I want to write my blog entry not only as a review of things which happened here but rather as a guide for the next MCM groups to provide some useful tips about the art scene in Shanghai. The metropolis has culturally seen much more to offer than only the skyscraper silhouette of Pudong or the many rooftop bars and clubs on the Bund.
I want the journey to begin in the heart of Shanghai at People’s Square. In the middle of the park next to Tomorrow Square there lies the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA). During our stay it hosted an exhibition by Japanese artist Kusama Yayoi. Maybe some of you know her also since she collaborated with Marc Jacobs in 2012 for the new Louis Vuitton bag collection. Almost every one of the group went to see „A dream I dreamed“ and it seems Kusama dreams of many dots, not surprisingly they are her trademark since the 1960s. If MOCA does not host an exhibition and you are in the mood for some modern and young art you can also check out the Power Station of Art. This giant museum is located in the Urban Best Practice Area south of Nanpu Bridge. Placed in a former electricity plant you will see not only works from Chinese artists like chopsticks who count calories but also international artists are hosted. During my visit there was also an exhibition of students of „Die Angewandte“ from Vienna. In general the Power Station of Art offers continuously changing exhibitions. It has a great terrace and a restaurant on the 8th floor with a spectacular view of the EXPO area and the river.
If museums are not your thing and you are more into performance there are plenty of venues to go. Of course there is the big Mercedes-Benz Arena hosting international stars like the Rolling Stones but there are many small and hidden venues and within no time you will find yourself on a rooftop garden downtown watching a modern dance performance. For those kind of events I recommend websites likeor .
What you should definitely not miss during your stay in China is watching a Beijing Opera. This cultural treasure of China has seen some changes in the last years. With sagging audience numbers they did some reforms and try nowadays to combine the best of traditional opera and modern performance, in a new and agile theatrical style. I think for westerners this new style of Beijing Opera might be easier to handle since it is not anymore hours of strange and irregular sounds (to our ears). Therefore it might be the best preparation for a classical Beijing Opera which still can be seen in plenty of venues. I was driven away by the play „One hundred years on stage“ by director Li Xiao Ping and the Guoguang Opera Company at the Shanghai Grand Theatre. You could feel the excitement of the audience since after almost every song or acrobatic stunt people were screaming „Hao!“ and clapping enthusiastically. Going to the opera in China differs from Europe. No one will dress up with long evening gowns or wear a tie. I saw people wearing jogging suits and sneakers as well as simply jeans. Some even had a snack during the performance or were talking on their phones which was naturally not put on silence. In Beijing at the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) you will get security checked like at the airport so do not bring your camera with you or you will have to leave it the wardrobe.
In the end I want to recommend to be open and outgoing to meet new people and therefore you will get to know the best shows, acts and venues!