Shanghai has a unique background that provides for some distinctive fundamentals within the city’s contemporary art scene today. During the modern period, parts of Shanghai were carved up into concessions and settlements administered by Western countries. The opening up of the city to trade and the introduction of new cultures shaped Shanghai's current status as the economic and cultural center. The social and political experiences infuse an innovative energy into this international metropolis. Since the most recent wave of art museums in early 2000s, several public and private art museums have emerged and made their international debuts. Many commercial galleries and art fairs are young but they are fast-growing and have attracted much international attention.
Getting around in Shanghai is easy in general but could be a little troublesome during the peak hours, as it is likely that ground transportation will run into some traffic. In terms of transportation tools, hiring a driver and taking taxis are quite convenient. Didi Chuxing - a ridesharing-app like Uber - could be an alternative way to schedule your trip. Convenient and sophisticated bus and subway transportation networks are also available, but mind the crowds during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
A good season to go to Shanghai for art is between September and November. The fall season does not have the heat of the summer, which can reach above 40 degrees, nor the humid and bitter-cold air of the winter. In 2019, PHOTOFAIRS Shanghai will take place in September, while another two major art fairs, ART021 Shanghai Contemporary Art Fair and West Bund Art & Design, while the 12th Shanghai Biennale takes place in November.
To stay in Shanghai, there are plenty of hotels that will satisfy your needs. Top-tier chain hotels and independent hotels are available in various locations. If you’re looking for an amazing view, a stay along the strip near the Bund can easily provide that.
The Waterhouse at South Bund is a cool boutique hotel in Shanghai
Image courtesy of The Waterhouse at South Bund
2555 Longteng Ave, West Bund Building 10
Image courtesy of ShanghART Gallery, Photographer ©Alessandro Wang
ShanghART Gallery was one of the earliest contemporary art galleries in Shanghai, established in 1996. Today, the gallery boasts four spaces: two of them are located respectively in the two most active art neighborhoods in Shanghai – M50 and West Bund; the other two spaces are located in Beijing and Singapore.
Pearl Lam Galleries
181 Middle Jiangxi Rd, 1st Floor
Installation view of exhibition 'The Plane of Rewriting' at Pearl Lam Galleries
Shanghai Image courtesy of Pearl Lam Galleries
As a leading gallery in Asia, Pearl Lam Galleries has presented high-quality exhibitions for over 20 years. It is dedicated to stimulating cross-cultural practices and encouraging artists to challenge cultural boundaries. Apart from its space in Shanghai, Pearl Lam also has galleries in Hong Kong and Singapore.
363 Changping Rd, Building 4, 1st & 2nd Floor
Interior view of M97 Gallery
Image courtesy of M97 Gallery
Since 2006, M97 Gallery has specialized in exhibiting contemporary and fine art photography. Works by both Chinese and international artists are shown here at the gallery, which is committed to promoting the appreciation of photography in China.
2555 Longteng Ave, Building 6
Interior view of AIKE
Image courtesy of AIKE
AIKE is a contemporary art gallery introducing avant-garde Chinese contemporary artists to the world as well as working with emerging artists abroad to establish a presence in China. AIKE supports artists early in the careers with a long-term relationship. The program focuses on experimental, conceptual and innovative approach in a variety of media including painting, video, sculpture, installation, performance, photography and printmaking. The artists represented by AIKE have exhibited with institutions and participated prestigious biennials worldwide.
The gallery was initially founded in Palermo in 2005 by Roberto Ceresia, opened its branch in Shanghai in 2008 and moved its entire operations to Shanghai in 2011. Since 2016, the gallery is relocated to West Bund art district and expanded its space. The new space is designed by DEDODESIGN and characterized by its high ceiling and industrial structure. In 2017, Adrian H. Wang becomes the co-owner of AIKE and devotes his career to the local art scene.
Building 2, Lane 298 Anfu Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai 200031
Interior view of BANK Gallery
Image courtesy of BANK Gallery
Home of curatorial and creative collective, MAB Society, BANK Gallery hosts temporary exhibitions focusing on cutting-edge contemporary art from China and beyond. Founded by New York and Shanghai-based writer and curator Mathieu Borysevicz, it's housed in, you guessed it, a former bank, it's a striking venue and well worth a visit.
Shanghai Gallery of Art
No.3 The Bund, 3rd Floor
Interior view of Shanghai Gallery of Art
Image courtesy of Shanghai Gallery of Art
Located in one of the most historic areas in Shanghai, Shanghai Gallery of Art is a core member of the local ecosystem of art. The gallery is dedicated to exhibiting Asian contemporary artists and fostering cultural practices through their quality programming.
101 Haifang Rd
Installation view of exhibition '10 Years of Love' at ART LABOR Gallery
Image courtesy of ART LABOR Gallery
ART LABOR Gallery has a mission of exploring the meaning of personal and national identities and the future of Chinese society under the influence of emerging art. The gallery aims to introduce refreshing energies into the current Chinese art scene by showcasing unconventional contemporary artists. The space itself is well worth a visit, as it is designed by award-winning architect Andrei Zerebecky.
Art+ Shanghai Gallery
191 South Suzhou Rd
Interior view of Art+ Shanghai Gallery
Image courtesy Art+ Shanghai Gallery
Located along the Suzhou River, Art+ Shanghai Gallery is a dynamic art space dedicated to the promotion and development of Chinese contemporary art. Showcasing a range of established and emerging contemporary artists from China and abroad, the gallery stimulates and celebrates the diversity of the sprawling contemporary art scene.
2879 Longteng Ave, Unit 106
Installation view of exhibition 'Form Consumption Over Substance Reflection'
Image courtesy of MadeIn Gallery
MadeIn Gallery is established by Chinese artist Xu Zhen’s MadeIn Company. It is a creative platform that is dedicated to showcasing international talents by organizing cultural events and exhibitions with its focus on contemporary cultural development and communication.
199 Hengshan Rd, No. 105
Exterior view of Galerie Dumonteil
Image courtesy of Galerie Dumonteil
Founded in 1982 in Paris, Galerie Dumonteil has played a major role in the market of the figurative sculpture. Focusing on modern and contemporary art, Galerie Dumonteil, expanding its influence in design in recent years, has three gallery spaces in Paris, New York and Shanghai respectively.
275 Anfu Rd, Building 16, 1st Floor
Exterior view of Capsule Shanghai
Image courtesy of Capsule Shanghai
As one of the youngest members of the Shanghai art community, Capsule Shanghai is located at a beautiful early 20th-century garden house secluded from outside metropolitan life. The gallery exhibits both Chinese and international contemporary artists who push the boundaries of the art world through their own trans-regional experiences.
376 Wukang Rd
Exterior view of Leo Gallery
Image courtesy of Leo Gallery
Leo Gallery represents both Chinese and international artists and is active at many major international art fairs such as Art Basel Hong Kong, and ART021. Apart from its regular exhibition programs, Leo Gallery also promotes public art projects in collaboration with both commercial and educational institutions.
Edouard Malingue Gallery
Shanghai 2202, 2879 Longteng Avenue Xuhui District, Shanghai 200232
Interior view of Edouard Malingue Gallery Shanghai
Image courtesy of Edouard Malingue Gallery
Originally from Hong Kong, and known for its large off-site public projects, Edouard Malingue Gallery opened a new space in Shanghai in November 2016. The gallery represents established and emerging contemporary artists.
50 Moganshan Rd, Putuo Qu, Shanghai Shi, China, 200000
M50 Art District
Image courtesy of Fabio Achilli via Flickr
Established in 2000 by Shanghai artist Xue-Song, M50 is a contemporary art district situated by Suzhou Creek. What was originally a textile mill has since been transformed into an enclave of galleries and design spaces. With a focus on the arts and cool cafés like UNDEF/NE and Bandu Cabin, this is set to be the next hip area.
Image courtesy of Fabio Achilli via Flickr
As mentioned earlier, the prestigious ShanghART Gallery, run by Swiss native Lorenz Helbling, has a secondary space located at M50. This space focuses more on younger artists who are engaged with newer mediums and more experimental techniques, as compared to its West Bund gallery.
Interior view of Gallery 55
Image courtesy of Gallery 55
Founded in 2005, Gallery 55 is one of the earliest generations of art galleries in Shanghai. It is known for its openness to unconventional art and ideas. Gallery 55 promotes emerging and mid-career talents.
Installation view of island6, M50 Space
Image courtesy of island6
Island6 is an artist-run project dedicated to supporting its in-house art collective, island6 (Liu Dao). The collective uses its M50 workshop to produce innovative new media art mixing interactive video art, Chinese papercutting or realist painting. Island6 is a platform that encourages dialogue on multi-disciplined artistic practices between curators, art directors and local artists.
Chronus Art Center
Exhibition view of 'PSYCHOPROSA' by Thomas Feuerstein at Chronus Art Center
Image courtesy of Sexauer
Chronus Art Center is a non-profit gallery and research centre dedicated to the production and exploration of media art. A visit to Chronus Art Center usually is an eye-opening experience, as they are known for some of their experimental exhibitions like ‘Smell Dating’, whereby visitors found dates based on the smell of their sweat.
R204, Bldg 4A
An installation view of 'Line Reflect, Shadows Write' by Aki Lumi at Vanguard Gallery
Image courtesy of the artist and Vanguard Gallery
If you’re looking for exciting emerging artists, then look no further than Vanguard Gallery, which has been actively engaged in discovering and promoting young artists who are vanguards of contemporary art - much like their namesake. Discover artists such as Liu Fei, Gao Mingyan and Guo Xi.
Rockbund Art Museum (RAM)
20 Huqiu Rd
Interior view of Rockbund Art Museum
Image courtesy of Rockbund Art Museum
Rockbund Art Museum (RAM) is one of the pioneer contemporary art museums in China. It aims to elevate the contemporary art scene through research, preservation and public education. Artists include Heman Chong, Felix Gonzales-Torres and Ugo Rondinone.
No.210, Lane 2255, Luoshan Rd, Pudong District
Exterior view of Long Museum
Image courtesy of Long Museum
Long Museum is the largest private institution in China. It has two exhibition locations in Shanghai. One of them is located at the center of the West Bund Culture Corridor; the other one is in Pudong New Area. Their two spaces in Shanghai are crucial to the local art community. In 2016, Long Museum opened its third space in Chongqing, China.
Power Station of Art (PSA)
200 Huayuangang Rd, Huangpu District
Image courtesy of Power Station of Art
Power Station of Art (PSA) is the first state-run contemporary art museum in mainland China. The exhibition space was previously the Nanshi Electric Plant that lit the first light in China. Power Station of Art is now dedicated to generating urban culture for its citizens. Its iconic old chimney has also been converted into a thermometer which lights up at night.
Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA)
231 Nanjing West Rd, Gate 7 People’s Park
Exterior view of MoCA
Image courtesy of MoCA
Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) is a private museum that aims to promote cultural exchange between Shanghai and the rest of the world. It is also a platform that provides art education, by introducing contemporary art and design to the public.
Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum
No. 210, Wenshui Road, Jing’an District
Exterior view of Shanghai Minsheng Art Musuem
Image source unknown
In 2017, Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum moved to its temporary new location in Pudong New Area. The museum is founded by the China Minsheng Banking Corporation in 2008. It is part of the bank’s endeavor to foster the appreciation of contemporary art among the public. They moved to their current location in January 2019, and continues to strive for lasting international prestige.
35 Fenggu Rd, Xuhui District
Image courtesy of Yuz Museum
The exhibition space of Yuz Museum used to be an airport hangar. The design of the museum exhibition space has maintained the style of a deserted hangar, and re-structured the space to create showrooms that can house the magnificence of large-scale contemporary art.
3055 Caobao Lu, near Xinzhen Lu
Image courtesy of Powerlong Museum
Powerlong Art Museum is a family of museums, with current members located in Shanghai and Qingdao, aiming to demonstrate the classic arts at home and abroad and promote the world’s modern arts. The Museum is well-equipped for exhibitions, researches, educational and promotional activities, etc. and is positioned as a professional museum group with international exposure.
K11 Art Mall
300 Huaihai Zhong Rd, Huangpu District
Exterior view of K11 Art Mall
Image courtesy of K11 Art Mall
A chic and trendy place to enjoy both metropolitan lifestyle and art is the Shanghai K11 Art Mall. It is an artistic shopping mall with a mature business community art exhibition spaces. K11 Art Mall aims to provide the most interactive and theatrical shopping experience for its customers.
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