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Home > Beijing Biennial and Bell Museum

The China Millenium disk o' wonder building79 viewsThis is where the part of the Beijing Biennial art exhibit that we saw was held. The large pointy thing on top of the building acts as a sundial, in addition to being a large pointy thing. mudmine
Military museum90 viewsPassed this on the way to the Millenium building.mudmine
Inside the gallery64 viewsThis was one of the first works of art that caught our eye in the biennial exhibit. The exhibit featured artists from all over the world. I don't remember who was responsible for hanging up the stuffed donkey, but it was at least eye-catching.mudmine
My favorite works from the exhibit61 viewsThis painting, and similar paintings by the same artist, was my favorite of the exhibit. Unfortunately, I have misplaced the paper on which I wrote the names of the artists I liked, so you'll have to appreciate these images as purely asthetic experiences, without much accompanying information.mudmine
Favorite II61 viewsThese paintings were quite small--maybe 8 x 12 inches--but painted in very rich detail, with very rich colors. Although done on canvas, they seemed almost like velvet paintings. The details were done with thick paint, enhancing the three-dimensional effect of the dark colors.mudmine
Favorite III48 viewsReally sorry I don't know the name of this artist. mudmine
The gallery48 viewsmudmine
Stuffed animal carousel46 viewsThis rather gruesome sculpture featured actual animal parts, sewed together in Dr. Moreau-like combinations. Yucky, but kind of fascinating. The idea was supposed to be that on the outside the stuffed animals looked like whole farm animals, but if you glimpsed the inside from across the carousel you could see that they were really patched together out of different parts and stuffed with newspaper and string and random bits. mudmine
Hilary (right) and weird statue104 viewsHilary says: I am a little embarrassed about this photo, as I had just been discussing Chinese museum visitors' habits with an anthropologist friend. She had been saying that obviously Chinese museum visitors were socialized differently from Americans because they were taking silly photos of themselves with the exhibits, even touching them, as if they were at some kind of amusement park. And here I am in a silly photo with a piece of art. 1 commentsmudmine
Close-up of the statue91 views1 commentsmudmine
Work by South African artist45 viewsA collage of images from Johannesburg. Beijing Biennial 2005.mudmine
Wrapped painting96 viewsThis painting, by a British artist, was so well-rendered three dimensions, that it was difficult to believe it was a flat canvas. Very skillful.1 commentsmudmine
Israeli painting46 viewsA machinegun-toting security guard checks out a passing girl. Hilary spotted this as an Israeli scene from across the gallery. Beijing Biennial 2005mudmine
Modern Chinese painting47 viewsAnother interesting feature of the exhibit was the work of modern Chinese artists. This small group of paintings--some done in classical styles--focused on depicting the experiences of every-day Chinese, such as migrant laborers and farmers.mudmine
Chinese paintings48 viewsBeijing Biennial 2005mudmine
China meets pop culture45 viewsMany of the works of contemporary Chinese artists had a playful humor, even while commenting on the sometimes uneasy modern mix of Chinese tradition and Western pop culture.mudmine
Funny (if you read Chinese)44 viewsSome works were just plain silly. This large sculpture is a grocery list, with the items themselves (like bananas and oranges) used to form the characters of the list. mudmine
Sidewalk calligraphy40 viewsThese gentlemen outside the museum were demonstrating sidewalk calligraphy, using large brushes (which were also for sale) and water for 'ink'. mudmine
China Millenium pointy thing46 viewsFrom the backside, showing the entrance to the biennial galleries.mudmine
Trip to the Bell Museum41 viewsThe next series of pictures is from a visit Hilary and I made to the Beijing Bell Museum--a completely different day than the Biennial visit, but they are gathered together in one gallery because neither seemed to have enough pictures on their own.
This is out side the subway station nearest the Bell Museum.
Street sellers41 viewsmudmine
Beijing Home Depot39 viewsOn the way to the museum, we passed through a collection of big-box home improvement stores, including one with this sculpture of a giant chair in the parking lot.mudmine
Gate of the Bell Museum37 viewsLike almost every other museum and park in Beijing at the moment, the Bell Museum is undergoing extensive reconstruction in preparation for the 2008 Olympics.mudmine
Bell in the weather36 viewsBecause of reconstruction work, the bells have been moved out of their galleries and into the courtyard of the museum. They have no labels, but you can walk right up to them in broad daylight.mudmine
Top of a bell36 viewsMost of the bells have elaborate top handles (there is probably a better word for these things that I don't know).mudmine
Antoher bell top39 viewsmudmine
Bell inscription42 viewsMost of the bells are also covered with characters--inscriptions commemorating their founding and the people who paid for them. Some panels of inscriptions, such as this one, have been copied many times by rubbing.mudmine
Belle and Bell41 viewsThis wasn't the biggest bell, either.mudmine
Bodhisattva and worker41 viewsmudmine
Top of the Big Bell39 viewsThe largest bell hangs in the museum's central building. You can pay an extra 2 kuai and climb the stairs to the top of the tower. It's good luck, apparently, to toss change through the top of the bell.mudmine
Character inscriptions40 viewsEvery inch of the bell is covered in characters. The late afternoon light cast them in a nice relief, and added to the decoration on the supporting beam.mudmine
Light at the top of the bell43 viewsmudmine
Hilary makes the basin sing46 viewsFor a small fee, you can try your hand (actually, hands) at making this bronze dish of water vibrate harmoniously by rubbing your damp hands on the handles. mudmine
Bell central tower51 viewsThe big bell hangs within. A very helpful Chinese woman communicated to me via pantomime that a picture from this spot would be nice. She explained that its round top (symbolizing heaven) and square bottom (symbolizing earth) make it a nice representation of the universe. The woman later turned out to be an employee of the museum (or an entrepreneur housed within it), and one of the best things about the museum.mudmine
Courtyard of the museum43 viewsWith a giant "fu" 福 character, meaning prosperity, good luck.mudmine
Bell tower and Apartment towers48 viewsA relic of old Beijing; new Beijing rising not far away.mudmine
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