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Dashanzi Art District
2 Jiu Xian Qiao Lu (Chaoyang)
(86) 010-6437-6248 | www.798art.org
HOURS/TIMESVaries by gallery
PRICEVaries by gallery
RESERVE IN ADVANCEYes - for special events at individual galleries
WAIT TIME WITHOUT RESERVATIONVaries
HIGHLIGHTSUllens Center for Contemporary Art; 798 Photo Gallery
In the mid-1990s, fleeing the pressures of the city’s censors and attracted by cheap rents, Beijing’s contemporary artists packed up and headed for the ‘burbs. A number of them set up camp in the airy Bauhaus-style warehouses of what was once the East German-built Joint Factory 718, a state-owned electronics factory. With their industrial design and faded Cultural Revolution slogans, the sprawling buildings themselves are fascinating to ramble around, but the main attractions these days are the buzzing contemporary galleries, studios, and boutiques packed inside that have flourished since around 2000. Highlights include the polished Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, the 798 Space (which was the area’s original gallery), and the 798 Photo Gallery, though there are funky gems to be found in many of the smaller galleries, too.
GO HERE WITH
Art buffs; friends; a date
WHY WE LIKE IT
It’s a lovely spot for a wander. Bring a friend and spend an afternoon traipsing through galleries, browsing the hip arty boutiques, and lounging with espressos at one of the many trendy cafés dotted around the area. Some complain that the art is losing its edge as 798 becomes more “commercial,” but we always manage to spot a one-of-a-kind treasure or two.
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The layout of the area can be bewildering for first timers, and the hundreds of signs shooting off in all directions only complicate matters. Be prepared to ask for directions if you’re looking for something specific. (The maps are of little help.)
GOOD TO KNOW
If you’re looking to make an artistic investment, keep your eyes peeled for professional buyers from major collections (they’re actually surprisingly easy to spot), because they’re usually shopping for the pieces that will be going for millions in a few months' time. There’s no subway in this neck of the woods, so take a cab to get here.
Read more about Dashanzi Art District in The Diary
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