To experience the real Shanghainese culture, today we will start with the top five Shanghainese museums and art galleries you can’t miss.
Shanghai, Shenzhen, and HongKong are the most important business and financial centres of China, but do you know the differences between these famous cities? Today we’ll show you the biggest difference — culture.
Apart from soaring superstructures, opulent shopping malls and the world’s fastest commercial train zipping back and forth from Shanghai Pudong International, there are still have lots of things you need to know about the city. Peel your eyes away from the famous skyline that can be found in every photographer’s Instagram account, though, and you’ll see a different Shanghai. You can always find loads of art exhibitions, dance or theatre performances, concerts and so on in this city. To experience the real Shanghainese culture, today we will start with the top five Shanghainese museums and art galleries you can’t miss.
Beijing and Shanghai are two of China's art capitals, if you want a clear definition between the two we would say: Beijing may be home to the largest community of artists, but Shanghai has a more international scene, where Chinese and Western elements are combined perfectly. So, if you prefer to see more various cultural elements, following our advice and visit Shanghai!
The Shanghai Biennale is the highest-profile contemporary art event in Shanghai and the most established art biennale in China, which first launched in 1996. Since 2012 it has been hosted in Power Station of Art, the initial contemporary art state-run museum in mainland China. With a huge neon thermometer atop the building’s chimney, the space itself has transformed Shanghai’s skyline. We think the interesting part of Shanghai Biennale is that it particularly highlights the achievements of Asian artistic production by emphasizing the possibilities of these artworks to challenge the conventional division of the world between East and West.
The main installation in hall: "One step forward, two steps back"
The concept of the 12th Shanghai Biennale is “Proregress”, a word made from the combination of the words progress and regress. Proregress was used to teasingly criticize the Western enlightenment narratives that abide by progressivism, meanwhile suggesting the ambivalence and anxiety of the early 21st century provoked by the transformation and stagnation which firmly contradict both optimists and pessimists alike.
For the Chinese title, the concept of “禹步”(Yubu)” was chosen, the basic mystical dance step of the Daoist ritual in ancient China. However, these works illustrate a commitment to transforming our sensibilities into new ways of living, mimicking the manner with which contemporary art and culture confront the complexities of our time. So if you want to find something profound, we recommend you to see this exhibition, but make sure you hurry, as it closes on the 11th of March.
In any case, if you can’t make it to the 12th Shanghai Biennale, don’t worry, the Power Station of Art hosts a series of travelling exhibitions and there is always something new and worthwhile to see.
Address: No. 200 Huayuangang Rd. , Shanghai , 200011, China
Time: Tue - Sun:11:00 am - 7:00 pm
- Long Museum (West Bund)
The Long Museum is a private art museum in Shanghai, and also the largest private art collection in China, founded by Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei. The museum has two locations in Shanghai: the Long Museum Pudong and Long Museum West Bund. Due to the fact that the art on display includes examples of traditional Chinese art, modern and contemporary Chinese art and ‘red classics’ of Asia and Europe, it’s difficult to define the exhibition in terms of style or character. However, as a world-class private museum, the Long Museum is not to be missed, especially as you can find exquisite masterpieces by Qi Baishi, Li Hua, Quan Shanshi, Chen Yifei and Guan Liang.
Credits: @Oak Taylor-Smith
Address: No. 3398 Longteng Ave., Shanghai , 200000, China
Tuesday / Wednesday / Thursday: 10:00am-6:00pm （last tickets sold at 5:00pm）
Friday / Saturday / Sunday: 10:00am-9:00pm (last tickets sold at 8:00pm)
Closed on Mondays.
The Yuz Museum is located along the West Bund in Xuhui District. As a non-profit organization under the umbrella of the Yuz Foundation, it is perhaps the only museum which has found a perfect balance between marketing and artistic value. The museum strives to promote the exhibition and development of contemporary art and to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Thanks to the enormous size of The Yuz Museum, with its total area of 9,000 square meters, the space perfectly emphasizes the magnificence of the installations in the YUZ collection, and exhibits larger-than-life pieces of art which always worth seeing.
Current exhibition: "Rain Room" by Random International
Address: No. 35 Fenggu Rd., Shanghai, China
Time: Tue - Sun:10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Fri - Sat: 10:00 am - 12:00 am
Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum was established by the China Minsheng Bank for the purpose of promoting contemporary art and culture. Due to their mission to “bring art to the public, bring people into the realm of art”, they strive to break down the barriers and close the gap between art and the general public. So if it’s your first time visiting an exhibition, we recommend you to choose this privately-run art museum, providing the best initial step to bring you into the realm of art.
Address: 1929, Shibo Ave, Pudong Xinqu, Shanghai, China
Time: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00-18:00
Since its opening in 2010, Rockbund Art Museum has achieved high renown for its exhibitions of acclaimed Chinese and international artists. The one thing you need to know is that it’s not just another contemporary art museum in Shanghai, but the Rockbund Art Museum remains at the top of its game with a rotating series of innovative and influential exhibitions from international and locally renowned artists. There is always something interesting to within its minimalist 1930s Art Deco building.
Address: 20 Huqiu Road, Huangpu District, Shanghai
Time: Tuesday - Sunday 10:00 - 18:00
- WHERE TO STAY
If you want to experience the artistic atmosphere of Shanghai, we suggest you stay in the Mingtown Nanjing Road Youth Hostel, a unique property that has combined the best of modern and Chinese tradition together. Located in the heart of the city, it offers high quality services and different room types. It is an ideal starting point to visit this wonderful city.