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Shanghai art scene


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When I was studying in Beijing a couple of years ago I virtually lived in the 798 art district. Even before I left it was getting tacky (big plastic yellow babies hanging from the ceiling, anyone?) but there were some very cool exhibits and some great artists and photographers (foreign and local) would have small gallery openings. Not only would I get free wine and snacks, but I got to mingle with pretentious people, which I find entertaining in an odd kind of way.

Anyway ... next month I'm going to Shanghai for a week. Is there anything similar? Or, even better, similar to the smaller art districts which have now sprung up in Beijing between 798 and the airport? I'm going to be in Shanghai for a week, around a two-day conference. I'm travelling alone, so looking for things to do. I plan on spending half my time eating xiaolongbao.

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Thanks! M50 seems to be a clone of 798 in that they both kicked off in old factories dating back to the 30s and 40s, and are on the edge of their respective towns. I'm sure I'll love it.

Also, shanghaieye has some interesting stuff.

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  • 1 month later...

Not totally relevant to this thread, but as the chance of a response is almost zero it seemed a waste to start a new thread for it ;)

I'm in Shanghai from 3 to 9 November and on 5th & 6th am attending SAP TechEd. Is anyone else going to be at TechEd?

If there's anyone in Shanghai who'd like to meet me to visit the art complex or even just eat 小笼包 (xiaolongbao) and 生煎馒头 (shengjian - are they really mantou?) with me, please drop me a PM or post here to swap emails.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Time for an update : I had a great time in Shanghai and although the people don't seem as relaxed or "smiley" as Beijingers, once you're away from the business area and main tourist drag, they are just as friendly and welcoming.

I spent quite a long time at the m50 art district. It does have a lot of rubbish (similar to Beijing's 798) but I love exploring all the old factories, many of which have only been partly converted into art galleries. This means you can explore all sorts of nooks and crannies, and I found a couple of rooms covered in rather cool graffiti.

I spent almost an hour chatting with an artist and his wife. Probably would have been a 10 minute conversation for most people, but with my basic Chinese it took a while to exchange points :) Very recommended if you're interested in looking at what the Chinese contemporary art scene is doing, especially if you like rolling your eyes at all the current cliches, which I do.

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