As part of one of the floor programs hosted by the resident assistants, seven NYU Shanghai students had the opportunity to visit the HOW Art Museum in Shanghai this past Saturday, October 1st. Tucked next to the Shihe Business Center in the Pudong District of Shanghai, the HOW Art Museum is a relatively small, three level space that has displayed contemporary art exhibits for the past five years. During their visit, students were able to observe three separate exhibitions: Beneath the Skin, Between the Machines; Joseph Beuys; Inflating Universe and Wild Walls. 

Upon entry on the first floor of the museum is the Beneath the Skin, Between the Machines exhibit. The introduction to this exhibit is a quote by Paul Valery: “Man is only man at the surface. Remove the skin, dissect and immediately you come to the machinery.” The exhibit includes multimedia installations from various artists, each related to the relationship between man and machinery. 

One video installation, (And to Think…) This Was the Future by artist Lam Pok Yin touches on the concept of ‘artificial-artificial intelligence’, where tasks are given to human workers as opposed to computer programs. In this installation, the viewers are taken around a digital landscape while listening to the stories of workers at the Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk), a platform where individuals can hire workers over the internet for general minor tasks that offer low pay. In the second part of the video installation, views through windows of various houses are displayed sequentially while the audio recordings of workers answering the old Windows question “Where do you want to go today?” plays in the background. The whole installation is recorded in English, with both English and Chinese subtitles available. 

Moving up to the second floor is the exhibit Joseph Beuys about the famous twentieth century German artist of that name. Included in this exhibit are various objects and sources related to the artist and his ideas. Among these pieces can be seen the footage of Beuys’s famous performance How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare, where Beuys quite literally carried a dead rabbit around an exhibition room while controlling the movements of its legs and ears. 

Both the exhibits Inflating Universe and Wild Walls can be found on the third floor. The Wild Walls exhibit includes three rooms of various graffiti-style artwork. One room also exhibits numerous toilets arranged in different orientations with strands of light interwoven between them. Throughout the various artworks phrases, figures– storm troopers, Spiderman, Hulk– and random colorful designs can be found. To the right, the Inflating Universe exhibit displays a strawberry design in various 2D and 3D media as well as various subjects painted within the confines of geometric shapes.Located at 上海市浦东新区祖冲之路2277弄1号, students are able to enter the HOW Art Museum for 30 Kuai with a student booklet. While Beneath the Skin, Between the Machines is set to close on Sunday, October 9th, Inflating Universe and  Wild Walls will remain open until Friday, October 21st and the Joseph Beuys exhibit will be open indefinitely.