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Tank Shanghai during construction. Photo: Tank Shanghai.
Tank Shanghai during construction. Photo: Tank Shanghai.

Following Delays, Tank Shanghai Opens in West Bund

Originally slated to open last November, Tank Shanghai, the private museum project of collector and entrepreneur Qiao Zhibing, will open on March 23. The Beijing-based design firm Open Architecture converted five former oil tanks into the rotundas of the museum, which will make its debut with three exhibitions by artist Adrián Villar Rojas; the Japanese collective teamLab; and a group of contemporary Chinese artists, including Zeng Fanzhi, Yang Fudong, and Ding Yi.

Qiao, whose collection includes works by Martin Creed, Olafur Eliasson, and Zeng Fanzhi, is planning a program that is “both Chinese and international, and contemporary.” An exhibition of work by Theaster Gates is being planned for 2020. “The space’s possibilities are the museum’s specialty,” he told the Art Newspaper. “Artists like the space and want to work with it.” 

The government-funded West Bund Development Group, which has been transforming the city’s waterfront area known as West Bund into a cultural hub, approached Qiao to collaborate on the museum project over four years ago. Construction on the sprawling 645,000-square-foot venue began in 2017. An estimated 60 percent of the building will be used for exhibitions, while the rest will be government-administered public space. The museum does not yet have its own collection, though Qiao hopes to acquire works from forthcoming exhibitions.

“For Chinese museums, nothing is tax free, nothing has special status,” said Qiao. “That should change in the future, it is all developing.”