Shanghai has been exposed to the West since the 19th. century while China itslef, through the fabled Silk Road, begun its contacts with the Western world as early as the Western Han (206 BC - 24 AD), when silk was a most sought after commodity in the West.
This is an important factor to bear in mind for those less acquainted with Chinese History.
However the present article deals more in depth with today's Shanghai, its 20 million inhabitants, and some limited experience with the thriving art world in China today.

Everything in the world is relative, every reality is a specificity from where one should extract one's personal conclusions.
Shanghai is a portentous city of an extraordinay cleanliness, high civic behavior, and in a continuous economical explosion which serves as the new window for the China that will be in a very near future.
If Beijing is the political capital of China, Shanghai is undoubtedly its economic capital. This visit of mine focused mainly in Museums and on the observation of the superb enterpreneurship, civilized and well learned, that allows for a intelligent free market.

Corroborating what I said, this Italian restaurant - apparently luxurious, but just apparently - is located in a new urban area in the new area of Putong, where just six years ago there was just a tower. The added value of these new areas is achieved by the planning of pleasant squares where coffe shops and restaurants offer outside esplanades, shops, art galleries. There is no pure speculation with real estate. After the late but excellent lunch we headed towards Zendai MoMa, a contemporary art Museum that will be having a huge self sustained cultural center within the next two years. At the gallery there was an exhibition of the most talented Chinese new wave artists.

Director Shen Qi Bin, majored in Hamburg, received us in the traditional Chinese way, with exchange of name cards and exchange of gifts. Note the superb painting of political analysis of more than 4 meters long, unthinkable to be exhibited 10 years ago. The photographs that follow show the visit to the Museum.

Our next visit took us to the Museum of Contemporary Art, entirely private and financed by Mr. Samuel Kung from Hong Kong, who invested over 20 million Euros in the Museum. The Museum includes a bar on the terrace where one can enjoy a beautiful view.

Mr. Kung on the left receiving the Macau Museum of Art Director and the Vice-President of IACM (Macau's version of City Council) and the superb contemporary architecture of the Museum.
The Director and myself could not resist in having a picture taken near a playful work of art of the Museum, which has a special gallery for video-art.

One of the curious aspects of the Museum is the multinationalism of its assistants. O young local Chinese, then two lady assistants, ne from Singapore and another from Austria, then it is the usual photographic group, then in the beautiful terrace, a German photographer and his agent that were discussing an exhibition. The demand of Shanghai by the West continues.

The hotel we stayed at was full, despite the immense rooms offer. And Shanghai by night is beautiful. Streets are lit by hundreds of neon advertisements while the people enjoy the super modern shopping centers.

The next morning was splendorous as the contemporary buildings located in the center of Shanghai. The two pictures on the left show two white buildings that are, one a cultural center, and the other, the performance arts center. Then we can see the superbly treated grass and finally the Shanghai Museum that we visited.

A typical example of the incorporation of the circle as the heavenly shape in the official architecture. The circle symbolizes heaven and hence, the place of knowledge. Many of the traditional and even contemporary Chinese architectural specimens make use of this type of symbology. Then, a photograph of the Calligraphy room, superbly set up.

The Jade Room, with some specimens as old as Chinese civilization, are displayed in a darkened room to highlight the pieces. Following Chinese custom, we were invited to a lunch by the Museum Director together with senior staff of the Museum. Finally, a Shanghainese artist that lived in Macau having dinner with us in a traditional Chinese restaurant.
The next day we would travel to Hangzhou.

       

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