New York’s Pace Wildenstein gallery is the first Manhattan gallery to open a branch in Beijing’s 798 arts district, according to the New York Times:
The $20 million project is scheduled to open on Aug. 8, in time for the Summer Olympics.
“Beijing is a crossroads” for Taiwan and Hong Kong, said Arne Glimcher, chairman of PaceWildenstein. “Shows there sell out to other parts of Asia.”
Mr. Glimcher is not the first to recognize the growing importance of the Asian art market. Sotheby’s has sent its traveling exhibitions to mainland China since 1995 and held auctions in Hong Kong since 1973, and it opened an office last year in Beijing.
But in the end, it was 798’s unexpected commercial success that ultimately killed its soul and forced the artists to flee.
It happened when Chinese art exploded into the mainstream, with its celebrities earning huge prices for their work at international auctions. Soon 798 became a hot new attraction for Chinese consumers and tourists, and although the threat of demolition has faded away, 798 now faces new threats. Its rents are skyrocketing. Its narrow streets are clogged with traffic. The construction noise is deafening. And tourists are everywhere.