What to expect from Shanghai art in 2017

We quizzed the top galleries on what we can look forward to this year

Charles Pétillon at MD Gallery

It was a huge year for the creative industry in Shanghai with 2016 seeing more art fairs, international expos, local talents and travelling foreign artists than ever before. As the popularity of emerging Chinese artists continues to blow up across the Mainland and beyond, the city’s art scene shows no signs of slowing down. As we hurdle into a new year, the art directors of three of the city’s most exciting galleries look back on a jampacked 2016 and forward to what 2017 has in store.

Magda Danysz, MD Gallery

This gallery is a hidden gem in the heart of Yangpu district, showcasing varied collections of contemporary art from both Chinese and international artists.

Looking back ‘It was a challenging year with an exceptionally fastgrowing art scene in China. But after eight years in Shanghai, I am pleased to see that the gallery’s artists are still very inspired by the city’s unique environment. Whether they are from China or abroad, they are still very much inspired by what is happening here.


'Our shows have been ambitious, we have had to be creative every day to make it happen, but in the end I am very proud of what the artists have delivered. Among the highlights, we had a recent show with Chinese artist Li Hongbo, and his paper sculptures. We also had the chance to host the amazing 15,000 balloons installation in the shape of a gigantic spiral, made by French photographer Charles Pétillon.’

Looking forward ‘Next year will, for sure, be a very special year. Some news will come as a special surprise that I have to keep under wraps for the moment, but first on our programme, we will reopen after Chinese New Year with a solo show by Liu Bolin, who has a great variety of works. Usually people know him for his Hidden in the City photographs, but he has so much more to show: sculptures, neon artworks, drawings. Next season will also host the much-awaited first show in China by New York-based duo FAILE. They have an amazing scope of work, with impressive mixed media artworks. I know the public here will love them.’

Caroline Boudehen, Art+ Shanghai Gallery


A bright art space by the Bund elegantly showcasing the works of emerging and established Chinese contemporary artists

Looking back ‘The year 2016 embodied a dynamic rhythm of exhibitions, switching between diverse solo, dual and group shows – all exploring different creativities of Chinese artists. The Art+ Shanghai Gallery stayed true to its goals: to support and promote both emerging and established Chinese artists, professionals of the art world and the public.

'Our group exhibitions The Impermanent Sceneries and I Will Be Your Eyes have not only showed the close cooperation with the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, but given an insight into emerging Chinese artists. In 2016, Art+ Shanghai also opened a space in Singapore, in partnership with Florence Honoré-Ybert. The year ended in a magnificent way – with Art+ being awarded both the Merit and Readers’ Choice award at the Time Out Love Shanghai Awards 2016 in the category Best Art Gallery of the Year.’

Looking forward ‘In 2017 Art+ Shanghai Gallery will celebrate its ten-year anniversary and various exhibitions are scheduled for the year ahead, starring Shen Hua, Zhang Wei and Seungmo Park. Art+ also has some surprises to offer, both in Shanghai and in its dedicated space in Singapore – new, promising artists have recently joined the gallery and will be announced soon. And as for our hopes for the New Year… how about winning all three of the awards at the Time Out Love Shanghai Awards 2017?!’

Steven Harris, M97 Gallery


An exciting gallery educating the masses on quality photography and unique creative processes

Looking back ‘It was one of the most interesting years yet for M97. After ten years on Moganshan Road and two years of the M97 Project Space in the French Concession, we officially moved in and set up both spaces on Changping Lu. My main intention and challenge was to get the gallery positioned for the next ten years of operation and exhibitions, thinking about new directions and ways forward in photography and the art world in general.

'The new spaces allow us to have two exhibitions at any time and we can give our artists more flexibility, while being on a rooftop in the heart of downtown Shanghai. We opened the upstairs Project Space with Luo Dan’s installation of large format collodion wet-plate landscapes and after the legendary Shanghai-born (1931) Hong Kong photographer Fan Ho’s passing in June, we opened the downstairs gallery space with a show dedicated to his vintage photographs, On the Stage of Life.’


Looking forward ‘We opened the year with young Hunan-based artist Huang Xiaoliang’s new work in the Project Space titled East Window. Also in the downstairs gallery space we will open Chengdu-based artist Adou’s new series of black and white photograms. Both these artists are some of the best talents working in contemporary photography right now in China, so I am very happy to be starting 2017 with their exhibitions.

'This month we will also exhibit for the first time at the new Photofairs San Francisco art fair (the sister fair to Shanghai Photofairs) and I’m excited about showing works from our Chinese artists to the fantastic photographic arts community in San Francisco and the States in general. This is something we will focus more on in 2017: taking artists overseas as well to keep introducing the great work that is currently coming out of China and try to help close the knowledge gap that exists.’

More museums to watch in 2017

Power Station of Art

Exceptional installation works inside a refurbished power station. Often showing three exhibitions at once, the museum also has an above-average café on the top floor, with a huge rooftop offering stunning views of the river. As it’s state run, entrance is usually free, with the current Biennale at a budget 20RMB, and only Cai Guoqiang’s bombastic The Ninth Wave coming in at PSA’s most expensive price of 60RMB.

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200 Huayuangang Lu

Shanghai Center of Photography

The elegant architecture and minimalist design make it the perfect place to display classic photographic works. Previous exhibitions include a retrospective of Hollywood photographer Brigitte Lacombe and a beautiful group exhibition by Chinese artists, Nature: A Subjective Place. Around the corner from Yuz Museum in the West Bund area, the gallery provides quiet refuge from the city’s more eccentric art spaces.

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2555 Longteng Dadao

Yuz Museum

The West Bund Art area is challenging (even surpassing) the much-loved urban industrial M50 for the top art hotspot in Shanghai. Set in an old airplane hanger, Yuz Museum plays no small part in this, with 9,000 square metres of gallery space. Having previously hosted the infamous Rain Room back in 2015, the Yuz is sure to be showing some of 2017 biggest shows.

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35 Fenggu Lu

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