Galleries abound in the Dashanzi Art District, better known as 798 after a Bauhaus-style, Soviet-funded factory designed by East German architects in the 1950s. Direct your taxi to the main Number 4 gate which is a can’t-miss Communist shade of red, then start your crash course on contemporary Chinese art at Timezone 8 bookshop. Then, it’s off to the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, showcasing modern Chinese works and international art in China through exhibitions, film screenings, and discussions. (The gift shop, too, is a must if you want to snap up some of China’s chicest souvenirs.) Even the tableware at UCCA’s restaurant, Super Ganbei, is designed by some of our favorite homegrown artists. After lunch, drop in to see what’s on the walls at Continua, Tang Contemporary Art, and the always boundary-pushing Long March Space. This is where Sotheby’s and Christie’s darlings such as Yue Minjun, whose menacing “laughing face” pictures sell for millions, got their start. To hunt for tomorrow’s art stars, hop back into your trusty taxi to the less touristed Caochangdi Village, a mere five minutes’ drive from 798. Pop in and out of this next-gen crop of art spots including the Ai Weiwei-designed China Art Archives and Three Shadows Photography Art Centre, the first gallery in China dedicated exclusively to photography and video art. Urs Meile Gallery also deserves your attention, as does a gander around China art pioneer Meg Maggio’s 6,000-square-foot Pékin Fine Arts for one last glance at what’s ahead for Asia’s most dynamic art scene.
798 Art District is located in the Dashanzi area, to the northeast of central Beijing. It runs between Jiuxianqiao Road and Jiuxianqiao East Road, presenting a host of galleries, art centers, artists’ studios, and design companies. Start your journey at Number 797 Road for Continua, Tang Contemporary Art, and the Long March Space.
798 DISTRICT: 86-(0)10-5978-9798; 798district.com
TIMEZONE 8: 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu; 86-(0)10-5978-9917; timezone8.com
ULLENS CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY ART: 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu; 86-(0)10-6438-6675; ucca.org.cn
CONTINUA: 2 Jiuxianqiao Lu; 86-(0)10-5978-9505; galleriacontinua.com
TANG CONTEMPORARY ART: Gate 2, Jiuxianqiao Lu; 86-(0)10-5978-9610; tangcontemporary.com
LONG MARCH SPACE: 4 Jiuxianqiao Lu; 86-(0)10-5978-9768; longmarchspace.com
CHINA ART ARCHIVES: 200 Caochangdi; 86-(0)10-8456-5152; archivesandwarehouse.com
THREE SHADOWS PHOTOGRAPHY ART CENTRE: 155A Caochangdi; 86-(0)10-6432-2663; threeshadows.cn
URS MEILE GALLERY: 104 Caochangdi; 86-(0)10-6433-3393; galerieursmeile.com
PÉKIN FINE ARTS: 2412 Caochangdi; 86-(0)10-5127-3220; pekinfinearts.com