BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

It’s seemingly everywhere

Since the opening of the Chinese economy in the 1980s, the Chinese art market has been rapidly expanding, later experiencing a boom and eventually making headlines around the world. Works by Chinese artists command record prices, and the local Beijing scene has grown like wildfire. But asking where the hotspot of Chinese contemporary art is centered yields no reliable answer; it’s seemingly everywhere. New artist neighborhoods and complexes are constantly emerging, and the art scene is developing as quickly as the Chinese economy itself. And museums are multiplying so fast that one speaks of the phenomenon of "museumification" in China: In addition to traditional institutions, such as the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC), there is a new generation of collectors who are building their own private museums. Examples include the Beijing He Jing Yuan Art Museum and the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA), which was founded by the Belgian collectors Guy and Myriam Ullens. Young art can also be discovered in exhibitions at the CAFA Art Museum of the Beijing Art Academy, or at the Art Beijing art fair, in April, as well as at the Beijing International Art Biennale (BIAB), from September to October. The most well known art address is 798 Art Zone, also called Dashanzi Art District, in the northeast part of the city. The former factory site has evolved since the mid-1990s as a magnet for galleries and creative people. Not far away are other artist quarters, like the Jiuchang Art Complex, the Caochangdi district, or the artist colony Songzhuang Art Community. Among the important galleries in Beijing are the Aye Gallery, the Long March Space, White Space Beijing, and, of course, the international galleries that have opened branches here, including Pace from New York, the Italian Galleria Continua, or the Swiss galleries Boers-Li Gallery and Galerie Urs Meile.