Discovering Beijing’s Most Exciting Contemporary Art Galleries
Pace Gallery in Beijing, China (Photo Credit: Sterling Ruby, Wikimedia Commons)
There are few cities worldwide that could claim the same vibrant growth that Beijing’s contemporary art scene has experienced in recent years. Beyond boasting an extraordinary selection of art institutions and landmarks, the Chinese capital is peppered with high-quality spaces dedicated to the display of modern art, making the prospect of a Beijing art gallery tour an essential to-do for those visiting the city.
Conveniently, all nine of the galleries mentioned here are situated in the Chaoyang District, a central hub for the city’s contemporary art culture. Situated in the heart of Chaoyang, a gallery like ShangART is the perfect place to start your tour, its expertise reputed both locally and internationally. Founded in Shanghai over two decades ago, ShangART subsequently expanded both to Beijing and to Singapore, carrying its renown as a leading international art gallery to these new locales. Song Tao and Vincent Leow are among ShangART’s represented artists, and a peek over its exhibition history will evince the bold and experimental curatorial policy that the gallery brand values
Vitamin Creative Space
If you’re looking for existential nourishment alongside artistic fulfilment, head to the Vitamin Creative Space in Pingod. All about invigoration and energy, Vitamin more than lives up to its moniker. In an intriguing amalgamation of the ancient and the modern, the gallery meshes traditional Chinese philosophy with contemporary art forms – a truly unique approach to the presentation of contemporary art that sets Vitamin apart from other contemporary art galleries in Beijing.
Long March Space
For an experience more wholly grounded in the present, a visit to Long March Space is recommended: opened in 2002, Long March is invested in the ongoing search for fresh artistic talent, and never fails to innovate in its frequently changing exhibitions. An expansive display space makes large-scale installations a favourite at Long March.
Galerie Urs Meile
Located in charming red brick buildings, the Galerie Urs Meile is a full-scale art complex, comprising both exhibition spaces and artist workrooms. Dedicated to fostering the development of Chinese contemporary art, Galerie Urs Meile’s associated artists – of which Zhou Siwei, Liu Ding, and Xia Xiawan name a few – affirm it as one of the best art galleries in Beijing.
For another taste of the European try the Galleria Continua, which enjoys an impressive three-decade history that was begun in Tuscany, Italy. Though it has very much maintained its cultural ties to Italy since opening in Beijing in 2004, the Galleria’s diverse programme of artists from around the world reflects its founders’ belief in the global nature of contemporary art.
Pekin Fine Arts
Immediately distinguished by the reflective metal sculpture that sits by its front door, Pekin Fine Arts was designed by none other than Ai Weiwei, China’s leading architect. Having had its art pieces bought and displayed by such institutions as London’s Victoria and Albert Museum and MOMA in New York, few could dispute Pekin’s importance in the Beijing contemporary art gallery landscape.
de Sarthe Gallery
de Sarthe Gallery is similarly world-renowned and expansive to boot, priding itself on the varied collection of modern and contemporary artists that it brings together in its 8,000 square foot space. Alongside highly abstract work by artists like Wang Jiajia you’ll find pieces from Auguste Rodin and Robert Rauschenberg – and with de Sarthe recently opening an additional ‘Project Space’, there’ll surely be no shortage of artwork to peruse.
Pace Gallery Beijing
Make a final stop at Pace Beijing in Beijing’s 798 Art District, an elegantly presented contemporary art gallery with over 22,000 square feet of space to play with. And play it does: Pace Gallery more than keeps up with contemporary art trends both in Asia and across the oceans, making it a fitting last pick on our list of the contemporary art galleries in Beijing.