798 or 大山子 (dashanzi; "the big mountain") is Beijing much praised art playground, covering an incredible amount of territory with literally hundreds of galleries, restaurants and shops. Yesterday I paid a visit after I was done tutoring and was completely impressed. Its endless; I only saw a fraction of it and I was wandering for hours. The feel is kind of like Chelsea, where galleries are tightly packed and you can hop around for hours. The whole area is in an old munitions plant, with huge pipes and exposed machinery laying amongst Yunnan teahouses, cafes and arthouse bootleg DVD shops. Good art, too.

I saw a gallery devoted entirely to art concerning the Long March, some rather strong anti-Mao stuff, a show of painting from students in North China, an opening of whatever painting that featured some surprisingly good free Chinese wine, etc, etc. I'm certainly going back next weekend to try to catch things I missed.

One of the less populated avenues. Some French gallery around here.
Cafe in a used bookstore
A large painting of the skyline in Beijing. Accurate, eerie and amazingly painted.

I actually live by this building; it's the Beijing Aeronautical School. It's one of the few buildings in this city that actually still has a tremendous Mao statue at the entrance.


about us said...

you're so tender...romantic. every picture is beautiful.
i don't get china's communism, how is it that there can be such a westernized ambience; cafes and bookstores and then the strong censoring?
it's confusing.
by the way, the flowers are lovely.
is beijing really that gray all the time? i know it's a painting but every time i see a photograph it's similar in tone.
blah, blah, blah...
love you,

Anonymous said...

what's up booger? i'm glad you're seeing a lot of art over there. i like the huge cindy sherman poster at that cafe. take more pitures and send them my way. miss you :) ARiel

ross said...

I love you both. It feels strange to be desperately far away from everyone you care about. Sort of numbing.