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Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art

Expand your knowledge at this lesser known art museum focusing on experimental contemporary art.

TravelCurious Tip

Not enough art yet? Head to the nearby museum where the League of Left-Wing Writers was founded in 1930 — Lu Xun was a founding member

The Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art is Shanghai’s first state-owned space dedicated solely to modern art. It serves to facilitate the exchange of ideas between Chinese and international artists, making the results available to members of the public. Take an afternoon to wander through its galleries, peruse the art books in its store and enjoy a coffee on the 6th-floor cafe of a remarkable museum.


The museum is found in a giant seven-story Bauhaus structure that wraps around a metal spiral staircase and is worth visiting for the impressive building alone. The exhibits within change often are cutting-edge by Chinese standards. Recent years have seen examinations of gender issues, musical performances of Chinese electronica and electronic art from American artists. It’s often avant-garde, but always accessible.


The surrounding neighbourhood is also a delight. Duolun Road is famous for having been home to many of the most famous 20th-century Chinese writers, including Lu Xun, who even had the nearby park named after him. The architecture along the road is an interesting hodgepodge of styles, with Chinese elements fused to Islamic, Jewish and French ones too. So be sure to factor in some time to amble down the road when you visit the Shanghai Duolun Museum of Modern Art.

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in Shanghai
Lu Xun Park
Formerly known as Hongkou Park, this is one of the city's most pleasant green spaces.
Lu Xun Museum
This former residence charts the life of one of China's most celebrated literary figures.
Duolun Road Cultural Street
This picturesque street was once the home of many of China's most famous writers.
Hongde Temple
This church is built in a Chinese style and features a grey-brick interior and high wooden ceilings.
Jewish Refugees Museum
Formerly the Ohel Moshe Synagogue, the exhibitions displays stories of Shanghai Jews in words and pictures.
Egg Pancake
Experience the joy of tasting Jianbing (egg pancake), one of China's best-kept culinary secrets.

Related Tours

Hongkou District: Private Tour of Shanghai’s Cultural Hub with Tickets
Explore the fascinating Hongkou district, former home to leftwing writers, Jewish refugees and Anglo-American colonizers on this private full-day walking tour with tickets to the Lu Xun, Modern Art and Jewish Refugees Museums, and the Hongde Temple. On your private tour you will: 

  • Take a step back from the tourist trail and enjoy the personalised attention of your private tour guide through Hongkou.
  • Commence your tour at the Lu Xun Museum, with skip-the-line access. Dedicated to the life and work of Lu Xun – the writer considered the founder of modern Chinese literature and leader of the Chinese League of Left-Wing Writers in Shanghai in the turbulent 1920s and 30s. 
  • Enjoy a relaxing stroll through Lu Xun Park.
  • Walk down Duolun Road cultural street.
  • Pass by the Hongde Temple – a unique Christian church built in the Chinese temple style.
  • See the old Lilong alleys where the Chinese lived in squalid housing during the war.  
  • Wander through the Museum of Modern Art – admiring the birthplace of Shanghai’s style. 
  • Visit the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue - now the Jewish Refugees Museum and learn about the Jewish community here, who called it ‘Little Vienna’ during WW2. 
In the northeast corner of downtown Shanghai, you’ll find the captivating, off the beaten path district of Hongkou, a living, breathing museum to Shanghai’s complex political and cultural history. You’ll find relics of its colonial past, its left-wing art and culture scene, the Memorial Site of the 4th National Congress of the CPC, museums to modern art, the Jewish community and refugees of many backgrounds, through many wars, as well as the plethora of homages to Lu Xun, the author, essayist and translator. Famous for writing in the vernacular of the common Chinese man, he is considered by many to be the founder of modern Chinese literature.  Both the park and the Museum (his former home) are named for him. Your guide will also point out the many houses of renowned left-wing rebel intellectuals from the early twentieth century. 

Hongkou is situated at the confluence of the Huangpu River and Suzhou Creek and was part of the American and British settlement, the so-called ‘Shanghailanders’ in the mid-nineteenth century, who refused to pay taxes to the Quing government of the day. During the First World War Japanese troops and civilians moved in and it became known as ‘Little Tokyo’, and by the beginning of the Second World War, it officially fell to Japan. The remaining Brits and Americans were put into the internment camp at Lunghua Civilian Assembly Centre alongside the Chinese prisoners.

The Chinese who were allowed to stay in Hongkou lived in squalor, in Lilong – narrow, claustrophobic alleys, the remnants of which your guide will show you.

With its focus on experimental contemporary art, you will get a taste of Shanghai’s modern cultural scene on Duolun Cultural road where you’ll venture inside the Museum of Modern Art and see the unique Hongde Temple – a Chinese styled Christian church.

Finally, your tour guide will take you to the former Ohel Moshe Synagogue - now the Jewish Refugees Museum. If Hongkou was Little Tokyo at the beginning of the war, by the middle years, it became the Jewish Ghetto or ‘Little Vienna’ as the Jewish Community called it, and is where your tour ends. 
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