China’s museum boom has taken the city by storm and is shifting the nation’s cultural capital from its traditional seat in Beijing to Shanghai.
Although art spaces and institutions can be found scattered throughout the sprawling metropolis, the West Bund, Bund and Former French Concession in particular host plenty of quality spaces worth a visit. Read on for our picks for Shanghai’s best art galleries that warrant your time.
Home to the rapidly growing annual West Bund Art & Design Fair, the West Bund area is Shanghai’s new hub of all things art. Notable galleries include ShanghArt Shanghai, established in 1996 and one of the first contemporary art galleries to open in China. Their roster of over 60 artists includes many notable names in Chinese contemporary art and is conveniently located next door to the West Bund Art Center, Shanghai Center of Photography and AIKE-DELLARCO Gallery.
Slightly further north, you’ll find the Yuz Museum, founded by internationally renowned collector and entrepreneur Budi Tek. It’s located in a converted airplane hangar in 2013. The museum’s world-class exhibitions program features Chinese and international artists including Alberto Giacometti, Andy Warhol, Yang Fudong, KAWS, and Zhou Li.
The equally impressive Long Museum was designed by Liu Yichun of Atelier Deshaus and contains 16,000 square meters of exhibition space. Founded by Chinese couple collectors Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei, previous Long Museum exhibitions have highlighted such artists as Xiang Jing, Antony Gormley, James Turrell, Olafur Eliasson and Xu Zhen.
ShanghART Shanghai West Bund, Bldg.10, 2555 Longteng Avenue, Xuhui District. 西岸龙腾大道2555号10号楼. Hours: Tue. – Sun. 11am – 6pm (Mon. Closed). Web: http://www.shanghartgallery.com/
Yuz Museum 35 Fenggu Road, near Longteng Rd. Xuhui District. 丰谷路35号 近龙腾大. Hours: Tue. – Sun. 10am – 9:00 (Mon. Closed). Web: http://www.yuzmshanghai.org/
Long Museum West Bund 3398 Longteng Avenue, near Fenglin Rd. Xuhui District. 龙腾大道3398号, 近枫林路. Hours: Tue. – Thurs., Sun 10am-6pm (Mon. Closed), Fri. – Sat. 10am – 9pm. Web: http://www.thelongmuseum.org/
Long Museum West Bund
Beyond the stunning views of Pudong on offer along the Bund, you can also find two contemporary art institutions that are well deserving of a spot in Shanghai’s best art galleries list. The Rockbund Art Museum launched in 2010 with a solo show by internationally acclaimed artist Cai Guo Qiang and is the annual host of the Hugo Boss Asia Art Award. The building’s Art Deco exterior was completed in 1932. The interior was renovated by architect David Chipperfield prior to the opening. Rockbund is devoted to supporting contemporary art production and creativity with recent exhibitions including Song Dong, Phillipe Parreno, Felix Gonzalez Torres, Chen Zhen, and Mark Bradford.
At the south end of the Bund, you can find the newly opened Fosun Foundation, a non-profit organization launched and supported by the Fosun Group. Its programming is characterized by contemporary, international, and highly interactive artworks. The foundation is housed in a structure designed by Foster + Partners accented by a golden, rotating bamboo curtain façade that hangs from the third floor. The building’s rooftop also offers up beautiful views across the Huangpu river.
Rockbund Art Museum 20 Huqiu Road, near Beijing East Rd, Huangpu District. 虎丘路20号, 近北京东路. Hours: Tue. – Sun. 10am – 6pm (Closed Mon.) Web: www.rockbundartmuseum.org
Fosun Foundation 600 Zhongshan East 2nd Road, near Dongmen Rd, Huangpu District. 中山东二路600号, 近东门路. Hours: Tue. – Sun. 10am-8pm (Closed Mon.) Web: www.fosunfoundation.com
Rockbund Art Museum
Former French Concession
Located on the tree-lined Anfu Road in the heart of the Former French Concession, a visit to both Capsule Shanghai and BANK can be perfectly paired with a trip to one of the plentiful restaurants and cafes nearby. Tucked away at the end of a peaceful lane, Capsule is set in a beautiful 1930s garden house and committed to exhibiting the best of international and China’s contemporary art. Capsule features both established and emerging artists. The space also frames itself as a lab for experimentation, grappling with the unique dynamics of contemporary art in China as well as the artistic migrations that have resulted from globalization.
BANK is the studio of MABSOCIETY, an international curatorial and consultancy firm based in Shanghai and founded by Mathieu Borysevicz in 2012. BANK is dedicated to an exhibition program that engages international issues of contemporary art and culture. Formerly housed in the historic 1929-built Bank Union Building on the Bund, the gallery relocated to its current location in 2016.
Capsule Shanghai 1st Floor, Building 16, Lane 275, Anfu Road, near Wukang Lu, Xuhui District. 安福路275弄16号1层, 近武康路. Hours: Tue. – Fri. 10am – 6pm (Mon. Closed). Sat. & Sun. 12pm – 5pm Web: www.capsuleshanghai.com
BANK Building 2, Lane 298, Anfu Road, near Wukang Lu, Xuhui District. 安福路298弄2号1, 近武康路. Hours: Tue. – Sun. 10:30am – 6:30pm Web: http://www.mabsociety.com/