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Beijing Art Museum M WOODS is Launching a Gallery Inside “Animal Crossing”


It’s the game of the moment. No, not Plague, Inc., but Animal Crossing. With millions of people under Covid-19 lockdown across the globe, the game has provided a much-needed bout of escapism and become a huge hit in the process.

Chinese players have flocked to the Nintendo title, which allows you to “create a home, interact with cute animal villagers, and just enjoy life.” With users also able to add their own images into the game, Covid-19 temperature checks, Chinese propaganda posters, and pictures of former Communist Party leaders (including meme god Jiang Zemin) have been populating Animal Crossing in recent weeks.

Now, Beijing art institution M WOODS is joining the fray. One of China’s pioneering art museums, M WOODS had already been playing with “hypothetical shows” in the digital realm after its doors were shuttered by the country’s novel coronavirus outbreak. This new venture take the form of a “virtual museum” with “significant past exhibitions from our history turned digital, such as: David Hockney, Lu Yang, Nicolas Party, and Andy Warhol, amongst others.”


The space will launched with a special livestream event on video platform Bilibili, where staff will be offering up free tutorials on how to get into the “museum.”


“Imaginary Museums”: China’s Art Institutions Go Online in Response to Coronavirus

Jake Newby
Jake Newby is a Shanghai-based writer and editor with more than a decade's experience living and working in China. Previously managing editor of RADII and Time Out Shanghai, he's also written for the Associated Press, The Wire, the Financial Times and more.