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Beijing Air Quality Prompts Artist to Sell ‘Fresh Air’ in a Jar

Beijing artist sells a glass jar of fresh French air at auction for $860. The move signifies the problems with Beijing air quality.

By Juliette Donatelli - Source:

Photo ©  Sunset Noir

Photo © Sunset Noir

Can we put a price tag on something as invaluable as fresh air? Apparently, yes. And it happened.

Beijing-based artist Liang Kegang auctioned off a small glass jar filled with fresh air from Province, France. And the going price? $860.

While on a recent trip to the south of France, Liang couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make a statement in response to the detrimental state of Beijing’s air quality issue. He photographed himself ’filling’ the ‘clean south of France air’ into the jar on March 29, 2014. The jar sold at an auction on March 30 to Chengdu-based artist and entrepreneur Li Yongzheng.

Beijing, a city home to twenty-one million people, is one of the world’s most polluted cities. Extremely highs levels of thick smog constantly pose serious health issues to Beijing’s citizens. As the chart below shows, since April 2008, there has only been 184 days total where air quality levels were considered good.

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