Thursday, October 19, 2006

Moganshan Lu (Road in English) is situated next to Suzhou Creek in north-central PuXi, Shanghai. A collection of art galleries featuring contemporary painters, Moganshan Road calls to mind a unique artistic vibe, something akin to Chelsea in New York. Of course, one is unable to not feel that it remains a bit peculiar, an artistic enclave among a sea of skyscrapers that tower in the distance. Of course, one has to come to expect these odd juxtapositions in Shanghai, and in terms of art, the galleries of Moganshan Road do not disappoint.
MSG Art, a gallery operating out of Los Angeles, has recently opened its doors at 87 Moganshan Road, featuring the works of Chi Peng, He Jie, and Zhong Shan. Perhaps the most exciting feature about the gallery is its hopes to open a cultural exchange among its artists, allowing for American and international artists to spend a month on site at the gallery exchanging ideas with local Chinese artists.
Another important gallery is that of BizArt, which is located on the fourth floor of 50 Moganshan Road, Building No. 7. Opening in 1998, BizArt is one of the only truly non-profit galleries in Shanghai. As China does not currently have a system in place for non-profit galleries, BizArt has to engage in a rather complicated system to move money around. The director is committed, however, to ensuring that BizArt remain untainted from cashing in on artists, or being supported by large real estate developers, as is Zendai. Although recently having run into some problems (which remain sensitive), the gallery continues to forge ahead with new artist exhibitions. The current exhibition, running from October 13th until October 20th, is ElectriCITY, featuring the work of Shi Qing. For more information, visit
Yet another important gallery is that of Eastlink, located at 50 Moganshan Road, Building No. 6, fifth floor. Having opened in 1999, the gallery boasts 900 square meters of space, and is currently exhibiting “Extension Turn 2”, with works by a collection of international contemporary artists. One of the most striking currently on display is that of Johannes Speder, entitled “Mountain”. This work lies near the entrance to Eastlink, and occupies most of the front of the gallery. This captivating work lies across from another piece by He Yunchang entitled, “Beyond Mountains and the Sky”, a series of photographs detailing the artists attempt to use his own strength to push against the strength of an explosion. Eastlink is also featuring articles by seventeen different scientists in its catalogue, along with the twenty-seven participating artists. Eastlink also sells various antiques and past artwork in side rooms, to raise capital for its artistic endeavors.
Finally, one should not finish their visit to Moganshan without stopping at ShanghART, located on 50 Moganshan Road, Buildings 16 & 18. Currently, the works of Zeng Fanzhi were on display, displaying his completely unique approach to art, with various works on display. The new exhibit, by Pu Jie, has been set to open on October 18th, and runs until October 31st. One can find more at some might feel that Moganshan has a feel of a slightly contrived space, especially in high-rise Shanghai, there is no disputing that the galleries there have no qualms about taking risks and pushing boundaries in China. A visit to Moganshan will not disappoint, and with around 100 galleries that are constantly changing exhibits, the scene here is never static. Moganshan sets the pace for the rest of the Shanghai art scene, and for those who want to see things before the move to the Shanghai MoCA or Zendai, Moganshan is the place to be.

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