China's 6 Major Art Happenings of 2018

By Sarah Forman, December 26, 2018

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201812/year-in-review-20181.jpgIt’s been one hell of a year to say the least, particularly for those of us based in China. We’ve seen ‘The Tweeter in Chief’ launch (and then halt) a trade war between the world’s two leading economic powers, Fan Bingbing disappear and then reappear (with a major fine to pay) and another record-breaking Singles’ Day haul for Alibaba. To wrap up 2018, our editorial team has put together a list of the year’s most unforgettable viral stories, recounting major occurrences that defined the worlds of sports, tech, arts, fashion and food. Here’s to another year of eclectic, weird and wonderful life in China, we wouldn’t have it any other way. 

A year-in-review of China’s art scene.

December 2017

Image via Design Society Website

The Victoria and Albert Museum in London opened Design Society at the end of 2017 in Shenzhen. Eight years in the making, it serves as the first dedicated design museum in the city, and the first-ever gallery to explore China’s Reform and Opening period. 

January 2018

Image via

Hong Kong’s 24-floor art and lifestyle building H Queen’s opens its first major galleries. David Zwirner from New York led the charge, followed by Hauser & Wirth, Pearl Lam Galleries and Pace Gallery. The 250,000-square foot Powerlong Art Museum opened in Shanghai, exhibiting works by famous ink painters like Guan Liang, Zhu Qizhan, Zhang Daqian and Qi Bashi. 

April 2018

Image via

The Sichuan capital saw its first edition of the Art Chengdu International Contemporary Art Fair. With 32 galleries on view, the city’s permanent art spaces also stepped up for the occasion in what The Art Newspaper referred to as the city’s first “unofficial art week.”

May 2018

Image via @art021_sh/Instagram

The trio behind Shanghai’s Art021 launched Beijing’s newest fair, JINGART. Kelly Ying, David Chau and Bao Yifeng pioneered the takeover of the Beijing Fun space, with a few major international galleries participating in the PRC’s capital for the very first time.

June 2018

Image via @cai_yajiao/Instagram

Shanghai saw the inaugural Museum 2050 symposium at the Long Museum West Bund, exploring the future of institutional models in China. Speakers from all over the world came to engage with local industry leaders and young professionals, discussing issues like responsibility, authentication, the role of art in lifestyle branding and new market engagement.

August 2018

Screengrab via @Tai Kwun大馆/Youtube

Amidst sweeps of redevelopment in Beijing, Ai Weiwei’s studio was among a number of casualties in the Zuoyou Arts District. The studio’s lease on the former car-part factory had expired the year before, and many buildings in the neighborhood had already been demolished.

Hong Kong’s Central Police Station transformed into the Tai Kwun Center for Heritage Arts, and opened its doors to the public. With 16 heritage buildings plus two new structures housing galleries, it is one of the largest conservation projects and creative hubs in the city – set to host six to eight annual art exhibitions annually. 

For more 2018 Year in Review coverage, click here.

[Cover image via @art021_sh/Instagram]

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