The Diffusion of Galleries in China (1991–2016)

  • Linzhi ZhangEmail author
Part of the Sociology of the Arts book series (SOA)


As galleries are not indigenous to China, the development of galleries here amounts to a diffusion process, in which Chinese dealers have adopted and adapted to Western practices since the introduction of galleries by foreign expatriates in 1991. This chapter elucidates two gallery models that resulted from this diffusion process, drawing upon interviews, participant observations, and archival research. The first is a price-centred model that thrived during the market boom (2006–2008) but waned gradually after 2010. The second is a model of “for-profit exhibition spaces” that prevails in the post-crisis Chinese art scene (2010–2016). My analyses highlight the capacities and perceptions of Chinese gallery owners, who not only imitated Western galleries but also developed their own codes of practices.


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© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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