A Chinese Collector Transformed Five Empty Oil Tanks Into a Museum With a Fitting Name: Tank Shanghai

After some delays, the museum is set to open to the public on Saturday.

Collector Qiao Zhibing in front Tank Shanghai. Photo by Simon Song/South China Morning Post via Getty Images.
Collector Qiao Zhibing in front Tank Shanghai. Photo by Simon Song/South China Morning Post via Getty Images.

Tank Shanghai, the ambitious and long-awaited museum project from Chinese collector Qiao Zhibing is finally set to open its doors.

The museum—which is comprised of five disused oil tanks that formerly stored fuel for the nearby Hongqiao International airport—sits on the banks of Shanghai’s Huangpu river. After years of extensive work, Qiao has converted the empty tanks into a 645,000 square foot (60,000 square meters) art park with exhibition spaces, gardens, shops and restaurants.

The sprawling project, which was designed by Open Architecture, was originally scheduled to open last year. The public launch is now set for Saturday, March 23.

Tank Shanghai while under construction. Courtesy Tank Shanghai.

Tank Shanghai while under construction. Courtesy Tank Shanghai.

The grand opening will kick off with three exhibitions, including “teamLab: Universe of Water Particles in the Tank” and a group show titled “Under Construction,” which will feature recent works by Chinese artists such as Zeng Fanzhi, Yang Fudong, and Ding Yi. Another exhibition, the intriguingly named “Sometimes you wonder, in an interconnected universe, who is dreaming who?,” is a solo presentation by Adrian Villar Rojas.

To further mark his international reach, Qiao has donated two major early works by Chinese artist Zhang Enli to Tate Modern in London. The two works, Meat Market (2) (1997) and Meat Market (1) (1997), belong to the artist’s “Butcher” series and reflect his experience of the urban environment of Shanghai. In an interview with artnet News, Qiao said the donation reflects his philosophy of “building a broader art world with stronger connections.”

Speaking of the Tank museum, Qiao said local Shanghai officials have been supportive of the project. “The government wants to build a museum avenue in West Bund, so it has given a great support to our infrastructure,” he says.


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