Beijing tries to reclaim art attention

China's capital holds its first art summit along with Gallery Weekend Beijing, highlighting Chinese and international works across its major art districts

Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan’s Kissed 1897-2015 (2015, above) and American artist Shara Hughes’ Ole Reliable (2018) are on show as part of Gallery Weekend Beijing.
Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan’s Kissed 1897-2015 (2015, above) and American artist Shara Hughes’ Ole Reliable (2018) are on show as part of Gallery Weekend Beijing.PHOTO: GALLERY WEEKEND BEIJING
Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan’s Kissed 1897-2015 (2015) and American artist Shara Hughes’ Ole Reliable (2018, above) are on show as part of Gallery Weekend Beijing.
Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan’s Kissed 1897-2015 (2015) and American artist Shara Hughes’ Ole Reliable (2018, above) are on show as part of Gallery Weekend Beijing.PHOTO: GALLERY WEEKEND BEIJING
Chinese artist Wu Shanzhuan's Kissed 1897-2015 (2015) (left) and American artist Shara Hughes' Ole Reliable (2018) (above) are on show as part of Gallery Weekend Beijing. Beijing's famed 798 art district plays host to Gallery Weekend Beijing till Fri
Beijing’s famed 798 art district plays host to Gallery Weekend Beijing till Friday. ST PHOTO: TAN DAWN WEI

Beijing may be the birthplace of China's contemporary art scene, but urbanisation, a diminished appetite for envelope-pushing and its political burden have left the city trailing in recent years as Hong Kong and Shanghai surge ahead as the art capitals of Asia.

Not to be outdone, the company that owns Beijing's biggest art district, 798, has over the past three years put its weight behind an annual event that it hopes will attract international attention.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 27, 2019, with the headline 'Beijing tries to reclaim art attention'. Subscribe