During my travels, I was once stuck in Beijing for longer than originally expected and, having been to the city before, wondered what exactly I could do with this extra time that was different to what I had done before. So, as I was staying at the Kempinski Hotel Beijing very close to the famous 768 Art Zone, I decided to get a taste of China’s answer to Greenwich Village. Here are some of the must-see galleries, exhibits and installations in the zone.
798 Space was the first gallery to open in the Dashanzi Art District, and is very much home to the avant-garde and trendy. It hosts an array of high-level cultural, artistic and commercial activities as opposed to merely focusing on national and international exhibitions, and also includes a nine metre high exhibition space. The space also plays host to many high-profile fashion shows and product launches.
China Art Seasons
The Singapore chains Beijing-branch of Art Seasons is housed in a 1950s Bauhaus style building, which adds a contemporary feel to the Dashanzi area. The China Art Seasons contains many large-scale experimental art exhibitions, and is a favourite among collectors. The gallery also acts very much as a showcase for the artists who exhibit there, as many move onto major galleries and auction houses to be found in the West after showing here.
A relatively new edition to 798 is Pace Beijing, introduced in 2008 by the New York gallery PaceWildenstein. With the modus operandi of introducing contemporary art to an Asian audience, the gallery has greeted a prestigious and cosmopolitan roster since its opening, including works by Chuck Close, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami. Housed in a former factory from the 1950s, the gallery was designed by New York architect Richard Glockman, who was also responsible for Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol museum. The gallery is on the brink of opening a new exhibition entitled ‘Beijing Voice’ by acclaimed Chinese surrealist painter Zhang Xiaogang.