Aside from its main museum show, it also includes talks, lectures and installations in various venues throughout the city.
The Biennale began in 1996. It has been held every two years since then at the Shanghai Art Museum usually beginning in September. There is a different theme every edition: "Open Space" (1996), "Inheritance and Exploration" (1998), "Spirit of Shanghai" (2000), "Urban Creation" (2002), "Techniques of the Visible" (2004), "Hyper Design" (2006), "Translocalmotion" (2008) and "Rehearsal" (2010).
The 2000 Edition
The 2010 Edition
The 2010 Biennale opened in October and will run until January 2011. It includes about 50 artists, about a third of whom are from China. The theme was "Rehearsal" and the show included an unprecedented amount of performance art. It was also divided into “acts,” as if it were a play. As in past years, it was heavy on conceptual art.
One of the highlights was a giant merry-go-round outside the museum's front doors, which was part of Wang Mai's "Oil Monsters" series. Another highlight was "Project Textportrait" by the digital artists Ralph Ueltzhoeffer (Germany) and Laura Maria May (United Kingdom).
The 2012 Edition
2 October 2012 to 31 March 2013
Curators: Qiu Zhijie (chief curator), Boris Groys (co-curator), Jens Hoffmann (co-curator), Johnson Chang (co-curator)
Artists: Abraham Cruzvillegas (Mexico), Loris Cecchini (Italy), Luisa Lambri (Italy), Adrian Villar Rojas (Argentina), Brad Troemel (USA), Cao Changdi Workstation (China), Harrell Fletcher (USA), Hu Jieming (China), Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, (Russia/USA), Jeffery Shaw (Hong Kong, China/Australia), Jiang Zhi (China), Linda Chiu-Han Lai (Hong Kong, China), Lucy + Jorge Orta UK), Mario Garcia Torres (Mexico), Nira Pereg (Israel), Roman Signer (Switzerland), Roy Ascott (UK), Shi Qing (China), Simon Fujiwara (UK/Japan), Vadim Fishkin (Russia/Slovenia), Wang Yuyang (China), Weill Yeh (Taiwan, China), Yao Jui-Chung +LSD (Taiwan, China)
Themed exhibition in four parts, namely “Resources”, “Revisit”, “Reform” and “Republic”, focusing on artists that can motivate the public, revisit or rewrite history, convert and transform energy and organize dialogues and communications respectively.
curator: Henk Slager
curator: Phillipe Pirotte
curator: Vincent Ward
artist: Vincent Ward
curators: Agung Jennong / Charles Esche / Defne Ayas / Davide Quadrio
artists: Syagini Ratna Wulan, Yason Banal, Wiyoga Muhardanto, Arin Rungjang, Iswanto Hartono, Raqs Media Collective, Mounira AL-Solh, Mahmoud Khaled, Didem Ozbek, Asim Waqif, Surasi Kusolwond, Wang Wei, Hafiz
curator: Julia Morandeira
curator: Peter Anders
artists: Raumlaborberlin (group)
curator: Juan Andres Gaitan
artists: Alberto Baraya, Milena Bonilla, Carolina Caycedo, Nicolás París, Gabriel Sierra
artists: Carrick Bell, David Berezin, bffa3ae, Blanko and Noiry (Frank Haines, Chris Kachulis and Reuben Lorch-Miller), Christie Brown, Jay Buim, Ashleigh Carraway and Luke Boggia, Nathan Saltmarsh Caswell, Mary Helena Clark and Latham Zearfoss, Ned Colclough, Chido Johnson and Dylan Spaysky, Ryan Foerster, Rochelle Goldberg, Bee Harris and Clara Dykstra, Dmitri Hertz, Jacques Louis Vidal, and Brian Faucette, Katie Hickman, Joel Holmberg, Riley Hooker, Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, Sanya Kantarovsky, Kyle Knodell, Lindsay Lawson, Maggie Lee, Jesse Malmed, Carly Mark, Tommy Martinez and Jerstin Crosby, Rachel Mason, Zeljko McMullen, Andy Meerow and Reid Ramirez, Merkx and Gwynne, Brett Milspaw, New Humans (Howie Chen and Mika Tajima), Boru O’Brien O’Connell, Grear Patterson, Annie Pearlman, Rachel Rampleman, Chris Rice, Ben Russell, Jon Santos, Saki Sato, Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa, Seung-Min Lee and Caitlin McKee, Tristan Shepherd, Josh Slater, A.L. Steiner + Chicks on Speed (Melissa Logan, Alex Murray-Leslie, Kathi Glas, Anat Ben-David), Scarlett Stephenson-Connolly, Jennifer Sullivan, Andrew Sutherland, Brad Taormina and Vaughn Taormina, Stewart Uoo, Olivia Wyatt
curator: Kim Jiyon
artists: Jo Hye Jin, Choi Taeyoon, Kang Hyun wook
curator: Koyo Kouoh
artist: Amadou Kan Si
curator: Rebecca Mazzei
artists: The Hinterlands, Zeb Smith, Haleem “Stringz” Rasul, Frank Pahl, Liza Bielby
curator: Qiu Zhefeng
Chen Dandan, Fan Qing, Fang Lei, Gong Lin, Huang Baoxia, Ji Dong, Liu Zhenyuan, Lü Chengliang, Ni Yirong, Qian Dongsheng, Qiu Zhefeng, Tu Jiaqi, Wang Qi, Wei Shenlin, Xiao Liang
curators: Beate Reifenscheid, Qi Yang
artists: Thomas Stricker, Johannes auf der Lake, Qi Yang
curators: Defne Ayas / Davide Quadrio
artists: Semiha Berksoy, Elif Uras, Annika Eriksson
- Lille (Metropole)
curator: Pierre Giner
artist: Pierre Giner
curators: Jose Carlos Mariategui, Jorge Villacorta
artist: Jose Carlos Martinat
curator: Lauri Firstenberg
curators: Magali Arriola, Daniela Perez
curator: Nikolai Molok
curators: Diana Campbell/ Susan Hapgood
curators: Laura Barreca / Davide Quadrio
curator: Chelsea Haines
curator: Thierry Raspail
curator: Chris Fitzpatrick
curator: Adriano Pedrosa
curators: Shimizu Tamotsu / Kai Kenji
curators: Aaron Seeto / Toby Chapman / Sharon Chen (as Curatorial project manager of the Sydney City Pavilion)
artists: Bababa International, Brook Andrew, Shaun Gladwell, Raquel Ormella, Khaled Sabsabi, Shen Shaomin
curators: Nina Moaddel / Benham Kamrani
curator: Uranchimeg (Orna) Tsultem
curator: Daina Augait
artist: Brian Jungen
- Chen, Xhingyu. "Reassessing the Shanghai Biennale". The International Herald Tribune Special Report. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- Lau, Joyce Hor-Chung (2010-11-10). "Eighth Shanghai Biennale Offers Wide Range of Art Concepts". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-11-11.
- "Eight Reasons to Visit the Eighth Shanghai Biennale". CNN Go. Retrieved 2010-11-11.