A Guide to West Bund Cultural Corridor
You could lose a whole week exploring Shanghai’s fabulous West Bund Cultural Corridor, with its host of museums and galleries transforming the wide riverside promenade into a culture-vulture must-see, but let us break you in gently with just a day. Here’s the LUXE skinny on gadding about this engrossing, emerging art district, from scouting an old aeroplane hanger to probing a tycoon-owned cultural compound…
Armed with a map, comfy flats and a black turtleneck, hail a cab from The Peninsula for the 25-minute journey south towards the West Bund. Hop out at the staggering Yuz Museum, a behemoth art gallery that measures in at 9,000 sq m (incorporating massive airplane hangars) and pays powerful tribute to contemporary Asian art. Owned by Indo-Chinese billionaire Budi Tek, Yuz puts Shanghai firmly and decisively on the global art map.
You’ve got time for another gallery-hop before lunch. Further proof of the West Bund Cultural Corridor’s creative credentials comes via the small but innovatively formed Shanghai Centre of Photography (SCôP for short), the city’s first dedicated shutterbug snug. Founded by Pulitzer Prize-winning Liu Heung Shing – one of China's foremost photographers – it’s a pleasing hybrid of gallery and museum for contemporary and archival snapshots.
You’ll be hungry after all that perusing, so pause for a pitstop at one of the West Bund’s excellent restaurants. Refreshed and refueled, hit the West Bund Art Center, which does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a centre of arts and fashion events, and host to West Bund Art & Design. Bring your flying jacket and goggles if you like – the Center is housed in a former aircraft factory.
Later in the afternoon – and possibly after a quick java jolt – continue the art kicks at ShanghART, sister to ShanghART Gallery at M50, one of China’s first contemporary art galleries. This little gem does the family proud, showcasing an oft-updated selection of the country’s most relevant contemporary artists.
There’s time for one more art attack before dinner, so make it a good one. Joining its fellow Long Museum outpost in Pudong, Long Museum West Bund is a privately owned art gallery founded by Liu Yiqian and his wife Wang Wei. Exhibitions to keep an eye out for here include the acclaimed Anthony Gormley-retrospective Still Moving, and SHE: International Women Artists Exhibition. Sm-art!
Yuz Museum / 35 Fenggui Lu / +86 21 6426 1901 / 10am-9pm Tue-Sun / yuzmshanghai.org
SCôP / 2555-1 Longteng Dajie / +86 21 6428 9516 / 10.30am-5.30pm Tue-Sun / scop.org.cn
West Bund Art Center / 2555 Longteng Dajie / westbund.com
ShanghART / 2555-10 Longteng Dajie / +86 21 6359 3923 / 11am-6pm Tue-Sun / shanghartgallery.com
Long Museum / 3398 Longteng Dajie / +86 21 6422 7636 / 10am-6pm Tue-Thu & Sun, 10am-9pm Fri-Sat / thelongmuseum.org