Friday, May 20, 2011

798 Art Zone - relax without any temples or palaces.

In a previous blog I mentioned the 798 Art Zone (Dashanzi area). This area, full of converted workshops and military factory buildings from the 1950s, is a mix of Greenwich Village, SoHo and Covent Garden. It was built with Russian help when they were bosom buddies with China in the 1950s, with a touch of East German influence. As the factories closed, so the young artistic community found and built a new home starting around 15 years ago. Gradually designers, photographers and galleries moved in, and the increasing number of tourists brought in trendy bookshops, cafes and restaurants.

As real estate prices in the area rose, the Art Zone was almost closed down a few years ago, but lobbying by prominent figures in the art world has saved the area, making it a 'hip' place to stroll around in alone or with the family. I took some pictures during one short visit recently.

meet all sorts of people!

all done with mirrors
Plenty of places to sit down and have a cup of tea 
yes, that is a dinosaur's tail!

"Reincarnation" by 1970s artist - political themes are less common with these artists, who are more interested in the rapid changes in modern Chinese society.
Dinosaurs in the street as well - but safely caged
This last picture says "Missing You", exactly what I wanted to say to you all!

You will be sure to find something of interest in 798 among all the shops and galleries that thrive in the area. You can even stay in an up-market hotel or eat in my favourite Chinese restaurant in the area just by the north gate. Or just take a break in one of the coffee shops. I can take you there, and also the nearby ceramics shop I talked about in the March 13th blog. Or to the nearby China Railway Museum or another new art area called Caochangdi...oh so much to see in Beijing and so little time!

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