Quick — name the art capitals of the world. If Shanghai isn’t on your list, then you’re missing out. Because the Art Deco heart of the East has quickly climbed the culture charts — with new museums and an expanding constellation of star artists, gallerists and industry movers and shakers. Here, an insider’s guide to that art scene from one of the city’s own: artist Yi Zhou — who’s been making waves both in her hometown and internationally (Venice Biennale, Sundance Film Festival and, most recently, at Paris’ Le Cube for her current Shanghai’s Modernism exhibit).
My favorite museums in Shanghai…
Long Museum, founded by two private collectors — the spaces
[in Pudong and West Bund] are amazing and it features a mix
of contemporary and modern with Old Masters; Power Station
of Art, which just held a Cai Guo-Qiang exhibition, and
Minsheng Art Museum, where I had an artist talk with Korean
artist Hye Rim Lee recently.
And favorite galleries…
I love Pearl Lam Galleries (she represents me), James Cohan
(for its programming and beautiful space and garden) and
ShangART — it always has interesting exhibitions
and has promoted so many key Chinese artists.
Best public art…
K11 — it’s a mall but also a challenging space in Shanghai,
which hosted a Monet exhibit this year. It had international
museum-standard security and displays. I was impressed.
Also keep an eye on…
The Photo Shanghai art fair, which just opened this year
and was a hit. Shanghai is really getting artistically
The movers and shakers
in the Shanghai art scene…
Gallerist Pearl Lam and Modern Media Group’s Shaway Yeh.
To discover emerging local artists…
It’s best to find them online as many don’t have the chance
to have a show or be discovered. But online, there are
many secret ones to discover. Go to Tudou or Weibo.
Best bookstore for the art lover…
10 Corso Como — it feels like being in Milan
while overlooking Shanghai rooftops
and traffic. And the book selections are very good.
Best shopping spot for the artistically inclined…
Lane Crawford — it’s a modern temple for art and fashion.
Restaurant of choice for art-world insiders…
I would say my house, my own kitchen — Yi’s kitchen —
but I also love Unico. It was designed by Marcelo Joulia,
with whom I collaborated for my current Paris exhibit
Art is Shanghai is…
Everywhere. Many artist studios are also interesting to visit.
Mine is in an old 1919 building, commissioned by Stanley Ho,
called the Mansion. My studio has shooting areas,
a chill-out space and a bar. It’s like a lounge.
See more from the Shanghai Issue.