6 Best Chinese Exhibitions to View from Your Couch

By Phoebe Kut and Doris Kee, June 8, 2020

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If you’re still wary about congregating in public areas or simply just want to save money, many major exhibitions have moved online for spectators. Support the arts and check out some of the coolest exhibitions happening right now across China via the web.

Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum 久事美术馆

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Screengrab via ‘An Ode to the Time-Honored Architecture’ exhibit

Exhibition: An Ode to the Time-Honored Architecture
Location: Shanghai

Housed in the iconic Bund 27, on the sixth floor of a modern Renaissance-style building is the Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum. The museum is a comparatively new addition to Shanghai’s art scene, and exhibitions usually revolve around the historical changes of the Bund and Shanghai’s unique haipai culture. Scan the QR code below to virtually ‘walk’ through An Ode to the Time-Honored Architecture which features paintings of heritage buildings in modern Shanghai. The exhibit is in English and Chinese.

Scan the QR code to view:

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Palace Museum 故宫博物院 

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Screengrab via Palace Museum virtual exhibit

Location: Beijing

Voted ‘The Happiest Place in China’ by the China Tourist Attractions Association in 2019, the Palace Museum, built in the 15th century, is the epitome of traditional Chinese architecture. Unfortunately, due to the coronavirus outbreak, its doors were closed to visitors for three months, but are finally now open with limitations. Instead, enjoy a virtual panoramic tour of the palace and skip the lines, crowds and achy soles. Browse all the buildings of the Palace Museum, including the Hall of Supreme Harmony (Taihe Dian), the Hall of the Mental Cultivation (Yangxin Dian) and over 400,000 digitized imperial artifacts while soothing music plays in the background.

Scan the QR code to view:

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Design Society 设计互联

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Exhibition: 40 Years of Humanizing Technology
Location: Shenzhen

Just 50 years ago, researchers created the very first computer network. Today, more than 4.5 billion people are connected to the internet, every day. In this group exhibition, designed by the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing (CAFA), Design Society and Ars Electronica, artists explore the influence of digitization on thought, decision-making, industry, governing infrastructure and invention. If you are a fan of Westworld, be sure to check out this exhibit, which asks what it means to be a ‘digital citizen’ in a world heavily influenced by computation. The exhibition has also been extended to view in person until October 11. 

Visit the Mini Program 博物馆 (Bowuguan) and search 设计互联 (sheji hulian) to view.

M Woods 木木美术馆

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Screengrab via Animal Crossing exhibit by M Woods

Exhibition: Art Is Still Here: A Hypothetical Show for a Closed Museum and more
Location: Beijing

M Woods is not only hosting their own online exhibition via Weibo, WeChat and Instagram, but also inside one of the most popular video games at the moment: Animal Crossing. If you’re part of the Animal Crossing community already, you can view a plethora of works from past exhibitions of artists such as David Hockney, Lu Yang, Nicolas Party and Andy Warhol, among others. If you’re looking to explore the themes of ecology, nature, extinction, isolation and kinship, then Art Is Still Here: A Hypothetical Show for a Closed Museum will be right up your alley, and viewable as a series of videos on M Woods’ social accounts.

Scan the QR code to view:

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Art Central 中环海滨

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Screengrab via Artsy

Location: Hong Kong

Some have dubbed Art Central as the ‘less stuffy’ version of the famed Art Basel. Here, you can find leading contemporary artists alongside established names from the art world. Unfortunately, like most exhibitions this year, the 2020 edition of Art Central was canceled among fears of the coronavirus pandemic. Not to fret, though; you can still catch many artworks online. Pieces from popular contemporary artists such as ex-Disney illustrator KAWS and Willy Verginer are available online. Also on display are Peter Yuill’s pieces featuring deeply complex geometric abstraction. They represent his exploration of the philosophical and existential desire to understand the meaning of existence through mathematical and geometric purity. When viewing, sink in to admire his meditative connection to each piece.

Scan the QR code to view:

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Guangdong Museum 广东省博物馆

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Screengrab via Guangdong Museum

Exhibition: Buddha’s Light of Wei and Tang Dynasties: The Essence of Cultural Relics from Longmen Grottoes
Location: Guangzhou

The Longmen Grottoes are some of the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art. Housing tens of thousands of statues of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples, they are located 12 kilometers south of present-day Luoyang in Henan province. In 2000, the site was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List as an “outstanding manifestation of human artistic creativity,” for its encapsulation of the cultural sophistication of the Tang and Wei dynasties. In this exhibition, 85 pieces are displayed along with stone-carved paintings and 3D printed models. If you fancy seeing these artifacts in person, the exhibit is free of charge and showing at the Guangdong Museum until August.

Visit the Mini Program 博物馆 (Bowuguan) and search 广东省博物馆 (guangdongshi bowuguan) to view.

[Cover image: screengrabs via Guangdong Museum, Shanghai Jiushi Art Museum, Palace Museum, M Woods] 

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