Wang Gongxin

Arrow Factory

Tucked away near the Confucius Temple, in one of Beijing’s most quickly gentrifying neighborhoods, lies the antidote to the ostentatious exhibitions that have slowly become the norm in the city’s urban fringes. This latest work from Beijing native Wang Gongxin, It’s Not About the Neighbors, 2009, is such an unexpected encounter with art that you might just pass it by.

Hosting Wang’s work is the Arrow Factory, a storefront nonprofit art space founded last spring by an international group of artists and curators. Next door, a small family bakery does a brisk sale of flatbreads, stuffed cakes, and fresh pasta through a sliding window above an aluminum-framed display case. On the bakery windows, they advertise modestly with the characters for “flatbread” and “noodles”; there is no company name, no business hours. The title of Wang’s work is, in fact, ironic. It is about the neighbors. Wang’s

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