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798 Art District

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Although it’s out on the way to the airport, the 798 Art District (798艺术区, qī jiŭ bā yì shù qū), a collection of art galleries, boutiques and cafés, is the latest hotspot for the arty crowd. Originally, it was an electronics factory; when that closed down in the 1990s artists moved in and converted the airy, light and, above all, cheap spaces into studios. As the Chinese art market blossomed, galleries followed, then shops and cafés. There are exhibition openings every week, and every art form is well represented – though with such a lot of it about, it varies in quality. Many galleries close on a Monday. Note that unlike all other Beijing sites, it’s actually better on a weekend, when there’s a buzz about the place; it can feel dead on a weekday. The most interesting galleries are Galeria Continua, the huge Long March Space, Beijing Commune, Marcella Gallery, the huge Beijing Tokyo Art Projects and White Space; but make sure to pop into the impressive new Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art too.

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