About the Caochangdi artisit village
Caochangdi is a village and arts area outside of 798 Art Zone in Beijing. As the New York Times wrote about the area: Seven years ago, the pre-eminent Chinese artist Ai Weiwei made a bold move to the outskirts of Beijing. In an area called Caochangdi Village, by the Fifth Ring Road in the city's northeast, he designed a compound for himself. Gradually some other contemporary artists moved to Caochangdi from Songzhuang artisits' village in Tongzhou, where tends to be more crowded and a bit unpeaceful to live as now there are over 2,000 artists settle down in several villges of Songzhuang.
The influx of the artists homes/studios and some high-profile galleries to Caochangdi since around 2006 are turning this quiet, birch- and pine-lined enclave into an artistic hotbed. Indeed, as the 798 District, the epicenter of Beijing' s lively contemporary art scene, becomes increasingly crowded with boutiques and tourists, some of China' s leading gallery owners are bypassing the district altogether, and heading directly to Caochangdi Village (the New York Times said).
China's leading paper People's Daily said that "Caochangdi Art District is regarded as "the spiritual promised land for Chinese contemporary art" by a great many Chinese people. Following 798 Art District, Caochangdi, which located on the eastern outskirts of Beijing, has become another Holy Land for Chinese contemporary art."
Besides being remote (at least a 40-minute drive from central Beijing), Caochangdi' s mazelike warrens make it easy to get lost. And addresses are basically useless. The galleries are open everyday to public, but you may have to know the artists personally in order to get permits to visit their homes/studios.
Other contemporary Artists Villages Tours CCC arranges include:
Songzhuang Contemporary Artists Village Tour
Located in the rural area east of Beijing, about one hour's drive from downtown Beijing. Younger contemporary Artists' homes and studios Visits, some are well-kown and rich and some are still unkown and manage to survive.
Shangyuan Established Artists Village Tour
Located near the mountain area north of Beijing, about one hour's drive. More academic older contemporary artists, art professors and teachers from China's Art Academies or Collages live in these area. Many have their own beautiful houses/studios and nice gardens.
Qiao Zi Contemporary Artists Community Home Studios Visit
Located in Huairou, suburb of Beijing, over one hour's drive from CCC. Many privately built huge modern studios and home buildings. The artists are quite well-established.
Feijiacun Artist Community Home Studios Visit
Another artist community in the near suburb of Beijing, who seeks a quieter and affordable area for their homes and studios.
Beijing's Contemporary Artist Village Background
In 1995, when the Yuanmingyuan (Old Summer Palace) artist community was dismantled, a handful of the original artists moved to Songzhuang Village in Tongzhou County in pursuit of bigger studio space, cheaper rent cost and a quieter environment to continue their creative works. Over the next five years, drawn by the village’s idyllic charm and beautiful scenery, more artists decided to move into the area, thus confirming Songzhuang’s position as the largest artist community in China. Today, Songzhuang is home to roughly 2,000 artists, including painters, sculptors, poets, writers, art critics, and photographers. They are scattered in several villages of Songzhuang, such as Xiaopu Village, Renzhuang Village, etc.
The artists are relatively young and famous for their contemporary and radical artworks. Most of them are freelancers and their artworks are shown in 798 galleries and galleries and museums in Europe and US.