Liang Kegang went on a business trip to France and came back with a small jar of fresh, clean air from Provence in the south of France. When Kegang arrived in Beijing, he put the jar up for auction and it fetched about $860.
The jar was bought by Chinese artist and entrepreneur Li Yongzheng.
"I have always been appreciative of Kegang's conceptual art, and this piece was very timely," said Li. "This past year, whether it was Beijing, Chengdu or most Chinese cities, air pollution has been a serious problem. This piece of work really suits the occasion."
This is not the only artistic movement to protest the smog levels in China, which one scientist compared to "living through a nuclear winter." In February, a group of people laid in front of the Temple of Heaven park and played dead while wearing gas masks as a performance art piece. More recently, artists held a mock funeral in March for what they would call the last person to be killed by smog.
The Chinese government continues to make efforts to clean up the air, but that effort is competing with the demand to maintain the economy and promote industrial growth.