I haven’t had the chance to see much classic art here yet, but I have seen some modern and contemporary art. A post about architecture will follow soon enough.

The 798 arts district, which is analogous to the Mission District in San Francisco or the hipster parts of Brooklyn in New York, was fun. Below, a literal Iron Man (well, at least metal-plated man)!


As an aside, I like how my phone’s camera’s imperfectly executed HDR mode, which combines several photos together to get better color balance, makes the ground in this photo look like an impressionist painting.

Ai Weiwei had an exhibit in the district. It consisted of two large rooms that were not within line of sight of each other. Inside each room were about four major pieces of art. A common motif was that the pieces combined modern, classical, western, and Chinese forms, and often had subtly critical subtexts (e.g., a collection of Chinese-style ceramic bowls with “Fa Ke Bei Jing” written in Chinese characters, which is pronounced “fah kuh Beijing”). Also, one very interesting thing was that from each room you could view the other room on closed-circuit TV, but you couldn’t see your own room on the TV.

Next, a photo from a subway station near Houhai (a district that is kind of like a cross between Shoreline in Mountain View and the Embarcadero in San Francisco):


Notice how the subway sign is swallowed up by the decorative wall. I don’t know if the decorative wall person intended this, but this strikes me as an allusion to Magritte’s Time Transfixed. In both pieces, we see a railroad-related piece embedded in something else. Notice the clock in Time Transfixed, and the words about first and last trains on the subway sign. The design on the decorative wall is clearly influenced by surrealism as well. My phone’s camera’s imperfect HDR implementation strikes again, as can be seen in the double vision on the right hand side of the screen. That’s not astigmatism!

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