Asia’s Art Cities According to Collectors: Zheng Hao on Shanghai

ART Power HK

Editor’s Note: There are many sides to modern Asian metropolis, and just as many ways to visit them. For collectors and art lovers, the best way to explore new urban scenarios and learn about a country’s cultural, social and political situation is certainly through contemporary art. However, the question for those who set foot in a new city for the first time is always the same: where do I start my artistic adventure from?

Here at CoBo we have a few, very exciting cues; for our Asia’s Art Cities Guide we have asked the most authoritative local collectors to share their best kept secrets about their own city’s art scene. Whether it is Kim Camacho’s Manila, the Jakarta art scene through the eyes of Tom Tandio, Adrian Cheng’s recommendations about the new cultural districts in Hong Kong, Disaphol Chansiri’s anticipation of the two new biennales in Thailand, Ivan Pun’s exploration in Myanmar, Ichrio Fukano’s highlights on art and lifestyle in Tokyo, the exclusive insights of Tarana Sawhney on Delhi, Higgin Kim’s insider’s take on Seoul, or Zheng Hao’s all-time favourite Shanghai, we want to give you a foray into what these Asian fast-developing cities have to offer.

In conjunction with our collectors art tours, we want to bring you straight to the galleries, art spaces, or informal hangouts that will influence trends for the Asian art scene to come, to see by yourself in which direction the artistic stream is going. If it’s true that exploring the Asian art scene means getting off the beaten path and taking an unconventional look at these vibrant hubs, then wearing the lens of these bunch of top-notch insiders is the best way to do it.


The renowned art collector and entrepreneur Zheng Hao is also the mastermind behind the HOW Art Museum. Started collecting at the age of 7, Zheng’s massive collection of 3,000 pieces comprises contemporary art, Western antique silver and Chinese cloisonné objects. He shares with us his tips for a Shanghai art trip.


Shanghai – Zheng Hao


How would you describe the art scene in Shanghai? 

The recent media attention on the Shanghai art ecosystem can be seen as a recognition of the city’s rich and vibrant scene. The last two years in particular have witnessed the establishment of several major art institutions, such as Fosun Foundation Art Centre, Powerlong Art Museum, as well as the HOW Art Museum which opened its doors in September 2017. These new establishments have not only enlarged curatorial practices but also enhanced the quality and internationalisation of the local art scene. The two pillar fairs, West Bund Art & Design and Art021, are maturing and setting the ball rolling for more international art and design fairs to bud in the city. It’s a flourishing scene here that artists and institutions are moving their bases to Shanghai.


Where is the best place to meet artists?

I’d definitely say HOW Art Museum, as you probably would run into some artists in person when exploring our exhibitions. The museum is connected to the Onehome Art Hotel, together composing HOW Art Complex where you can find nice restaurants, cafes, shops, and two of the best shows in town Construction of Reality and Joseph Beuys. This is the place where you can see, listen, smell, touch, taste and experience an artsy life.


What is your favorite restaurant and what dishes to order?

Laojishi (or the “Old Jesse”) on Tianping Road is something not to be missed. It’s a small but popular restaurant, so make sure to book in advance. They have the most local and timeless favour of Shanghainese cuisine. The braised pork is my favourite and I love to go there several times a year.


When is the best time to visit Shanghai for art?

March, September and November are the art months in Shanghai. All the major shows, fairs and events happen during these months, especially in November. The most important remark is that the weather is nice.


What should art lovers know and prepare for before they set foot in Shanghai?

Shanghai is a big city that takes a few days to visit. Plan visits separately in the Pudong area and the Puxi area, that would save a lot of time. You should be able find a complete art map and enjoy everything the city has to offer. Welcome to Shanghai!



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