A Designa in China

By Joe Duffy Dec 5, 2006

Sorry, I just couldn’t resist hamming it up with all the outdoor art in the 798 Arts District of Beijing. What is it about outdoor sculpture that makes you need to become a part of it? … or maybe it’s just me.
Anyway, one of our student interpreters, Vera, snapped me every time I came across some “street art” and I captured her as the live element in a sequential photo piece at the 798 Art Space, where we held the One Show China awards ceremony last year. Pics attached.
This section of the city is a stark contrast to the places most tourists focus on in the capitol. Tianneman Square, The Forbidden City, The Great People’s Hall and much of the architecture throughout, is completely out of human scale and seriously intimidating. 798 is just the opposite. Everything is approachable and up close and the range of contemporary art being done is incredible. There couldn’t be a more un-Beijing scene in Beijing.
Sculptors, painters and fashion designers can be seen doing their thing by just walking down the street and peering through the windows. Galleries and performing art spaces are intermixed with coffee shops, restaurants and book stores that will remind you of Soho, NY twenty years ago. Here’s hoping that 798 doesn’t meet the same fate but I’m afraid it’s inevitable - nothing beats art and it’s makers when it comes to driving up the price of real estate.
By the way, speaking of art, do not miss my favorite BJ restaurant, The Green Tea House - now in two convenient locations for your dining pleasure in Beijing. I had a great time in the original spot the other night with my adopted niece, Megan Fallon and her two school mates, Allie and Sarah, who are all doing their semester abroad in Chinese studies here. We couldn’t decide whose dish looked the coolest but I think Allie won out
The place is beautifully designed and each dish is a work of art. Check out this link and get a reservation in advance when you come to Beijing.

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