China’s Art Factory

Posted filed underChina, Contemporary Art.

Art Factory
“An industrial relic turned into a thriving creative arts center that is helping feed a soaring demand for Chinese work

In its heyday 50 years ago it was hailed as one of the best factories in China, with up to 20,000 workers pumping out electronic hardware for military and civilian use. Joint Factory 798 went into terminal decline in the 1980s, and few people today have probably even heard of it. But it was the progenitor of 798 Art Zone, which has blossomed into a venue that enjoys worldwide fame,” writes China Daily.

“The 798 complex, in Chaoyang district, northeast Beijing, has drawn modern and contemporary artists, galleries and institutions from around the globe.

Over the past 10 years the area has become so successful that it is often compared to SoHo in New York, a thriving creative neighborhood full of artists’ lofts and galleries. Driven by the booming Chinese art market, art galleries from many countries, including Pace Beijing, the subsidiary of Pace Wildenstein in the US, and Raab Galerie in Germany, are exploring business and artistic opportunities in China.

The more than 200 art-related organizations clustered in the area make up the most thriving artistic community in China, 798 Art Zone’s website says.

Song Xinyu, curator of Raab China, says Raab’s decision to open its first overseas branch in China was triggered by the spurt in the Chinese art market from 2006 to 2007.

At that time the works of many contemporary artists in 798, such as Yue Minjun and Zhang Xiaogang, sold at auction for millions of dollars in the West.

The market has continued to boom, and according to the Hurun Art List 2012, the value of sales for the top 50 artists was 7.86 billion yuan ($1.24 billion, 1 billion euros), an increase of 88 percent on the previous year and 4.5 times the figure of 2010. ”

Read the whole story at China Daily.