If you have half a day to spare, or happen to find yourself in the Zhangjiang area of Pudong, swing by the HOW Art Museum for a rewarding dose of contemporary culture and art.
Since opening in September 2017, the museum has dedicated its resources to presenting artists with diverse backgrounds, drawing on selected works from its founder Zheng Hao’s personal collection, as well as forging international collaborations. Following the success of Zheng’s hotel and museum in Wenzhou, the Shanghai HOW Art Museum and adjacent OneHome Art Hotel are impressive additions to his business expansion. The art museum, which occupies one wing of the hotel structure, contains three floors dedicated to temporary exhibitions, permanent collections, design exhibitions and a gift shop. Here’s a look inside.
The ground-level space currently showcases a solo exhibition titled Construction of Reality, which features works by Argentinian installation artist, Leandro Erlich. By extracting every-day objects from their conventional settings and turning them upside down and inside out, this show challenges the norms through which we perceive matters around us. The work which most vividly captures Erlich's concept here is ‘Building - Shanghai Bell Tower.' It consists of two structural parts: a replica of the Shanghai History Museum clocktower, and a mirror positioned at a 45-degree angle. By placing this piece on the ground horizontally and allowing visitors to lie down on its surface to watch their reflections the mirror, Erlich conjures up a gravity-defying, almost surrealist image that is deceiving to look at in isolation. Like the open-air urban installations the artist is renowned for, the works displayed here invite visitor participation and are, without a doubt, highly photogenic.
Upstairs, the exhibition titled Joseph Beuys displays works and memorabilia by the post-war German artist of the same name. Drawn from Zheng's personal collection, the exhibition includes everything Beuys has touched or scribbled on: from scraps of paper to mass-produced items signed by the artist himself. While this exhibition is more somber compared to Erlich’s, it presents Beuys’ active role in post-war German society in a personable way and makes an informative visit for kids and adults alike.
HOW Design Center and Store
The top level takes a more commercial spin on art and design. The ongoing Zaha Hadid Design x Crossover show, for instance, displays selected pieces of furniture by the late Iraqi-British ‘starchitect,’ and replicas of her designs can be purchased from the gift shop next door. Notably, this is also perhaps one of the most comprehensive museum shops in town. Hoarding a plethora of printed merchandise supplied by HOW's design team, these certainly make for great gifts and interior decorations.
Food & Drinks
For RMB100, you can visit all three exhibitions, before taking a break at the hotel cafe next to the gallery. A complimentary coffee comes with each purchased ticket, and for those in need of a well-deserved meal, one of the hotel’s three restaurants (serving Chinese, Japanese and International cuisines) should appease your taste buds.
To keep up with art news and museum events, subscribe to HOW Art Museum’s official WeChat page by scanning the QR code below. HOW Art Museum.