Shanghai’s Booming Art Scene Adds Another Landmark: The Museum of Art Pudong

Vue sur Pudong depuis le Bund, Shanghai, China, January 24, 2015 | © Courtesy of Nicolas Vollmer/Flickr.

As its cultural industries develop, Shanghai evinces the traits of an alternative center of global cultural production in the making.

A Blog Post by Pablo Markin.


As this city seeks to further its status as a cultural hub, such as by supporting research centers dealing with its cultural heritage, the Museum of Art Pudong has recently opened in the vicinity of Shanghai’s Oriental Pearl Tower located in the Lujiazui district in early July, 2021. While not necessarily rivaling the total floor area of the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York, which stands at almost 66,000 square meters, this newly opened museum compares well with that by offering the estimated 17,200 square meters of gallery space that MoMA sports, as right from the beginning it offers around 13,000 square meters of exhibition areas across 13 halls over the planned total floor area of 40,000 square meters. Designed by the world-renowned, prize-winning architect Jean Nouvel, this art museum reflects the industry-building approach behind this landmark that aims to provide art education, serve as a tourism destination and hold academic and leisure events.

In other words, this museum is but one example of Shanghai-centric urban development strategies seeking to claim a piece of the globalized event economy pie. To do that, the Museum of Art Pudong (MAP) not only adds to the local cultural cluster that the historical Bund promenade forms at the other side of the Huangpu river, but also draws on the growing international cultural clout of this metropolis, such as via partnerships with London’s Tate Gallery in an extensive loan of the more valuable 100 works from its holdings spanning the development history of modern Western art, such as from British pre-Raphaelites and classical painting, e.g., Joseph M. W. Turner to a representative loan show of the eponymous artist’s 60 works from Barcelona’s Museum Fundació Joan Miró. These extensive retrospectives are topped off with a commissioned art piece from the celebrated, New York-residing contemporary Chinese artist Cai Guoqiang built around the perennial topics of Odyssey and homecoming.

This highlight is only one spot across the burgeoning cultural landscape of Shanghai, which most likely in the not-so-far-off future will add the new venue for the Shanghai Academy of Fine Arts in the refurbished steel factory in the Baoshan district, as part of the redevelopment plans with which the architectural team of von Gerkan, Marg and Partners has carried the corresponding international competition. With the estimated total floor area of 220,000 square meters, this art cluster will comprise academy premises, artist studios, library quarters, public areas, museum halls, restaurant facilities and exhibition sites, in reflection of the ambitious efforts by this city to become a crossroads for global art exchanges.

By Pablo Markin


Featured Image Credits: Vue sur Pudong depuis le Bund, Shanghai, China, January 24, 2015 | © Courtesy of Nicolas Vollmer/Flickr.


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