The inverted scarlet pyramid that towers over Pudong isn’t just an icon of Shanghai. It’s home to one of Asia’s largest art museums, including works previously housed at the Shanghai Art Museum. Spread across several huge floors, the China Art Museum tells the story of the rise of modern art in Shanghai and hosts world-class exhibitions.
Tickets to the main galleries of the China Art Museum are free, with charges for exhibitions. However, navigating almost 700,000 square feet (64,000 square meters) of art, much of it labeled only in Chinese, can be challenging. If you’re serious about discovering Chinese modern art, it’s well worth joining a Shanghai art tour, a China Art Museum tour, or hiring a specialist private guide to introduce you to the megacity’s vibrant art scene. The signage at temporary exhibitions is generally more discernible.
Things to Know Before You Go
The China Art Museum is a must-do for anyone serious about Chinese art—or anyone who wants a selfie with a gigantic building.
The museum website is rarely updated, so check English language sources like Time Out Shanghai for exhibition information.
Be prepared to walk a lot; wear more comfortable shoes than you might at a smaller museum.
How to Get There
The museum is easily reached and has its own metro station: China Art Museum (Zhonghua Yishugong) on Line 8. You can also ride Line 7 to Yuntai Road (Yuntai Lu) and walk around 2,300 feet (700 meters). For a more scenic ride, choose a hop-on hop-off bus tour that stops at the museum.
When to Get There
The China Art Museum is closed on Mondays, except on national holidays. Although admission is free, you still have to present ID, obtain tickets, and clear security, so there can be lines at busy times of year, like weekends and national holidays.
The Story of the China Art Museum
The China Art Museum started its life as the Shanghai Art Museum in the center of town in 1956, then moved to the building still known as the Shanghai Art Museum in 2000. It relocated to its current Pudong structure, created for the China Expo, in 2012. The new China Art Museum is more than 10 times bigger than its former home.