798 Art District

798 Art District information

Běijīng , China
cnr Jiuxianqiao Lu & Jiuxianqiao Beilu; 酒仙桥路
Getting there
Bus: 403, 909
Subway: Line 14 to Jiangtai, exit A
Opening hours
galleries 10am-6pm, most closed Mon
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A vast area of disused factories built by the East Germans, 798 Art District, also known as Dàshānzi (大山子), is Běijīng’s main concentration of contemporary art galleries. The industrial complex celebrates its proletarian roots in the communist heyday of the 1950s via the retouched red Maoist slogans decorating gallery walls and statues of burly, lantern-jawed workers dotting the lanes. The giant former factory workshops are ideally suited to multimedia installations and other ambitious projects.

You could easily spend half a day wandering around the complex. There are signboards with English-language maps to guide you around.

Some of the bigger galleries include the 798 Art Factory , a Bauhaus hangar-like space with its ceiling decorated in 1950s Maoist slogans, and original machinery scattered among changing art exhibitions by Chinese and foreign artists. The Danish gallery Faurschou Foundation Beijing has exhibitions by internationally acclaimed artists, with past shows including the likes of Lucien Freud, Ai Wei Wei, Andy Warhol and Yoko Ono. Springs Centre of the Arts also exhibits headliner artists from both China and abroad. UCCA is another big-money gallery with immense, modern exhibition halls and the attached cool UCCA Design Store .

Other highlights include the Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art which showcases young avant-garde Chinese artists in a lovely space; Zhu Bingren Art Museum features the copper and bronze sculpture of renowned Shandong artist Zhu Bingren. Also check out the Pyongyang-based Mansudae Art Studio , which exhibits North Korean artists and sells DPRK collectibles.

There are also plenty of quirky open-air sculptures scattered around the site. The caged dinosaurs out front of 798 Art Factory are popular, while original socialist realism sculptures in the southwest of the complex include a headless Chairman Mao statue. Nearby are shipping containers used as a canvas by graffiti artists. The area around 798 Live House is the best for stencils, murals and other street art.