The day before flying out of Beijing for the much awaited Shanxi and Shaanxi provincial visits, we spent the entire afternoon loitering around grooving on endless array of Chinese aesthetics at the Dashanzi Art District, more popularly known as 798 ART ZONE. A huge 500,000 square meter military factory-turned-art complex-turned-tourist attraction situated in Chaoyang District just outside the city proper. Each factory units, once humming with assembly lines and machineries processing military equipments way back some 6 decades ago, were transformed into art galleries, exhibition rooms, cafes and souvenir shops. Talk about beating the swords into plowshares.
I hopped from one showplace to the next at times stopping by some crowd-drawing funny arcades or cramped and crowded shops selling choice items. But the prices here, (again, as expected) make the souvenir items truly worth remembering. And the art galleries, a great deal of them of course, display this all too familiar sign: NO PHOTOS.
Somehow I managed to get away with some “stolen” shots.
798’s premises make it looked like a one big open arts expo. The grounds are filled with attractions and I can look around or turn in every corner and never find a spot without artistic crafts. One interesting element here though, worthy of a subject for photo freaks, is the complex itself. It still speaks of the Great Leap Forward era of giant chimneys, oversized statues, red bricked structures and sawtooth roofs.