Shànghǎi may be known for its glitz and glamour, but it's got an edgy subculture too. The industrial M50 art complex is one prime example, where galleries have set up in disused factories and cotton mills, utilising the vast space to showcase contemporary Chinese emerging and established artists. There's a lot to see, so plan to spend half a day poking around the site.
It's not just galleries either – there's some great street art en route as you pass the graffiti-splashed, mural-decorated walls along gritty Moganshan Rd.
The most established galleries here include ShanghART with a big, dramatic space showcasing the work of some of the 40 artists it represents. The forward-thinking, provocative and downright entertaining island6 focuses on collaborative works created in a studio behind the gallery; it has a smaller gallery on the 1st floor of Building Seven. Other notable galleries include Sanzi Art, featuring the work of notable Shànghǎi artist Sanzi, and Yu Nancheng's Fish Studio – both local artists of international repute. For new media by avant-garde local and foreign artists try Antenna Space or Chronus Art Center. Across the road is the Gallery, another innovative art collective featuring Chinese contemporary art and photography. Budding photographers should absolutely pop into DN Club, with its classes using vintage SLRs and a dark room for developing prints.
Most galleries are open from 10am to 6pm, with the majority closed Mondays.