to a wider audience. Sharing his love for art, and encouraging his fans and followers to appreciate art, is what he cares about most.

“Collecting is about sharing, and the more the merrier,” he said in the 2021 interview. Variety understands that the pop star is cooking up more curated art projects in the near future. “I do this because I hope that through sharing, I can introduce different ways of understanding art to my followers.”

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