M50  is Shanghai’s response to Beijing’s more famous Factory 798, it is comprised of dozens of galleries and artist studios scattered around a series of dimly lit and circuitous warehouses in a disused mill that, so far, has escaped development.

Digression: While bad art is not exclusive to Shanghai, it must be said that with so much material to work with, it seems especially easy to create bad art work in this city… If you want to DIY your own crappy art follow this simple recipe: take a handful of Mao and a dash of cash, add pop colours, and stir. If you are feeling adventurous, whack in a military theme as well. All this to say that, the quality of the art on display can be hit and miss.

On a positive note, galleries we liked include: Gallery55s  and the oddly named Brut Cake specialising in ceramics, recycled homewares and gifts; the rather obscure Dearco, OV Gallery, the photography gallery M97 the Island 6 Collective  and M50 veteran Eastlink. It’s also worth browsing the M50 In Out Shop (105-1, Blg 3, 50 Moganshan Rd) for arty tomes, including souvenir-friendly publications like Wrinkles of the City: Shanghai by French street artist J.R and Phantom Shanghai by photographer Greg Girard.

50 Moganshan Rd