Conde Nast Traveler has a wonderful article in its September issue ("The Empire's New Clothes," by Dorinda Elliott) that focuses on the avant-garde art scene in Shanghai. Unfortunately, it's not available online, but it's certainly worth a peek.
There are tons of quotable passages about how artists are dealing with explosive economic growth and attendant social change, but this is my favorite by far:
A few years ago, Qing produced a film of a woman's hands massaging a pig -- a simultaneously hilarious and revolting comment on China's new fat cats, the businessmen who visit the ubiquitious massage parlors that front for brothels.The best part about the magazine is that after a long, descriptive article that inspires burgeoning lust to visit the place in question, one can flip to the back for a couple of detailed pages that list a nearly complete itinerary for the city.
The closest I can get to China these days is Paul Theroux's hilarious and colorful travelogue, Riding The Iron Rooster: By Train Through China, that I'm currently reading and enjoying quite a bit.
Also of note is the exhibition of contemporary Chinese art here in New York:
Between Past and Future: New Photography and Video from China, the first comprehensive look at the innovative photo and video art produced since the mid-1990s in China, will be presented jointly at the International Center of Photography and the Asia Society and Museum from June 11 to September 5, 2004.I may check it out this week before it closes, so expect more here if I do.