ON THE GROUND, Weekend Round-up

Beijing art scene: 798 and Caochangdi / Mar 4

A highlight of Beijing art exhibitions on view (for Chinese artists) continues to be Dong Yuan’s painted object rooms at SZ Art Center in 798 and Jia Aili’s “Hibernation” at doART in Caochangdi (the Hyundai gallery will change to Chinese ownership this month). Dong Yuan outshines her peers in the show through a sincere and painstaking effort to replicate all the objects in simulated living spaces by painting each one on individual canvases. This intimate moment is priceless. For Jia Aili, he says he maybe will complete his 6 x 12m oil painting mural at the end of this month. It is the sense of exclusivity and being a witness of process that makes the viewing special. Since November, the gallery space is transformed into his artist’s studio filled with the smell of linseed oil and paint, and littered with sketches and magazines, photographs and artist paraphernalia. Ai Weiwei’s documentation of New York in the 1980s at Three Shadows is an engaging display–like a black and white Facebook photo album of a famous Chinese celebrity. Although parts of Caochangdi village are under serious construction, the art galleries hold down the fort with more serious art exhibitions (relative to the melange at 798). ShanghART’s video exhibition is still on view, as well as Pekin Fine Art’s nicely installed display of Huang Zhiyang‘s pretty paintings on paper and canvas, and Mizuma‘s “Instinct” show of well-heeled young Japanese contemporary artists. At Urs Meile gallery, Nie Mu’s layered Photoshop paintings are very large in scale and Tracy Snelling‘s urban dioramas are charming visions of a Chinese city.

The 798 art district on this weekday afternoon is very quiet. At the Ullens Center, Qiu Zhijie‘s massive sinking ship installation continues to receive mixed reviews (for its ambitious installation and rebus-like display), but Mona Hatoum‘s enlarged

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