the arts of beijing
Not everything about Beijing's culture belongs to days gone by. The city today is a showcase of dynamism, and its earthy character and attitudes are unlike anywhere else.
The contemporary art scene is vibrant, and you can visit one of many treasure chests of Chinese art during your stay. With an area of 27,000 square metres, the National Art Museum of China has the largest collection of paintings, sculpture, calligraphy and handicraft by modern and contemporary artists. Wanfung Art Gallery occupies two old buildings in the Beijing Archives complex. With impressive red doors and intricately carved roof eaves, Wanfung offers over 13,000 original masterpieces and promotes the work or emerging painters. Also known as Dashanzi, 798 Art Zone is the concentrated hub of Beijing’s leading contemporary art galleries. Housed in the former 718 factory for military electronics, its rare architectural style makes it a sight in itself and it is without a doubt the most important art and design establishment in Beijing. Red Gate Gallery and Creation Gallery pay special attention to artists who are passionate about oriental culture and whose works portray Chinese traditions.
For an intimate encounter with masters of oil painting, Aman at Summer Palace, Beijing arranges exclusive visits to home studios.
The performing arts in Beijing is most evident in the resurgence of the Jingju (Peking Opera) and the growing attention paid to Chinese-style ballet. Now reintroduced as part of the curriculum in 22 Beijing middle schools, Jingju is a national art form making a innovative comeback to appeal to old and new fans alike. A visit to the Chinese Dance Academy offers a memorable introduction to Chinese-style ballet through performances by the 700 or so talented girls who aspire to one day become members of leading dance troupes.