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Thoughts on China: Beijing’s Bauhaus-riffic 798 Art District

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Another quick note on China before this writer finally succumbs to jet lag. Also in Beijing, if you’re ever visiting but have limited time, it comes recommended that you skip all the usual tourist stops like the Great Wall or the Forbidden City and instead hit up the 798 Art District. It’s one of those places you wonder why, in all your time spent looking at art and museum and design stuff, you’ve never heard about. It’s basically the contemporary art capitol of China, with hundreds of galleries spread throughout former factories designed in a Bauhaus style by exiled East Germans in the 1950s. Hot spots include the 798 Space itself, a gigantic airplane hanger-looking gallery, the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (wherein we probably spent too much money on a signed print of Wang Qingsong‘s Follow Me) and the Paris-Beijing Photo Gallery, which had a great blend of work from both cities spread across two galleries in the district. Even if you aren’t interested in buying or in the contemporary art scene in general, it’s one of those areas that you just want to be in because it’s so dang cool. And architecture buffs will go nuts for all the Bauhaus, with each gallery holding some new piece of interesting building both inside and out. In short, we weren’t in Beijing for long, but a good number of us, on our few breaks, made sure we planned multiple trips back to the 798 area. Lots of our photos of the area are here.

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