The Arts in Society’s Updates

Contemporary Art Sizzles in Shanghai: Power Station of Art Grows Up With a 10th Biennale

Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons / Kimon Berlin by CC BY-SA 2.0 | Article Link | by Amy Qin

Few knew what to expect of the Power Station of Art when it blew onto the contemporary art scene here in 2012. Just one year earlier, the Power Station — the first state-owned contemporary art museum in China — had been but a half-baked idea in the minds of local government officials intent on transforming Shanghai into an international cultural capital.

By the time the Power Station was set to make its debut by playing host to the ninth Shanghai Biennale, construction workers and artists alike were hurrying until the final hours to prepare the space, a colossal decommissioned electrical power plant, for the show. Despite last-minute efforts, the hastily assembled biennale — with its roughly installed artwork, missing or misprinted wall labels and poorly trained staff — made for a lackluster start, leaving many with questions about the museum’s sustainability.

Now, two years later, those doubts appear to be diminishing as the Power Station, one of the few public institutions in China dedicated to contemporary art, finds its footing in the flourishing contemporary art scene here.


Image courtesy of WikiMedia Commons / Kimon Berlin by CC BY-SA 2.0