Artsy Weekend Debauchery at 798 and Sexily Inappropriate Machinery

Written by Life

Posted from: Beijing

I’d like to be the kind of person who buys art, I really would. Less in a “hmnah, one more Monet and my collection will be complete,” kind of way and more in a “A fractal forged from rhinestones, dried egg yolk and meticulously-harvested Aboriginal virgin’s tears, you say? Name your price, sir,” kind of way. I’m most particularly in the market for artwork that makes my office floor feel more like an intentional re-enactment of poverty in France circa 1522 and less like a pile of dirty clothes interspersed with USB drives.

So yeah, the desire is there. The practicalities are another issue. For one thing, any art I purchase is going to vastly outclass the rest of my furniture by dint of existing. Problem two, the last time I had an extra fifty thousand dollars to throw around, I blew it all on popsicles and male strippers. What can I say? I really like popsicles.

The lovely folks at Affordable Art Beijing (a localized branch of Affordable Art China) to the rescue. While they haven’t yet done much about the adolescent state of my home decor, they do put on an annual art fair featuring some really gorgeous work by lesser-known artists, with nothing priced above 20,000RMB (three-thousand-something-dollars or so), which, in the art world, is essentially chump change.

This year’s AAB was held in 798 Art District, a collection of old Communist factories in northeastern Beijing repurposed as galleries, studios and stores. As with everything else in this city, 798 has really come into its own since I was there a few years ago. Snazzy restaurants and crafty stores abound, and the grounds are peppered with installations, graffiti and sculptures.

Beijing Travel: 798 Art District sculptures by Chinese artists

That’s Kadi there on the right, with some strange woman that kept trying to slink into the picture:

I call this “Hipstersaurus Red Raptor Deathmatch”:

Two of the pieces I particularly liked at AAB:

Also seen this week:

In an effort to soothe the sexless masses, the good-hearted souls of the banking industry have taken it upon themselves to inject some raunchy innuendo into what, for so many, would be an otherwise raunchy-innuendo-free day. Thanks for setting an example, Citibank China. Now perhaps local government will follow suit. “Please sexily lick ticket machine to receive subway pass”. Or “To initiate call, breathe lustily into payphone receiver.”

No? Really? Oh well.