Updated: 2012-09-16 08:04
By Zhang Kun (China Daily)
The China Pavilion, a highlight of the World Expo 2010, will be relaunched as the China Art Palace on Oct 1. Provided to China Daily
With the opening of China Art Palace in October, art lovers can feast their eyes on masterpieces that were rarely displayed because of the space constraints of its present venue. Zhang Kun checks out the artistic new home in Shanghai.
The China Pavilion, a must-visit highlight at the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, will re-open to the public as a brand-new China Art Palace on Oct 1.
It will be the new address of the Shanghai Art Museum, which used to be housed at a heritage building on Nanjing West Road. The new premises will put the museum on par with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.
In terms of space, the new palace is 10 times larger than its former building, big enough to provide individual exhibition halls to Chinese master artists such as Ren Bonian (1840-1896), Wu Guanzhong (1919-2010), and Lin Fengmian (1900-1991).
Zong Ming, deputy director of the city's publicity department, says the opening of China Art Palace in the previous China Pavilion, together with the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art in the former Pavilion of the Future, will fill the gaps of Shanghai's museum system.
"Many of the masterpieces were kept in the warehouse most of the time because there was not enough exhibition space previously in Shanghai," says Zong.
For example, although the Shanghai Art Museum is the largest receiver of contemporary painter Wu Guanzhong's donated works on the Chinese mainland, the gallery did not have space to hold a permanent show of all his masterpieces.
"So far, we've only presented 37 oil paintings and sketches by Wu," says Jiang Mei, China Art Palace curator. More than 70 of Wu's ink-and-water paintings are now on loan to exhibitions in the United States.
Jiang says the exhibition hall dedicated to Lin Fengmian will feature one of the largest and best collections of the modern master's works.
It took 10 months to refurbish the former China Pavilion and Pavilion of the Future to turn them into art museums, according to Tan Zhenghao, the refurbishing project manager. "I can assure you that the construction is of high quality," Tan told China Daily during a preview of the China Art Palace.
The Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art is based on an old building which was a former power plant in the early 20th century, with a chimney as high as 165 meters still standing as the landmark.
The museum plans to establish a systematic collection of contemporary art within three years, through government procurement, public donation and other channels. "An art council will guarantee the choice and quality of the art work," says Hu Jinjun, director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture, Radio, Film and TV.
For a start, the Shanghai Museum of Contemporary Art will host the 9th Shanghai Biennale in October.
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(China Daily 09/16/2012 page15)