Beijing's best art galleries part 4: Today Art Museum

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As Beijing's modern art scene continues to surge into the limelight, the number of its galleries keeps apace. As with any city with a massive art scene, the quality of art you can find ranges from jaw-droppingly phenomenal to stomach-churningly terrible. CRI's William Wang takes you on a tour to galleries which showcase high caliber art, art which impresses via its subtleties, shock-value, craftsmanship or… inaccessibility.

Yue Minjun's self-portraits horse around in front of the Today Art Museum. []

Yue Minjun's self-portraits horse around in front of the Today Art Museum. []

Today Art Museum

A ways southeast of Guomao subway station is Pingod Art District, one of Beijing's hip destinations that somehow stays under the mainstream radar. Home to Modern Sky Records' headquarters and numerous galleries and design studios, Pingod would be worth a visit even if it didn't have its focal point of the Today Art Museum.

The museum understands the importance of first impressions, and a crew of Yue Minjun's smiling polychrome sculptures announces the importance of this art center. And with metal grilling and walkways slicing into original brick faces, the building itself is an unapologetically modern interpretation of the boiler house it used to be. A row of white figures precariously dangle their legs off of the building's roof.

The Today Art Museum is Beijing's only private museum which focuses exclusively on contemporary art, pushing culture forwards as China concurrently modernizes.

Renee Xu, the museum's exhibition department director, mentioned the prestige for artists by holding a solo show at the museum. "The most representative Chinese contemporary artists like Zhang Xiaogang, Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun and Fang Lijun…. when they have their solo show, they would take Today Art Museum as the very first choice."

Wang Guangyi himself will have a highly anticipated solo exhibition at Today Art Museum this October, showcasing his iconic works which contrast the imagery of Chinese propaganda posters with pop art and the language of advertising.

But it's not only Chinese artists who covet a show at the three building complex. The most active contemporary artists in the world recognize what this venue has to offer both in its reputation and its facilities.

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