The history of CAFA Art Museum can be traced back to the early 1950s. Originally called the “Central Academy of Fine Arts Gallery,” the museum was located on the old CAFA site at Shuaifuyuan on Xiaowei Hutong in Beijing’s Wangfujing. Designed by noted architect Zhang Kaiji, the Gallery was the first specialized art museum built after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China. In 1998, the Gallery’s name was changed to “CAFA Art Museum.”
In October 2008, the new museum building opened on the CAFA campus at No. 8 Huajiadi South Street in Beijing’s Chaoyang District, designed by noted Japanese architect Arata Isozaki. In late 2010, CAFA Art Museum was named in the first list of Key National Museums. Past museum directors have included Dong Xiwen, Yang Yun, Sun Zixi, Jiao Kequn, Wang Xiao, Tang Pei, Pan Gongkai, and Wang Huangsheng. The current director is Zhang Zikang.