20 incredible art museums and galleries in Shanghai

From the classical to the contemporary, the indies to the institutions, these art spaces have it all

Photograph: teamLab Borderless Shanghai (Forest of Resonating Lamps - One Stroke, Snow)
With over a hundred art spaces spread out all over the city, Shanghai certainly has no shortage of great art. But with so much choice it can be hard to know where to start. Whether you’re looking for cutting edge contemporary works or something more classical, from institutions to indies, here’s a shortlist of city’s greatest art galleries and museums.​

Major art institutions

The iconic destinations shaping Shanghai’s art scene

Power Station of Art
Photograph: courtesy Power Station of Art

Power Station of Art

You’ll need to set aside at least a few hours to work your way through this humongous former power plant-turned-contemporary art museum (China’s first state run) that hosts some of the city’s highest profile art events. It’s been home to the Shanghai Biennale since 2012 and past exhibitions have shown works by Andy Warhol, Cai Guo-Qiang, Niki de Saint Phalle, Yves Klein and many more. Current exhibitions include illustrious creative studio M/M Paris' sprawling show M/Made in Shanghai and Jilin-born, Shanghai-based artist Zhang Enli's A Room That Can Move. 

Read more
200 Huayuangang Lu
Fosun Foundation Shanghai
Photograph: courtesy 247tickets

Fosun Foundation Shanghai

Located in the sleek Bund Finance Center (instantly recognisable for its façade of bronze-coloured pipes that move with music), Fosun Foundation pulls in big-name exhibitions from the international contemporary art world, including the likes of Alex Katz, Yayoi Kusama, Cindy Sherman and Julian Opie.

Read more
600 Zhongshan Dong Er Lu
Rockbund Art Museum
Photograph: courtesy SmartShanghai

Rockbund Art Museum

Currently closed for renovations and due to reopen this year, Rockbund Art
Museum (RAM) has gained a name for itself for all things quirky since it first opened in 2010. Situated in the historic Royal Asiatic Society building at the north end of The Bund, RAM regularly exhibits works from some of China’s biggest contemporary artists (Cai Guo-Qiang, Lin Tianmiao, Song Dong, the list goes on). The building retains the minimalist, Art Deco style of its original 1930s design and is itself a piece of art worth a visit.

Read more
20 Huqiu Lu
Shanghai Center of Photography
Photograph: courtesy 上海摄影艺术中心 via Weibo

Shanghai Center of Photography

A labyrinth of small rooms each dedicated to nothing but photography, SCoP has become a hub for citydwellers who believe photography is so much more than taking selfies. Founded by Liu Heung Shing in 2015 and co-directed by Karen Smith, the impressive museum presents four exhibitions a year, hosting some of the art world’s classic photographic works by talented photographers from China and abroad. 

Read more
2555 Longteng Dadao
Yuz Museum
Photo: courtesy of dmb-shanghai

Yuz Museum

From Random International’s famous Rain Room back in 2015 to Alberto Giacometti's sublime retrospective to Gucci and Maurizio Cattelan’s collab show The Artist is Present, Yuz Museum has dedicated its 9,000sqm space (the museum is set inside an old aircraft hangar in the West Bund art area) to some of Shanghai’s most impressive exhibitions since it opened back in 2014.

Read more
35 Fenggu Lu
Long Museum West Bund
Photograph: Yu Zhiming

Long Museum West Bund

Founded by billionaire collectors Liu Yiqian and Wang Wei in 2012, this private art museum currently has two locations in Shanghai (West Bund and Pudong) with a third in Chongqing. Between ancient and contemporary Chinese art exhibitions – mostly coming from the couple’s enormous private collection – to high-profile international shows, these halls don’t disappoint. Plus, admission is free on the first day of the month. The Pudong location is currently closed. 

Read more
3398 Longteng Avenue

Must-see galleries and museums

From cutting-edge to classical, these unmissable spaces have it all

island6
Photograph: courtesy island6

island6

Whimsical and quirky, this M50 studio and gallery exhibits the multimedia works of avant-garde Shanghai-based art collective island6 (Liu Dao). Made up of around 20 painters, sculptors, photographers, technicians and more, the collective explores the future of Asia – with a particular focus on the role of technology – via interactive works created using a mix of traditional and contemporary mediums: LED art, video, paper cutting, oil painting, photography and more.

Read more
50 Moganshan Lu
Art+ Shanghai Gallery
Photographs: courtesy Art+ Shanghai Gallery

Art+ Shanghai Gallery

Overlooking the serene Suzhou Creek and only a short walking distance from The Bund, Art+ Shanghai Gallery represents a mix of must-see established and emerging contemporary Chinese artists across different art forms. Think brilliant names like Ye Hongxing, Huang Yulong and artist collective Tamen.

Read more
191 Nan Suzhou Lu
Galerie Dumonteil
Photograph: courtesy Galerie Dumonteil

Galerie Dumonteil

Nestled in the heart of Old Xuhui, the small-but-mighty Shanghai outpost of the Paris-founded gallery is the go-to place in the city to get your figurative sculpture fix with works by artists from across China and Europe.

Read more
199 Hengshan LuFree
Perrotin Gallery
Photograph: courtesy Perrotin 

Perrotin Gallery

The Shanghai branch of the chic international gallery is tucked away on the top floor of the historic Amber Building – a former warehouse of the Central Bank of China in the mid-20th century. Living up to the gallery’s mission of discovering and representing rising stars, the spacious Shanghai location presents group and solo exhibitions by mainly contemporary artists like JR, Takashi Murakami, Mark Ryden and Ni Youyu.

Read more
27 Huqiu Lu
BANK Gallery

BANK Gallery

Critics' pick

Collaborating with artists, galleries and collectors from all over the world on a programme that sets out to shock and provoke, this contemporary Anfu Lu gallery and home to MABSOCIETY engages with international issues that spark conversation.

Read more
Lane 298 Anfu Lu
Chronus Art Center
Datumsoria, Jon Kessler at Chronus Art Space in 2018

Chronus Art Center

Chronus Art Center has been ploughing its own artistic furrow since 2013. Set inside M50, and founded by entrepreneur Dillion Zhang, curator Li Zhenhua and pioneer in new media art Hu Jieming, this is where art and technology synergise. Past exhibitions deal with cryptocurrency, WeChat and computers just to name a few. 

Read more
50 Moganshan Lu
Prada Rong Zhai
Photograph: courtesy 帕瓦力 via Weibo

Prada Rong Zhai

Rong Zhai is a beautiful historic mansion that’s worth a visit in its own right. Restored by Prada, the space opened in 2017 after six years of reconstruction by a team of Italian and Chinese craftsmen and architects. The hundred-year-old, three-storey villa is now used for private events and exhibitions from artists endorsed by Prada across the globe. The Prada Rong Zhai mansion is currently closed, but keep an eye out for upcoming exhibitions.

Read more
No. 186 Shaanxi Bei Lu
Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre
Photograph: Yang Xiaozhe

Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Centre

Home to a fascinating collection of Chinese propaganda posters created beween 1910 and 1990, you won’t find an art museum like the Shanghai Propaganda Poster Art Center anywhere else in the world. Founder Yan Peiming first started collecting back in the ’90s and has amassed over 5,000 works – many rescued from recycling centres and rubbish bins. 

Read more
868 Huashan Lu
Lisson Gallery
Photograph: Courtesy Lisson Gallery

Lisson Gallery

First opening over half a century ago in London, Lisson Gallery is responsible for propelling the careers of key minimal and conceptual artists like Robert Ryman, Sol LeWitt and group Art & Language, as well as big-name British sculptors, like Julian Opie. Open by appointment only, gallery landed in Shanghai roughly two years ago, and while the Bundside space isn’t the largest you’ve ever seen, you can expect to see big names popping in – including their current exhibition of Opie’s latest works. 

Read more
27 Huiqiu Lu
Capsule Shanghai
Photograph: courtesy Capsule

Capsule Shanghai

Residing in a renovated 1930s garden house in Old Xuhui, this appointment-only gallery has its eyes set on China’s artists who push the boundaries of contemporary art and are destined for an international stage. If you go to the right show, you might just spot the next big thing. Open by appointment only (book via WeChat ID 'CapsuleShanghai').  

Read more
Lane 275 Anfu Lu
ShanghART Gallery West Bund

ShanghART Gallery West Bund

Among the first batch of contemporary art galleries established in China, ShanghART is a hotbed of talent dedicated to the development of Chinese contemporary art, helping many up-and-coming artists on their way to national and international success. Some of the aritsts ShanghART has supported on their way include Zeng Fanzhi, Ding Yi, Zhang Enli, Yang Fudong and Xu Zhen.

ShanghART Gallery (West Bund), Bldg 10, 2555 Longteng Dadao, near Fenggu Lu.

ShanghART Gallery (M50), Bldg 16, 50 Moganshan Lu, near Xi Suzhou Lu.

Read more
2555 Longteng Avenue

Noticeable Newcomers

The fresh faces making waves

West Bund Museum
Photograph: Aki, courtesy West Bund Museum

West Bund Museum

Opened in November 2019, West Bund Museum exhibits a fantastic collection of contemporary art on loan from Paris’ Centre Pompidou (home to the largest collection of modern art in Europe) as part of a five-year project between the two museums that will bring a series of exhibitions to Shanghai until 2024. Currently you can see the works of some of the world’s best artists since the 1920s – Wassily Kandinsky, Jackson Pollock, Piet Mondrian, Marcel Duchamp and more.

Read more
2600 Longteng Dadao
YellowKorner
Photograph: courtesy YellowKorner

YellowKorner

If you’re looking to take some high-quality art home with you without breaking the bank, pick up gorgeous photographs at the Shanghai outpost of YellowKorner, a global gallery first founded in Paris in 2006 and now has almost 100 locations all over the world. Displaying and selling limited-edition art photographs from renowned photographers, here you’ll see works from the likes of Damien Dufresne, Arno Elias and Chinese photographer Yang Bin.

YellowKorner (Ferguson Lane), Ferguson Lane, 376 Wukang Lu, near Taian Lu. 

YellowKorner (Anfu Lu), 201 Anfu Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu.

Read more
376 Wukang Lu
teamLab Borderless Shanghai
Photograph: courtesy teamLAB Borderless Shanghai

teamLab Borderless Shanghai

After dazzling with their inaugural Shanghai exhibition at TANK Shanghai in the spring of 2019, by late autumn that year Japanese digital art collective teamLAB had set up their first permanent museum outside of Japan right here in our fair city. Located right next to fellow giant the Power Station of Art and sprawling across 6,600sqm, the interactive space is a playground of mirrored rooms reflecting infinite lights, colours and immersive projection art that mixes dreams and reality.

Read more
100 Huayuangang Lu

Incoming

UCCA Edge
Photograph: courtesy of K. Wah Group 

UCCA Edge

One to watch in the new year, Beijing’s brilliant contemporary art museum UCCA is getting a Shanghai outpost in early this year. Designed by New York-based architecture and design firm SO-IL, the three-storey, 5,000sqm museum will be the institution’s third location, after its original space in the capital’s 798 art district and UCCA Dune overlooking the Bohai Sea. If programming from the other locations is anything to go by, we can expect big things – previous shows in Beijing include the most comprehensive Pablo Picasso exhibition ever held in China and its current exhibition dedicated to augmented reality featuring artists like KAWS, Nina Chanel Abney, Olafur Eliasson and Cao Fei. 


Visit ucca.org.cn for more information.

A beginner’s guide to… M50 vs West Bund

Sure, you’ll find art all over the city, but when it comes to the areas where most museums and galleries congregate, it’s not difficult to narrow it down to these two – M50 and West Bund. 

M50
Photograph: Tamsin Smith

M50

The textile mill-turned-art zone at 50 Moganshan Lu in Putuo district has been around for two decades. Since its establishment by local artist Xue Song in 2000, the former industrial space attracted a string of artists to set up their studios for its convenient location and cheap rent. Today, M50 has well secured its status as a significant incubator for a much edgier and more experimental branch of contemporary art.

Read more
50 Moganshan Lu
West Bund
Photograph: Simon Menges, courtesy West Bund Museum

West Bund

The younger West Bund on the Xuhui Waterfront is becoming Shanghai’s new art centre. It houses institutions that pull in big ticket shows and a plethora of sleek galleries, artist studios and design firms. The annual West Bund Art and Design Fair, which takes place there, has put the area under the spotlight for the world to see.

Read more

Comments