Chinese art collectors and history fiends alike will love Red Gate – which not only happens to be the city’s most unique art gallery, but as of this weekend, also its oldest.
It all started with one man – an Australian named Brian Wallace. He had a passion for art; Beijing had an abandoned 15th century gate tower. In 1991 the local government let him set up Beijing’s first contemporary art gallery inside, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now the magnificent space is home to a consistently excellent rotating collection of China’s hottest up-and-coming contemporary artists, from experimental collective Island 6 to the ever popular Zhou Jun.
Handily, both Wallace and the gallery’s manager Liyu Yeo are usually on hand to offer more information about the artworks. Mention Bespoke and Liyu might even give you a mini talk on the gate tower’s history.
Once you’ve finished perusing (or buying) the art, you can ascend into the rafters to see the tower’s permanent exhibition of historical photographs. The collection shows snapshots of Beijing’s city walls and nine historical gates and is as good as any you’d find in Beijing’s museums.
Red Gate Gallery Dongbianmen Watchtower, Dongcheng district (+86 6525 1005)