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.

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.


Six years of Beijing air pollution summed up. image: Quartz

“Air should be the most valueless commodity, free to breathe for any vagrant or beggar,” Liang said in an interview. “This is my way to question China’s foul air and express my dissatisfaction.”

featured image: Sunset Noir and Home Naturals


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Juliette Donatelli

Working in the field of sustainability for over seven years, Juliette is passionate about its intersection within the fashion industry. Juliette began studying ecological conservation, and led consumer awareness campaigns around the world from water usage in southern California, riparian restoration in South Africa, food distribution in Paris and bison habitat in the Great Plains. She has launched her passion--consumerism and sustainability--into a place where it hits home--fashion. Juliette is the founder and editor-in-chief of, Director of Sustainability at Manufacture NY, and loves to read, dance, swim and enjoy the occasional glass of champagne.