Moganshan Lu – The Soho of Shanghai

The grafitti walls on Moganshan Lu. Can you see me blending in?

A great place to spend a couple of hours in Shanghai is the art district known as Moganshan Lu.  Moganshan Lu is the most established place in Shanghai to buy, sell, or see cutting edge works of contemporary Chinese art. There are over 40 different galleries in former industrial warehouses showcasing everything from the banal to sublime, priced reasonably and outrageously. Nevertheless, it’s a great spot to see what’s happening in the world of contemporary Chinese art.

My personal favorite is m97 Gallery featuring contemporary photographers working in China. Represented are such talents as Michael Wolf who takes large format photographs of architecture.  I’m always astounded at the number of skyscrapers in Shanghai (over 4000 and counting). The landscape changes constantly.  I love the way photography captures these fleeting moments in time, in a country that is changing way too fast.

Michael Wolf's Architecture of Density series.

m97 owner Steven Harris is super knowledgable and happy to answer any questions you might have.

Further down the street is M50 complex (click here for a list of descriptions). Mixed into the galleries are cute cafes and stores.

Dumplings at Bandu Music Cafe.

We stopped in at Bandu Music for some delicious dumplings and tea. Besides being a cafe, this is a record label featuring the music of ethnic Chinese tribes. If you’re interested, they’ll play you samples. I picked up a CD of Miao tribe music. It’s truly otherworldly.

Moganshan Lu Art District Address: Putuo District, 50 Moganshan Road (Mo Gan Shan Lu)
Address (Chinese): 普陀区莫干山路50号
Phone: (021) 63593923
Directions: Take a taxi here, or if you like to walk – it’s about 1 kilometer west (across the river) of the Shanghai Railway Station (Subway Lines 1, 3 and 4)

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