One of the major shapers of Chinese contemporary art internationally and locally, the magnificent Red Gate Gallery is located in an ancient Ming Dynasty watchtower. Red Gate supports the arts community with a strong international residency program.
User reviews of Red Gate Gallery 红门画廊
Red Gate is one of the oldest private galleries in Beijing, housed in one of the oldest structures in the inner city. The gallery isn't that big and there are no other galleries nearby, so 798 or Chaochangdi are better bets if you're after a day of gallery going. Red Gate is well worth a visit, however, for the overall experience.
If you get off at Chongwenmen subway station, you can walk to Red Gate via the "City Wall Park," a thin but pleasant strip of greenery east of the station that runs alongside the last crumbling vestiges of Beijing's once-mighty city wall.
The park also contains traces of a railway built by colonial powers that once ran alongside the wall, in the form of a short stretch of track unearthed when the park was created and a former railway building that now houses a small cafe.
At the end of the park you find the imposing Dongbianmen Watch Tower, which houses Red Gate. It's great to climb onto the short stretch of wall next to the watch tower and imagine what the defensive network must have once been like when it encircled the city. The tower itself is also a fascinating building that houses a collection of photographs of old Beijing above Red Gate Gallery on the first floor. Check out the Russian graffiti on the outside wall, left by occupying forces during the Boxer Rebellion.
The shows at Red Gate vary - most interesting are the occasional exhibitions of artists from more remote parts of China like Tibet and Mongolia. The art, although contemporary in style, generally uses more traditional forms like painting and sculpture rather than, say, video.
If you're looking to actually buy some work, gallery owner Brian Wallace has been in Beijing for decades and can provide excellent advice. He can usually be found in Red Gate's corner office.
Overall, well worth a visit, especially if you're showing visitors around the city.