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Nov 19 2019

Redtory Art District Slated For Demolition

by Ophelia Lai

Guangzhou’s Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art—one of the last platforms to remain standing in the Redtory art and design district—has been closed in preparation for the building’s demolition. Photo via llee_wu

All premises within Guangzhou’s Redtory art and design district have been ordered by local government officials to evacuate by November 21. Sections of the complex have been slated for demolition since June. The Redtory Museum of Contemporary Art (RMCA), one of the last operating venues within the hub, confirmed in a statement emailed on November 19 that all exhibitions and events have been canceled in light of the eviction.

Redtory, a contraction of “red factory,” launched in 2009 as a non-profit cultural initiative, revitalizing the abandoned campus of a red-brick canned-food factory built in 1956. The district has faced threats of closure since 2013, when rumors circulated of plans to raze the area to make way for a new financial hub.

Redtory is not the first cultural hub believed to have fallen victim to China’s extensive and ongoing urban redevelopment initiatives. The nearby North Shore Culture Park, unveiled in 2010 ahead of the 16th Asian Games, was shuttered in 2012. In Beijing, numerous art districts have seen mass evictions and demolitions, such as Luomahu and Huantie this July, and Caochangdi in 2018. Chinese authorities have cited legal infractions related to land use and leasing agreements, as well as crackdowns on crime as reasons for clearing the properties, although evicted tenants commonly claim that these are pretexts for new construction projects.

RMCA stated on the Redtory closure: “This lack of vision is deeply disquieting. As the wreckers’ machinery moves in, the past dissolves before our eyes and we worry about the future.”

The museum added that information on a new location and future programming is forthcoming.

Ophelia Lai is ArtAsiaPacific’s associate editor.

To read more of ArtAsiaPacific’s articles, visit our Digital Library.

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