"Offbeat" is a SmartShanghai column about stuff to look at or do in Shanghai that's interesting or weird (relatively, of course), that doesn't fit anywhere else. It appears weekly, monthly, or maybe even annually, when we're not busy working on other superfluous column ideas.
Despite the necessity of having to sidestep the dying artists, impoverished, emaciated and falling where they stand, and the overpowering stench of fecund and rotting flesh, the "Painter's Street
" down there in Xujiahui is worth a visit.
Good for a Sunday stroll.
Painter's Street is about 30-odd shops and a few galleries dealing in reproductions of all kinds -- reproductions of reproductions -- reproductions in all genres. It's where to go to get your fake Yue Minjuns and Zhang Xiaogangs, but also to get some Greatest Hits from the Western pantheon: bulbously delightful rococo pastoral scenes, Turner-esque episodes of exalted British romanticism, classic Canadian wilderness pornography, Renaissance memento mori
scenes, a shitload of Van Gogh, and, of course, the genre that most defines the modern age: painstakingly realist Michael Scofield and David Beckham portraiture.
The cataclysmic shattering of the "Chinese Contemporary Art Bubble" has dampened spirits somewhat, but the serene and dutiful commercialism that defines the 30-odd shops and galleries continues nonetheless, halted only by the momentary shrieks and wails of a nearly dead artisan, and that