- China Tours +
- Create My Trip
- Destinations +
- Travel Guide +
- China Visas
- The Great Wall of China
- China’s Top 10 Attractions
- Giant Pandas
- The Terracotta Army
- Best of China
- Culture +
- Asia Tours
- Day Tours
Coming to China as an art lover is a wholly different experience, as delving straight into the Chinese art world will help in further understanding China as a country, as well as its culture. This is a list of some of the city's best places to get a taste for the Chinese art community, whether it be of international artists through exhibitions at big art centers, or of smaller local artists living together in art communes — this city truly has it all.
One of the most prestigious art galleries in the 798 Art Zone, and even in Beijing. The UCCA has a constant flow of local and international temporary art exhibitions, and a few other aspects; an art store, a design store and a creative studio. This art gallery is a highlight within the 798 art district, and is also good enough for art lovers to plan an entire day around. Thursdays are an especially great day to come here as admission is free and the center organises hourly art walking tours.
Designed by famous Chinese architect Dong Yugan, the Red Brick Contemporary Art Museum is a not for profit art museum with aims to collect, research and exhibit both contemporary World and Chinese art. The museum is intricately designed to fit various art exhibitions at the same time, and be able to showcase other types of performance arts throughout the buildings and surrounding land. To top it all off, the Red Brick Contemporary Art Museum is surrounded by tranquil Chinese gardens. This museum is perfect for those keen on exploring Beijing's developing and modern art and public space movement, and is a little bit further out from the city in a newly urbanized area.
Caochangdi is the new 798 Art Zone, and is a located in the North of Beijing, not far from 798 if you want to fit both into one day. This area was partially made famous by Ai Weiwei, who lives and works here, often spotted by people visiting the area. Egg Gallery is a Chinese art gallery with a combination of permanent and temporary art exhibitions, and it also boasts antiques and furniture. The artists on display are both local and international, and at the moment they boast Xu Ruotao, Alain Urrutia, Wu Zhenhuan and Martin Wehmer. There is also an outdoor spot that hosts performing arts events.
This artist village, towards the north of Beijing's confines, has taken in a lot of artists who used to live in the original 798 Art Zone or even in Caochangdi but can no longer afford it following the wave of gentrification and commercialization. It is perfect for those who prefer to wander around artists' workspaces as opposed to art galleries and shops. This area is way less commercial, meaning there are also no restaurants and coffee shops. However, there is no lack of independent artists who have come here for the cheap rent, as well as the abundance of materials and resources from surrounding construction sites and scrap metal locations. A few times a year there are special open days at the village, contact us for more information about planning your visit around these.
Red Gate Gallery was Beijing's first private gallery founded by Australian Brian Wallace in the 1980s, and is special not only for the art it exhibits, but also because of its location: the southeastern tower of Dongbianmen, one of the only Ming Dynasty towers to survive after Beijing's old city wall was destroyed. It displays objects from China, mainly a combination of the traditional and the contemporary. Some of the artists represented here include Liu Dao, Chen Qingqing, Chen Yufei and Han Qing, and there is also a range of Chinese ethnic minority art on display.
The Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the bigger art collections, and often organises for the collaboration of international artists with local academics and artists. It is located close to a forest park, in Beijing's Songzhuang Town, an area that is also well known for its artist population. The artists on display here include Dai Guangyu, Jing Yumin, Jing Shijian, Qin Feng, Wang Yiqiong and Burigude Zhang.
With branches in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Beijing, Tang Contemporary Art Gallery in the popular 798 Art Zone has a range of amazing international exhibitions. Some come and go, and others are permanently housed here. To find out more about which exhibition is currently available, check on their website as listed below. Some of the artists that exhibit here are Liu Xiaodong, Wang Du, Rirkrit Tiravanija and Yang Jiechang.
German gallery Alexander Ochs also has a branch in Beijing's, and has made a huge impact on the scene. Ai Weiwei is one of the artists that was showed here, and the gallery has displayed a lot of famous Chinese artists on their own, or in collaboration with international artists. At the moment, a collection called "My Chinese Friends" is displayed, but check the website to see which exhibition is showing when you are in Beijing.
Intelligentsia Gallery has set up a lot of interesting exhibitions, not all of them within the confines of the gallery, but incorporating other venues throughout the city. One of their most interesting ones was in one of Beijing's seedy hour-by-hour hotel rooms, investigating and experimenting with the space of a room.
Caochangdi Art Zone is also home to a lot of other types of artistic spaces, for example Video Bureau, which also has a space in Guangzhou. Video Bureau is a gallery that aims to combine the spaces of film and art. It is a non-profit institute, and collects, exhibits, and archives video art. This is an especially interesting visit, and a must on a trip to Caochangdi, as there is only one video archive in Beijing at the moment. The staff here are also very keen to talk to everyone about this project.
If you are specifically interested in Beijing's art scene, all you have to do is contact us and we can ensure that your tour here incorporates everything you wanted to do and see. Especially for temporary exhibitions that are time sensitive, we can plan your China experience around them.