Exquisite Fakes and Real Caesareans: Shenzhen’s Subversive Expo 2010 Pavilion

From the moment that Expo 2010 (World’s Fair) was awarded in December 2002, the preemptive critics were ready to accuse the host country of presenting a watered-down, white-washed version of Shanghai, and China, for domestic and international consumption. And, to an extent, they were onto something: the China pavilion, and the Chinese provincial pavilions do,…

Italians painting Byzantine icons in Shanghai.

Yesterday afternoon I was invited to visit the almost-completed new fresco in the 150-year-old Dongjiadu Catholic Church (aka, the Jesuit-built St. Xavier Church) in Shanghai. The church is 150 years old, and it’s in the midst of what was once one of Shanghai’s most Catholic neighborhoods (now, mostly demolished – more on that in the…

The Artist is flexing: A brief note on the stained glass windows of Shanghai’s cathedral

The three leading reader questions received via the Shanghai Scrap contact form are: Can you get me into the Expo grounds? [What do I look like? A ticket broker? No.] Will you ship your large inventory of e-waste to me? [I don’t have any e-waste (except for that Dell in the closet). So, no.] What…

Christmas Tree Recycling, Shanghai Style.

Regular readers may recall this blog’s comprehensive survey of 141 Shanghai Christmas trees, posted in December. Ever since and, really, before, Shanghai Scrap has taken a keen interest in these Western holiday accessories: who owns them, why, and what happens to them after Christmas. One answer suggests that certain Christmas traditions are universal: namely, the…

If you write it, I.M Pei will come? Not exactly.

Earlier this week I was skimming my favorite state-owned Chinese newspapers when I came across this rather startling People’s Daily headline regarding I.M. Pei, the last of the great modernist architects: According to the article, the developer of the museum “has invested 50 million yuan to invite Pei to design the museum” and “[r]eporters also…

Sue Anne Tay’s Shanghai Street Stories

A quick but sincere and wildly enthusiastic plug for Sue Anne Tay’s wonderful new blog, “Shanghai Street Stories.” The concept is simple: a photo blog about the common folks and sites found around Shanghai. But the execution, both the photos and the accompanying narratives, are far from ordinary. Really, really good, and I hope you’ll…

Why is China so interested in the Palm Springs Int’l Film Festival? A theory, and some context, from a regular attendee.

Over the weekend we learn that two Chinese films were pulled from the Palm Springs International Film Festival after Festival organizers refused to pull a sympathetic documentary about the Dalai Lama from the program (local Palm Springs coverage, here; New York Times coverage, here). This is an odd occurrence for a number of reasons, not…

“Why have prices of Chinese antiques remained buoyant if not speculative?”

Earlier this week I blogged about the now-notorious mid-September auctions in Chinese antiques that took place at Christie’s in New York. As described by Souren Melikian in the New York Times, the event was a speculative frenzy, with even middling-to-poor antiques bid up many times their conservative estimates. In my post, I compared the Christie’s…