Beijing
Art Guide

Contemporary art exhibitions, news and editorial from Beijing.

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Contemporary art sprung up in many cities after China's reform and opening in 1979, but Beijing quickly emerged as the most dynamic. Pioneering exhibitions by artists and collectives such as the Stars Art Group helped establish the city's reputation for an energetic art scene that drew in artists from around the country and then collectors from abroad. Now, with the art market thriving in Shanghai, Beijing is no longer the uncontested home of Mainland Chinese contemporary art, but its galleries and museums continue to put on some of the best exhibitions in the country.

The Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) has long anchored Beijing's art scene with important retrospectives and surveys, such as Bao Dong and Sun Dongdong's ON / OFF (2013), an authoritative overview of Chinese artists born after 1975. After the museum's original owners withdrew funding, the UCCA's future looked doubtful, but director Philip Tinari cobbled together financing to ensure it endures at the heart of the 798 Art District in the northeast of the capital.

Many of Beijing's leading galleries can also be found in 798, including Beijing Commune, Boers Li, Galerie Urs Meile, Long March Space, Magician Space, Tabula Rasa Gallery, PIFO Gallery, the Hive Center for Contemporary Art, Platform China, and Tang Contemporary Art. There are also a number of important and engaging art spaces, including private institutions M WOODS and the Faurschou Foundation.

Many more of the top galleries are located just a short drive further northeast in Caochangdi, and while some have been evicted by the state, Chambers Fine Art, INK Studio, White Space Beijing, and ShanghART Beijing still remain for the moment. The 20,000-square-metre Red Brick Art Museum—founded by Yan Shijie and Cao Mei in 2014—is also located in the northeast of the city.

Between them, 798 and Caochangdi host Gallery Weekend Beijing each March, prior to Art Basel in Hong Kong. In 2019, the Beijing Art Summit was inaugurated to supplement galleries' exhibitions with a talks programme hosted by UCCA.

Other key galleries and institutions that warrant a special trip are largely to be found in the east of the city, including Aye Gallery in Dongcheng District and the China Academy of Fine Art (CAFA) Art Museum, the Beijing Minsheng Art Museum, Vitamin Creative Space, Song Art Museum and OCAT Institute. Out west, another noteworthy nonprofit is Beijing Inside-Out Art Museum.

Among the most intriguing independent art spaces are The Bunker, which is both literally and figuratively underground, hutong storefront Arrow Factory and DRC No. 12, a scrappy little art space in a former Diplomatic Residential Compound, all of which are in Chaoyang District.

While Beijing has struggled to build an art fair to rival the likes of Art Basel in Hong Kong, JINGART—established by the co-founders of Shanghai's ART021—is starting to get some buzz after its inaugural year in 2018, filling out the calendar alongside Beijing Contemporary and Art Beijing.

Image: Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China. Photo: Andrey Filippov (CC BY 2.0).

Featured Current Exhibitions In Beijing

Current Exhibition | Beijing
7 November 2020–31 January 2021
Xie Nanxing

A Roll of the Dice

Galerie Urs Meile View Exhibition
Xie Nanxing, What to Exhibit No. 1 (2017). Oil on canvas. 190 x 300 cm. Courtesy the artist and Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing-Lucerne.
A Roll of the Dice
Current Exhibition | Beijing
7 November 2020–6 February 2021
Chen Dandizi

TROPICAL ROOM

Hua International View Exhibition
Chen Dandizi, The Romantic Hunter (2020). Dual-frequency video. Courtesy of the artist.
TROPICAL ROOM
Current Exhibition | Beijing
6 November–20 December 2020
Wang Jieyin

Boundless Sky – Wang Jieyin’s New Ink Paintings

Asia Art Center View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Wang Jieyin, Boundless Sky – Wang Jieyin’s New Ink Paintings, Asia Art Center, Beijing (6 November–20 December 2020). Courtesy Aisa Art Center. 
Boundless Sky – Wang Jieyin’s New Ink Paintings
Current Exhibition | Beijing
31 October–12 December 2020
Group Exhibition

Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Abstract Painting

Tang Contemporary Art View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Group exhibition, Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Abstract Painting, Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing (31 October–12 December 2020). Courtesy Tang Contemporary Art. 
Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Abstract Painting
Current Exhibition | Beijing
16 October–20 December 2020
Han Feng, Hu Liu, Ouyang Chun, He Wei, Liu Weijian, Sun Xun, Yan Bing, Zhao Yang

Winding Time

ShanghART View Exhibition
Exhibition view: Group exhibition, Winding Time, ShanghART, Beijing (16 October–20 December 2020). Courtesy ShanghART, Beijing.
Winding Time
Current Exhibition | Beijing
30 September 2020–3 January 2021
Curated by Jenny Chen Jiaying

AI: Love and Artificial Intelligence

Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing View Exhibition
Exhibition view: AI: Love and Artificial Intelligence, Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing (30 September–3 January 2021). Courtesy Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing.
AI: Love and Artificial Intelligence

Beijing In Ocula Magazine

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Current Exhibitions In Beijing

View All Exhibitions (205)
Contemporary art exhibition, Xie Nanxing, A Roll of the Dice at Galerie Urs Meile, Beijing
7 November 2020–31 January 2021 Xie Nanxing A Roll of the Dice Galerie Urs MeileBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Chen Dandizi, TROPICAL ROOM at Hua International, Beijing
7 November 2020–6 February 2021 Chen Dandizi TROPICAL ROOM Hua InternationalBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Wang Jieyin, Boundless Sky – Wang Jieyin’s New Ink Paintings at Asia Art Center, Beijing
6 November–20 December 2020 Wang Jieyin Boundless Sky – Wang Jieyin’s New Ink Paintings Asia Art CenterBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Abstract Painting at Tang Contemporary Art, Beijing
31 October–12 December 2020 Group Exhibition Painting and Existence: Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Abstract Painting Tang Contemporary ArtBeijing
Contemporary art exhibition, Curated by Jenny Chen Jiaying, AI: Love and Artificial Intelligence at Hyundai Motorstudio Beijing
30 September 2020–3 January 2021 Curated by Jenny Chen Jiaying AI: Love and Artificial Intelligence Hyundai Motorstudio BeijingBeijing

Ocula Member Galleries In Beijing

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Asia Art Center contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Asia Art Center Taipei, Beijing, Shanghai
Beijing Commune contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Beijing Commune Beijing
Chambers Fine Art contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Chambers Fine Art New York, Beijing
de Sarthe contemporary art gallery in de Sarthe, Beijing, China de Sarthe Beijing, Hong Kong
Galerie Urs Meile contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Galerie Urs Meile Beijing, Lucerne
HdM GALLERY contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China HdM GALLERY London, Hangzhou, Beijing
Hua International contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Hua International Beijing, Berlin
Pace Gallery contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Pace Gallery New York, London, Geneva, Palo Alto, Hong Kong, Seoul, Beijing
ShanghART contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China ShanghART Beijing, Shanghai, Singapore
Tang Contemporary Art contemporary art gallery in Beijing, China Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok
Tang Contemporary Art contemporary art gallery in Beijing 2nd Space, China Tang Contemporary Art Hong Kong, Beijing, Bangkok

Contemporary Institutions In Beijing

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