10 exhibitions in Shanghai that we are excited about this season

Zaha Hadid, Kandinsky, Shanghai Biennale, Hajime Sorayama and more

Photograph: courtesy of the artist and NANZUKA Gallery (ntitled, Acrylic on illustration board, 1981)
Summer is around the corner and the art scene is heating up. From a big retrospective paying homage to legendary late architect Zaha Hadid to UCCA Edge's inaugural exhibition exploring Chinese contemporary art in a global context, here are the hottest exhibitions that you can't miss this summer.


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City on the Edge: Art and Shanghai at the Turn of the Millennium

The inaugural exhibition of UCCA Edge, the Shanghai outpost of the 798-based UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, ‘revisits the historic moment when China’s art world came to understand itself as part of a global contemporary’. Curated by UCCA director Philip Tinari, the exhibit features 20 Chinese and international artists and a selection of their works during the year 2000. Expect works from big names such as Huang Yong Ping, Lee Bul, Xu Zhen, Yang Fudong, Yang Zhenzhong, Zhang Enli, Zhang Peili, Matthew Barney and William Kentridge. 

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UCCA Edge , 88 Xizang Bei Lu Every day except Monday

Theaster Gates: Bad Neon

Strap on skates and hit the rink at Chicago-based artist Theaster Gates’ Shanghai exhibit. Known for ‘redeeming spaces that have been left behind’, Gates' unique use of places creates new ways to appreciate art. This time, he’s transformed one of Longhua Airport’s decommissioned aviation fuel tanks – aka No 3, TANK Shanghai – into a 1980s-style roller rink with an iceberg-shaped disco ball, ’80s house music and neon works inspired by abstract painter Agnes Martin and influential Black American social theorist W.E.B Du Bois. 

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TANK Shanghai , 2350 Longteng Avenue Every day except Monday Buy tickets

The Pioneer of Abstract Art: Kandinsky

The Centre Pompidou × West Bund Museum Project is presenting another heavyweight exhibition, this time bringing hundreds of paintings, drawings and engravings from pioneering abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky to Shanghai from the Centre Pompidou’s collection. Known for his abstract paintings that express feeling and music through the interplay of colours and shapes, Kandinsky is one of the major figures who changed the landscape of 20th-century art.

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West Bund Museum , 2600 Longteng Dadao Every day except Monday

Shanghai Biennale – Bodies of Water

Under the theme 'Bodies of Water', the 13th Shanghai Biennale invited artists across the globe to think beyond human-centred and nation-based narratives and explore forms of ‘fluid solidarity’. In plain words, the exhibition aims to change your perception of ‘body’ and ‘water’ both in a physical and metaphorical sense.Under the theme Bodies of Water, the 13th Shanghai Biennale invited artists across the globe to think beyond human-centred and nation-based narratives and explore forms of fluid solidarity. In plain words, the exhibition aims to change your perception of ‘body’ and ‘water’ both in a physical and metaphorical sense.

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Power Station of Art , 200 Huayuangang Lu Every day except Monday

Loie Hollowell: Recalibrate

Repeating geometric forms, compositional symmetry, varied surface textures and vibrant hues… These are the distinctive visual language elements of American artist Loie Hollowell whose autobiographical paintings often address her embodiment of pregnancy, in particular, ‘the transfiguring of the female body in stages of prenatal and postpartum existence’. Showcasing 15 large-scale paintings from her latest series Plumb Line, created between 2018 and 2020, this is her first solo museum exhibition and her debut presentation in China. 

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Long Museum West Bund , 3398 Longteng Avenue Every day except Monday

Yaacov Agam – Living Images

Discover the wealth of Yaacov Agam’s creativity in an exhibition designed for both adults and kids at the Playground inside the West Bund Museum. Adapted from Agam’s installation The Salon Agam (currently housed in the Musée National d'Art Moderne inside Centre Pompidou in Paris), Living Images transforms the Playground into a kaleidoscope of shapes and colours that is in perpetual transformation as the viewer moves.Born in 1928 in Israel, Yaacov Agam is an active figure in painting, sculpture, video-making, digital works and a pioneer of kinetic art.

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West Bund Museum , 2600 Longteng Dadao Every day except Monday

Coming soon

Zaha Hadid Architects Close Up: Work + Research

Legendary late architect Zaha Hadid was no stranger to incredible accolades: Stirling Prize winner in 2010 and 2011, UNESCO Artist for Peace 2010, named one of TIME magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in 2010 – to name just a few. Celebrating some of her incredible achievements, for the first time Zaha Hadid Architecture (ZHA) are bringing a large-scale exhibition to the Modern Art Museum. Spanning two floors, the exhibit shows models, renderings, photographs and audio-visual works of her most iconic designs around the globe, from proposals for The Peak Leisure Club in Hong Kong to Beijing Daxing International Airport, which was completed in 2019.

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Modern Art Museum , 4777 Binjiang Dadao Every day except Monday Buy tickets

Hajime Sorayama: Metropolis

From superrealist airbrush paintings of erotic robots, to the original design of the first mass-market robot dog Sony AIBO, to collaborations with luxury fashion brands, Hajime Sorayama has been wowing his cult following and mainstream admirers for over five decades. This summer, HOW Art Museum is bringing the artist’s first big institution show to Shanghai with paintings, sculptures and installations spanning the 1970s to today – including some of his latest works that pay tribute to Fritz Lang’s 1927 classic film Metropolis.

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HOW Art Museum , Lane 1 Lane 2277 Zuchongzhi Lu Every day except Monday

Valery Katsuba: Russian Romantic Realism

In association with Anna Nova Gallery in St Petersburg, SCOP’s new exhibition introduces Belarus-born photographer Valery Katsuba showing 38 works from the artist’s ten major series. Born in the '60s, Katsuba’s work pays homage to the grand tradition of Russian literature and is centred around the desire for beauty and perfection of the human bodies, which people across cultures share in common. Katsuba's works can be seen in the Centre Pompidou (Paris), the Russian Museum (St Petersburg) and the Museum of the San Fernando Royal Academy of Fine Arts (Madrid). 

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Shanghai Center of Photography , 2555 Longteng Dadao 12 Jun - 29 Aug

Tintin and Hergé

Celebrating the 92nd anniversary of The Adventures of Tintin, Power Station of Art teams up with Hergé Museum for the ‘world’s largest’ exhibition of Tintin and their creator Belgium-born illustrator Hergé (the pen name of Georges Remi). As well as showing original sketches, documents, archives and a documentary about the cartoonist and his creations, the exhibition also focuses on Hergé’s friend, Shanghai-born sculptor Zhang Chongren – who not only helped Hergé with his creations but also became one of the characters in the series’ fifth volume The Blue Lotus.

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Power Station of Art , 200 Huayuangang Lu Every day except Monday

Last chance to see

Grass and Colour – He Duoling Solo Exhibition

A few tags that make He Duoling a fascinating artist: for starters, He was among the generation of students whose tertiary education was interrupted by Cultural Revolution and was able to resume his study in 1977. Despite the fast development of contemporary art, the artist remains the quiet observer and keeps perfecting his own style that eventually integrates concepts of music, poetry architecture and other fields of study into his oil paintings that blend Chinese and Western paintings concepts and techniques to perfection. This site-specific retrospective showcases 70 works of the artist from the ‘80s to the present day.

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Long Museum West Bund , 3398 Longteng Avenue Every day except Monday

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The best spritzes in Shanghai

From classics with Aperol to fruity twists, here’s where to drink the iconic Italian aperitif in Shanghai

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By: Rupert Hohwieler

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