Newest Chinese tourist attraction takes aim at NYC's MoMA
The China Pavilion -- which was one of the highlights of the 2010 Shanghai Expo -- will be turned into a permanent museum to showcase Chinese modern art, according to various media.
Slated to open on October 1, 2012, the new 160,000-square-meter museum will be called China Art Palace (中华艺术宫), and will be 10 times as large as the Shanghai Art Museum, the city’s current art base in People’s Square.
A supersize art museum
The city's new art project is taking aim directly at other top art establishments around the world.
Shanghai Daily quoted an anonymous government senior official, who claimed that China Art Palace “will be on a par with the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Musée d'Orsay in Paris.”
The future art and tourist landmark will devote 70,000 square meters -- roughly half the total area -- to display top-level art from China and abroad; its primary purpose is to "showcase the origins and development of China's modern arts."
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"The number and quality of art galleries and museums is an important measure of cultural standing -- cities such as New York and Paris are famed for their top-level galleries," Teng Junjie (滕俊杰), art director of the Shanghai Municipal Administration of Culture Radio Film and TV, told Shanghai Daily.
"The China Art Palace will be a cultural and arts venue to impress the world and drive the development of China's art," added Hong Hao (洪浩), who is the former top Shanghai Expo organizer.
Shanghai to be an international cultural metropolis
The revamping of China Art Palace is only part of a plan to make Shanghai “an international cultural metropolis,” Zong Ming (宗明), deputy head of the Publicity Department of Shanghai's Party committee, announced on November 13.
According to Zong, the Shanghai government will build 16 new major museums and art galleries as well as other smaller museums by 2015.
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"In the future, Shanghai residents will be able to find a museum and cultural venue within a 15-minute walk of their homes," she continued.
But Zong Ming noted that most facilities from the former China Pavilion could be retained, which would bring considerable savings.
Shanghai’s art blueprint
In addition to China Art Palace, Shanghai authorities plan to build two other new art establishments on the former Expo site: China Contemporary Art Museum (上海当代艺术博物馆) on the Puxi side, in a renovated 100-year-old power plant, and Shanghai Children's Art Theater (上海儿童艺术剧场) in the former AIC-GM Pavilion.
Teng Junjie explained Shanghai’s art blueprint to Shanghai Daily: "After the establishment of the new projects, Shanghai will have three major museums -- the existing Shanghai Museum, the Shanghai Art Palace and the China Contemporary Art Museum -- for historic, modern and contemporary artworks."
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