Ullens Center for Contemporary Art
Surrounded by the dozens of industrial-chic galleries that make up the 798 Art District, UCCA was founded by Belgian philanthropists Guy and Myriam Ullens. In 2007, they transformed an abandoned military factory into one of China’s most exciting collections of home-grown and international contemporary art. Since then, it has become a centre of international cultural exchange.
They do not have any permanent collections; instead, they host exhibitions by Chinese artists and regularly bring work from around the world to share with the Chinese community. UCCA headlines a smorgasbord of museums that art lovers could spend days exploring in this stylish corner of Beijing, M Woods, the Faurschou Foundation, Commune, Pace, Tang and Galerie Urs Meile are just a handful of the other highlights in the neighbourhood.
Red Gate Gallery
Red Gate Gallery fuses the historic and the modern in a spectacular setting, exhibiting avant-garde art inside a 600-year-old Ming Dynasty watchtower in Dongbianmen. Founded in 1991 by Australian Brian Wallace, who was captivated by Chinese art history, this gallery provides a launchpad for talented Chinese creatives. It also supports the local art community with its ongoing artist-in-residence programme.
Red Brick Contemporary Art Museum
Designed by famous Chinese architect Dong Yugan, the Red Brick Contemporary Art Museum is a not for profit art museum with aims to collect, research and exhibit both contemporary World and Chinese art. The museum is intricately designed to fit various art exhibitions at the same time, and be able to showcase other types of performance arts throughout the buildings and surrounding land. To top it all off, the Red Brick Contemporary Art Museum is surrounded by tranquil Chinese gardens. This museum is perfect for those keen on exploring Beijing's developing and modern art and public space movement, and is a little bit further out from the city in a newly urbanized area.
Galleria Continua was founded in 1990 by Mario Cristiani, Lorenzo Fiaschi, and Maurizio Rigillo. Originally housed in an old cinema in the historical town of San Gimignano, Italy, the gallery’s unconventional location fostered its quirky reputation, which garnered international attention and subsequent acclaim. Embracing its re-purposed setting, the gallery’s mission was and remains to create a dialogue between tradition and progress; history and the future.
In 2005, Galleria Continua launched a new exhibition space in Beijing, and another in Le Moulin, France in 2007. Beijing’s inaugural show exhibited 16 artists from five continents, significant for being one of the first Chinese initiatives by a Western gallery. Thus Galleria Continua merged Eastern and Western audiences at a time when this convergence was still uncommon. The gallery’s three-storey space continues to exhibit Italian and international contemporary art, each exhibition uniquely devised and tailor-made for the space by the artist.
Established in 2008, Pace Beijing continues the powerhouse gallery’s mission to exhibit the post-war era’s most talented, significant, and influential contemporary artists. Pace Beijing is dedicated to promoting contemporary art through groundbreaking exhibitions by the industry’s biggest names: Zhang Xiaogang, Jeff Koons, and Takashi Murakami, to name a few. This international gallery explores the relationship between art and contemporary Chinese culture from within a 1950s factory space renovated by New York City-based architect Richard Gluckman.