Iconic worker
Iconic worker



Beijing, May 12: International Art Festival at Beijing 798 Art District


In the afternoon, while the rest of our tour group visited a Dongcheng District Continuing Learning Center, Llani and I took a taxi to the Beijing 798 Art District, where an international art festival was going on. The location is a huge sprawl of buildings which at an earlier time were a munitions factory. Now there are over 150 art galleries and studios here. Many reminders of the venue’s past are still around, including overhead steam distribution pipes and iconic statues to motivate the factory workers. The galleries have modern art in every possible medium and style.

Art festival banner
Garden through round window

Steam pipes


A few samples of the art works we saw are shown below. They included a huge hanging assemblage of ladders, Styrofoam and nets; a set of flabby doors made from some kind of rubber; a very large sculpture of Chairman Mao’s coat (one of several we saw); a spoof of Mao’s little red books; a sculpture of Lady [Marilyn] Liberty with a Chinese companion; and a video skit made with stop-motion technique and sculpted characters.

Styrofoam thing
Flabby doors

Chairman Mao jacket
Little red books

Twin photos





Duck chefs

Later we rejoined the rest of the group for a Peking Duck dinner at the Hepingmen Quanjude Roast-duck Restaurant, said to be the oldest Peking Duck restaurant in Beijing.