Is there a new way to sell art? Vitamin Creative Space China experiments – New York Times

ART GALLERY SHOP CHINA

A report from the New York Times reviews an interesting new approach to selling art designed and initiated by the renowned alternative art centre Vitamin Creative Space of Guangzhou. This new step which builds on the trend towards the democratisation of art is especially welcome in and suited to these recessionary times.

For those whose predilection for experimental Chinese art has always exceeded the depths of their pocketbooks, there’s the Shop, which opened last November in the Jianwai SOHO office and retail complex in Beijing.

Not quite a store, not quite a gallery, not quite a think tank — yet somehow all of the above — the concept-heavy outlet is a project of Vitamin Creative Space, an alternative-art center founded in Guangzhou in 2002.

Occupying a basement-level storefront and outfitted with blocky, tiled benches evoking a giant Tetris game, it was conceived as a “situation for understanding the relationship between art practice and daily practice,” said Hu Fang, who co-founded Vitamin with Zhang Wei, a fellow critic-curator.

What that means to the casual collector is a rotating selection of objects tied to Vitamin’s programs. So if you missed the curator Hans Ulrich Obrist’s New Year’s Eve “interview marathon” with the likes of the architect Ma Yansong and the artist Cao Fei, you could still buy the Zaha Hadid-esque fish tank that Mr. Ma brought for the event (25,000 yuan, about $3,570 at 7 yuan to the dollar) and shovels and signed helmets (1,500 yuan and 300 yuan), above, from the “ground-breaking” of Ms. Cao’s virtual RMB City project on www.secondlife.com.

The Shop, B1-1503, Building 15, Jianwai SOHO, 39 East Third Ring Road, Chaoyang District; (86-10) 5900-4374; www.vitamincreativespace.com.

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