Chinese art museums: jewel boxes for rich cities and private collectors

Art museums are popping up everywhere in China. Whether developed by governments or private collectors, they share the same obsession with landmark architecture and they want to lead the development of the city through art and tourism.

In Shanghai the Long Museum and the Himalayas Art Museum are within 15min walk of each other in the new ‘art district’ of Pudong while the second Long Museum will open in 2014 in the new ‘cultural corridor of the West Bank’ alongside the Power Station of Art and the future Yuz Museum. The Rockbund Art Museum and the new Aurora Museum are infusing art in busy commercial and business districts in an attempt to bring more culture and lifestyle to Shanghai and its citizens.

Not far from Shanghai, the Suzhou Museum has become a perfect hub for this ‘Venice of the East’, where all tourists must start their visit. Its beautiful architecture by I.M. Pei has contributed to put Suzhou on the international map.

I like to think of art museums in China as ‘jewel boxes’ – as put by the owner of the Aurora Museum – for rich individuals and cities to show their treasures. Often times these treasures are similar from one museum to the other: ceramics, jade, etc. Here are a few examples from my recent visits to China:

Himalayas Art Museum by Japanese architect Arata Isozak

Himalayas Art Museum

Himalayas Art Museum

Long Museum by Beijing Zhong Song Design Studio

Long Museum

Long Museum

Aurora Museum by Japanese architect Tadao Ando

The best museum experience in Shanghai with ambient music, great lighting (perfect to take pictures of artifacts), good visitor flow over 5 small floors and an attractive museum shop. The small but carefully selected collection is organized by themes with very good educational displays on periods, techniques, etc

Aurora Museum

Aurora Museum

Aurora Museum

Aurora Museum

Yuz Museum by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto

Yuz Museum

Suzhou Museum by architect I.M. Pei

Suzhou Museum

Suzhou Museum

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