With Shanghai right around the corner, museum preparation staff have been busy reconfiguring the museum in ways we haven’t quite seen before.
Objects selected for Shanghai include not only the 2-D paintings and works on paper that visitors might expect, but a wide variety of furniture, textile arts, video works, and contemporary installations by leading Shanghai artists. This variety of object types can be a challenge for our designer. In particular, the museum’s existing gallery spaces were not originally designed to fit contemporary installation art or to display video art.
As a result, various spaces around the museum have been receiving substantial Shanghai makeovers.
The entirety of north court — a large open space between the special exhibition galleries that typically hosts education programs and special events — is now an exhibition space that will be filled with large-scale installation such as Zhang Jian-Jun’s Vestiges of a Process: Shanghai Garden with its thousands of antique Shanghai bricks, and Can You Tell Me, Liu Jianhua’s collection of stainless steel books presenting meditations on Shanghai’s possible futures.
Adjacent to north court, Hamon arcade (the passageway behind the museum store that connects the north and south courts) has undergone structural changes that will allow for the installation of Liu Jianhua’s evocative porcelain cityscape Shadow in the Water.
In order to display a selection of works by Shaghai artist working in video, the ground floor education resource room has been transformed into a viewing space. School groups will instead now meet in Tateuchi gallery on the second floor, where walls have been created to separate the space from surrounding galleries.
The regular special exhibition galleries — Lee, Hambrecht, and Osher — have also undergone major construction with new walls and platforms designed to best display approximately 120 works. Less visible throughout the galleries are more subtle changes, such as electrical upgrades to accommodate powered artworks and a revised flow plan for moving visitors through the new series of gallery spaces.
All of these changes mean that the entire ground floor of the museum will be alive with art for the next seven months. For our regular visitors, the changes may be a bit disorienting at first. But for many, encountering new art in unanticipated spaces will be a distinctive part of the Shanghai experience.
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