Zaha Hadid exhibition at Modern Art Museum Shanghai to launch alongside a trio of remote transatlantic events
In order to create a fittingly international homage to globally renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the Modern Art Museum Shanghai’s retrospective exhibition on her ground-breaking work which is set to run this July will be launched simultaneously across the world with a trio of remote events. On top of the opening itself, three invitation-only launches will be held in separate locations in the US and UK.
Two of the events are taking place on 7th July in iconic American cities – the High Line Building in New York City and One Thousand Museum’s Sky Lounge in Miami – both of which were designed by the legendary architect. A third event is also planned for London later this month, with details to be announced. While guests cannot currently travel to China given the travel restrictions, this exclusive gathering gives art enthusiasts the chance to celebrate the new opening in style. The artist sadly passed away in 2016, but her reputation lives on in her work (much of which is still being constructed), and this transatlantic launch is an apt way to pay tribute to a lasting global influence that will no doubt stretch far into the future.
Each of these remote launch events has been set up with a live-stream beaming in straight from the Shanghai opening, meaning that guests can feel as if they are perusing the exhibition in person despite being on the other side of the world. They will also feature some special cyber-guests, with introductory words from Patrik Schumacher, the CEO of Zaha Hadid Architects, as well as Shai Baitel, artistic director of MAM Shanghai.
Baitel is keen to welcome art lovers to the gallery in any way he can: “The idea is to celebrate the genius of Zaha Hadid and the opening of the historic exhibition in mainland China with a live launch to make guests feel as if they are at the exhibition, in spite of the impossibility of travel to China during this time.”
He believes that such a step is testament to the gallery’s commitment to making art accessible even in the most trying of times: “MAM Shanghai is the only museum in the world with such a global perspective and commitment to share its content with the West and allow art and design fans, professionals and media to enjoy the exhibition from afar.”
On top of providing an exclusive preview of the exhibition, the events will also be treating questions to a dessert which has been specially created by MAM Shanghai’s food and beverage director, Shahaf Shabtay. The whole evening is set to be a feast for the senses, combining culture to create an immersive experience from a safe distance.
The exhibition itself, ZHA Close Up, is pioneering not just in its content, but also in that it constitutes the show’s debut run in mainland China. It’s a vast retrospective which covers a huge range of Hadid’s work, much of it located in China, from 1982 to present day. Some of the iconic projects included within this time period include the MAXXI Museum of 21st Century Art in Rome (2010) and Leeza SOHO in Beijing (2019), but the display also touches on works that are still in development and which are set to continue the subject’s legacy across six continents.
The show explores how projects across the world are interlinked and provides insight into the technological innovations that allow the studio to imagine, design and construct the kind of ground-breaking new environments which are continually redefining architecture. As the first woman to receive the Prtizker Architecture Prize in 2004, Hadid is not only a pioneer in her field but also a figure who broke down gender barriers in the world of art and technology. After founding her company back in 1979, she made her first visit to China in 1981, travelling through many of its great cities, was greatly inspired by the way in which the country’s natural and urban landscapes are shaped.
The exhibition also presents Zaha Hadid Design, an initiative created in 2006 as a platform for the artist’s huge and unique catalogue of furniture, lighting and fashion design. While ZHD collaborated with many huge brands, The Zaha Hadid Collection, launched under its own label in 2014, is a further expression of her non-conformist attitude and exquisite craftmanship.
Baitel is thrilled to be adding such an iconic name to their growing roster of retrospectives: “I am excited to include, as part of our interdisciplinary and immersive approach at MAM, this important exhibition, celebrating Zaha Hadid’s ingenuity. Hadid was an exceptional woman, and we are delighted to show our audience the development of her movement as a researcher, designer, and architect through various geographies and histories – and how this movement impacts the current innovative vision and work of Zaha Hadid Architects, following her untimely passing. Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) continues and expands on her legacy and MAM is proud to present this show, granting unprecedented insights into the vision of one of the most important architects of our time.”
Schumacher is excited to provide a more in-depth understanding of the company: “With this show we aim to present who we are close up, our depth of experience, our current preoccupations, and our aspirations for the future.”
The editorial unit
ZHD: Close Up is at MAM Shanghai from the 26th June to 15th September. For further information about upcoming exhibitions and instalments, as well as admission times and ticket prices, visit the museum’s website.