The best art exhibitions in Shanghai right now

So many exhibitions, so little time? We've got you covered with our select list of brilliant shows in the city

Photograph: Courtesy Anna Sui Active and Modern Art Museum
From a colourful, textural pastiche of fashion to a juxtaposition of Chinese artists, shortcut it straight to the good stuff by heading to one of the very best exhibitions taking place in Shanghai right now.

Note: All art museums require a green Shanghai Health code to enter and a few galleries are appointment only, so we recommend checking hours/entry requirements before planning your visit.

The World of Anna Sui

Enter the world of Anna Sui at Modern Art Museum’s summer exhibit. Perhaps best known for her beauty products, Anna Sui has also been making waves in fashion and design over her almost 40- year career. Originally exhibited at London’s Fashion and Textile Museum, the exhibition shows a total of 100 pieces, spanning her inaugural 1991 fashion presentation to her Spring 2019 collection.

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Traces of Actions

Presenting over 40 pieces from the Long Museum Collection by abstract artists from China, Japan and Korea during the second half of the 20th century, this exhibition investigates how East Asian artists contributed to the genre in terms of techniques, subjects and medium after experiencing big social changes during the period, like the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Korea’s involvement in the Vietnam War and China’s reform and opening. Expect big names such as Kazuo Shiraga, Yayoi Kusama, Lee Ufan, Ding Yi and many more.

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

Alex Katz

New York artist Alex Katz has never fit in with the art world. During his 60 year career, his work has been caught between two of American’s biggest contributions to modern art: Abstract Expressionism and Minimalism. However, Katz distanced himself from both movements, which made his art highly recognisable yet hugely undervalued. That is, until 2019 when auctions of his works reached seven figures. Now 30 of his life creations are on display at Fosun Foundation, including paintings and sculptures of his ultimate muse – his wife Ada. 

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Fosun Foundation Shanghai , 600 Zhongshan Dong'er Lu Every day except Monday

Halcyon Days

Born in 1980 in Little Rock, Arkansas and trained at New York Studio School, Brooklyn-based artist Todd Bienvenu paints autobiographical works – beaches, phones, parties and sex – in an unrestrained manner and with a distinctive style. Splashed with heavy strokes and bright colours, his pieces explore the sensuality and fragility of the human body but with a lot of humour involved. Appointment necessary.

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Almine Rech , 27 Huqiu Lu Every day except Monday

Flow with Matter

Finnish artists Tommi Grönlund and Petteri Nisunen have been making complex technical installations since the ’90s. With an interest in reshaping space through direct intervention, their experimental art often involves use of light, magnetism, heat, gravity and even radioactivity. The duo’s first solo in China, the exhibition will showcase a total of 17 artworks that include installations, videos, photography and paintings.

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Shanghai Minsheng Art Museum , 210 Wenshui Lu 30 May - 29 Nov


This group exhibition of global artists explores the panoptic application of blockchain technology, placing technological topics, such as DAO (decentralized autonomous organization), cryptocurrencies and tokens, smart contracts, and crypto algorithms into dialogues with wider social and cultural context. If these words haven’t made your head dizzy already, this one is for you.

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Chronus Art Center , 50 Moganshan Lu Every day except Monday,Tuesday Free

A Misty Gaze Into Infinity

A graduate of the Lu Xun Academy of Fine Arts, Tang Jie’s medium of choice is the natural world – water, wood, sand and stone. In a solo exhibit at Powerlong Museum, across a dozen installations, the young Chinese artist looks beyond human interpretations to explore how natural elements like fire and water tell their own stories about life, the universe and natural order.

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Powerlong Museum , 3055 Caobao Road Every day except Monday

Participation Mystique

Located inside a former paper machine factory, Ming Contemporary Art Museum’s new exhibition merges psychoanalysis with art. 14 participating artists imagined themselves in a situation of great loss – whether it’s imaginary limb pain in Kader Attia’s photography or the exploration of the unconscious in Marianna Simnett’s installation – the show allows us to recognise the profound spiritual ties between us and the world. No preregistration needed, but an original ID or passport is necessary for the entry.

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Ming Contemporary Art Museum , 436 Yonghe Dong Lu Every day except Monday Buy tickets

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