798 Art Zone, Beijing [Photo by He Peng]
If you are interested in contemporary Chinese art, there's a place you must go: 798 Art Zone. Located in the northeast suburb of Beijing, the previous factory plant has become a haven for artists from home and even abroad. Artists gather here to open galleries, art studios and cafes, and hold all kinds of art events, making the area the most resounding name in the artistic circle.
The original 798 was once a state-owned industrial plant established in the 1950s. The plant was abandoned in the late 1990s.
It became a "Soho-esque" area of international character, replete with "loft living," attracting attention from all over. Bringing together contemporary art, architecture, and culture with a historically interesting location and urban lifestyle, "798" has evolved into a cultural concept. It is of interest to experts and normal folk alike, influential on concepts of both urban culture and living space.
Cheap rent and quiet surroundings rapidly turned the area into a paradise for artists. More artists moved in and established dozens of art studios, galleries, as well as book stores, cafes and restaurants.
In the 798 Art Zone, there are nearly 400 organizations, including galleries, artists’ private studios, and cultural companies like animated cartoon, television media, publishing, design and consultation. These companies hail from France, Italy, Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Japan, Australia, South Korea, China, China Taiwan, Hong Kong and other countries and regions. The 798 Art Zone has become an exhibition center of Chinese culture and art, an influential cultural creative concentration area home and abroad.
Beijing’s 798 Art Zone brings together a number of celebrities of art and culture, art institutions and enterprises in fashion. Many important international art exhibitions, art activities and fashion shows are often held here, which attract plenty of worldwide political importance, movie stars and social celebrities.
In 2006，the Beijing 798 Art Zone was listed as one of the first concentrations of the cultural creative industry by Beijing Civic and Chaoyang District Governments. It was also named as the “Beijing 798 Art Zone Cultural Creative Industrial Base of Zhong Guan Cun Electronic City” by Zhong Guan Cun management committee. The atmosphere of a “creative zone and cultural park” is forming. In order to boost the prosperity and development of the 798 Art Zone, the Chaoyang District Government and Seven Star group co-founded the Beijing 798 Art Zone Development and Administration office, with the principle of “coordination , service, introduction and management” to boost the development of contemporary art and the cultural creative industry in the art zone.
Beijing 798 Art Zone international activities
Beijing 798 Art Festival：held from the end of April to the end of May, focusing on the exhibition and communication of culture and art.
Beijing 798 Creative Art Festival：held from the end of September to the end of October, focusing on the exhibition and communication of culture and art.
The 798 Art Zone doesn't have a gate or a boundary; when you see a big red post with "798" written on it, you know you have arrived at the art paradise.