Beijing Art Galleries Forced to Relocate Ahead of Demolition

By Tom Smith, July 26, 2018

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Several art galleries in Beijing’s Caochangdi district will have just two weeks to relocate following a demolition order that was placed against their current premises. 

Among the galleries affected are Hong Kong-based de Sarthe Gallery, which opened in Beijing in 2014, and X Gallery. 

The area also hosts a number of other art galleries, such as Beijing Art Now, Ink Studio, Pekin Fine Art and ShanghArt Beijing, and is Beijing’s second largest art cluster after 798. 

Rumors of a potential demolition have been circling for several years now, due to the rapid gentrification of the area. However, de Sarthe and X’s downfall appears to be due to the fact that they are built on land owned by the China Railway Corporation. 

Manager of de Sarthe Gallery Beijing, Nessa Cui, admitted that the sight of the Chinese character chai (demolish) sprayed outside the premises was still a shock, despite the perpetual uncertainty. 

“It was the first we knew about this. Later in the day, the official eviction notice was put up by the Caochangdi village committee, citing safety concerns. We have until July 31 to move out,” she said, according to South China Morning Post

Willem Molesworth, de Sarthe’s Hong Kong director, has accepted the inconvenience as part of Beijing’s character. 

“This is what makes the city’s art scene special,” he said. “You just don’t know where the next art community is going to show up.” 

Molesworth also confirmed that the gallery is now searching for a new location, but is committed to staying in Beijing, despite the recent growth of galleries in cities such as Shanghai.

[Top image via Beijing Tourism]

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