A peek into the China Art Museum, Shanghai

August 15, 2017

It was in February of this year. I was lucky to have been assigned to cover an international expo in Shanghai when I found out that the China Art Museum was just a couple of strides away from the main venue of the expo. I realized that I haven't penned down my experience of the tour yet, and although unplanned, it was one of the most memorable museum visits I've had to date.

A powerful museum entrance

The China Art Museum (China Art Palace), an inverted pyramid-shaped giant of a building located in Shangnan Road, Pudong, Shanghai, is dubbed one of the most iconic structures in Asia. It sits next to The Shanghai Expo Exhibition and Convention Center (SWEECC) and has its own dedicated metro line (Line 8). It is a towering 70-metre-high pavilion and spreads about 39 acres across the neighbourhood.

The museum houses modern and contemporary Chinese art and is considered one of the largest in Asia (about 27 exhibition halls). I felt triumphant in selecting a day and time for a free entrance, by the way. It was Friday afternoon at around 3:00 PM, just about time the expo had called it a day. Some halls do not allow cameras, of course, but I've managed to grab a motley collection of snapshots of the interior and a few exhibits hanging around. 

A labyrinth of a pavilion

Now, here's a story, hold your farcical coffee cups. As soon as I've completed my work, I darted toward the museum because it's near the expo, even though I've already initially planned a visit to the historic Guilin Park afterwards. But since the museum visit was unplanned, I thought it would last for only a maximum of two hours. It was too late when I realized that I was being transported to a maze of huge exhibition halls. Yes, I was obviously having one of the best times of my life, bear with me. It took me a couple of hours finding my way around and out of the halls that I ended up leaving the museum late. And all of these happened despite the very efficient signboards scattered throughout the corridors, plus lifts to sweep me off my feet. I was bursting with excitement and weeping rainbows that I granted my feet the freedom to drag me wherever they pleased while my eyes drooled over one painting to another.

Needless to say, the museum was worth a visit as I also haven't expected stumbling upon ancient pieces and archives in select halls, too, from where I believe I've spotted a few depictions of the Silk Road. It was, overall, an awe-inspiring experience, although there's still much more to learn about the soul and culture that have bound the art pieces together, in which I wish I had equipped myself with beforehand. Nevertheless, The China Art Museum is one of the modern-day treasures that I'd always have high hopes of visiting again in the future.

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