Imagine going to the newest, cutting edge museum. But instead of strolling through a spacious white box with high ceilings, you are in fact admiring art while wandering through an empty oil tank. While this may sound outlandish, it is now a reality at Tank Shanghai. The museum was originally slotted to open in 2018, but the ambitious nature of the project pushed its grand opening to March 23rd, 2019.
Located on the Huangpu river in Shanghai, the museum is part of a larger, cultural landmark. The art park includes restaurants, gardens, stores, plazas, education centers and exhibition spaces. Together, the elements of Tank Shanghai will bring contemporary art into a unique, yet accessible setting. The project comes from the mind of Qiao Zhibing, a prominent Chinese art collector. Zhibing was known for his Shanghai nightclubs that had a surprising element: their extensive contemporary art collection. Zhibing’s taste for collecting contemporary art grew out of the need to decorate his clubs. Now, with his knowledge of the art world and collecting experience, he is setting out to build an art enterprise.
Designed by the Beijing based firm OPEN Architecture, the Tank Shanghai museum is made up of five empty oil tanks that formerly stored fuel for the Hongqiao airport. The museum has 100,000 square feet of exhibition space, and altogether the park measures 645,000 square feet. Tank Shanghai blurs the lines between the manmade, and the natural, highlighting the industrial elements of the area as well as the landscape.
Tank Shanghai is sure to foster conversation and hopefully bring not just Chinese, but global contemporary art to new audiences. It is an ambitious idea come to life that encapsulates what it means to show contemporary art in an innovative and unexpected space. The inaugural exhibitions include work by Zeng Fanzhi, Yang Fudong, and Ding Yi in a group show called Under Construction, and a solo show with work by Adrian Villar Rojas.