San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum Announces 2014-2015 Exhibition Schedule

Print Friendly


Dakini, an enlightened Tibetan Buddhism goddess and SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)'s Felix Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled" (Golden). On view now in the Asian Art Museum's Gorgeous exhibition.

Dakini, an enlightened Tibetan Buddhism goddess and SFMOMA (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art)’s Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Golden). On view now in the Asian Art Museum’s Gorgeous exhibition.

Art of Adornment: Southeast Asian Jewelry from the James and Elaine Connell Collection
Through Aug. 3, 2014

On view in the Southeast Asian galleries, this display features 41 rare objects from a broad range of Southeast Asian cultures—all drawn from a recent donation of jewelry from the James and Elaine Connell Collection. The pieces on view in Gallery 11 come primarily from Indonesia, but also include art from the Philippines, Malaysia and Burma. Art of Adornment demonstrates how jewelry from closely neighboring regions can be dramatically different, ranging from strikingly bold forms to objects crafted with intricate detail. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Centers and Mental Maps of Himalayan Buddhism 
Through Oct. 26, 2014

Enter the Mandala explores the physical and symbolic geography of the mandala, a geometric map of Himalayan Buddhist visionary worlds. In this exhibition, Tibetan masterpieces transform one of the museum’s galleries into a three-dimensional architectural mandala. In this way, visitors can literally “enter the mandala,” exploring dimensions of the cosmos—and perhaps themselves—that might otherwise remain invisible. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Dual Natures in Ceramics: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea 
Through Feb. 22, 2015 
San Francisco International Airport, Terminal 3 

Dual Natures in Ceramics: Eight Contemporary Artists from Korea features 75 stunning contemporary artworks created by some of Korea’s most respected artists. Co-organized by SFO Museum and the Asian Art Museum, the exhibition explores the meaning and beauty of Korean ceramics in the 21st-century through artworks by Kim Yik-yung, Koo Bohnchang, Lee Inchin, Lee Kang Hyo, Park Young Sook, Roe Kyung Jo, Yeesookyung and Yoon Kwang-cho. For these pioneering artists, creating ceramic art has become second nature. While Korean ceramic art is rooted in tradition, the artists explore new concepts of interpretation, creating a dialogue between contemporary and traditional. 

The exhibition is located post-security and is only accessible to passengers ticketed for travel through San Francisco International Airport’s Terminal 3. There is no charge to view the exhibition.

Through Sept. 14, 2014

A selection of 72 stunning artworks drawn from the collections of the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Gorgeous challenges visitors to confront the extremes and the ambiguities of beauty. On view at the Asian Art Museum, this special exhibition features an extraordinary mix of objects, spanning more than 2,200 years and dozens of cultures to bring together artworks that, in a variety of ways, extend beyond conventional notions of beauty. Presenting these paintings, sculptures, photographs, design objects and drawings in new and unexpected contexts using an experimental approach, the exhibition aims to stimulate viewers to examine their ideas of what it means for something to be gorgeous. The exhibition is organized by the Asian Art Museum in partnership with SFMOMA as part of SFMOMA’s On the Go program. 

Highlights of the exhibition include paintings, sculptures and photographs from SFMOMA’s holdings by Marcel Duchamp, Jeff Koons, Marilyn Minter, Joan Miró, Meret Oppenheim, Robert Mapplethorpe, Pablo Picasso and others. From the Asian Art Museum, the exhibition features works spanning the extent of Asia, including a 1,000-year-old Indian sculpture of the Hindu deity Durga victorious over the buffalo demon; a gilded and jeweled Burmese Buddhist bowl; a Korean textile artwork with complex geometric designs; a decorated Qur’an from 16th-century Persia; a set of silk scrolls by the artist Chobunsai Eishi (1756–1829), “Three types of beauties in Edo;” and Hua Yan’s (1682–1756) gold-surfaced ink paintings “Summer gatherings in mountain villas,” along with other works in a variety of mediums. 

From Two Arises Three: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney
July 15, 2014–March 1, 2015

When Chinese ink painter Arnold Chang and photographer Michael Cherney met for the first time in 2007, they recognized a compatibility between Chang’s personal brushwork and Cherney’s granular photographs, which recall the aesthetics of ink painting. Since 2009, they have been creating joint works that explore the differences and highlight the similarities between the two mediums. Although both Chang and Cherney are New York-born, the artists’ contrasting backgrounds encapsulate a dialogue between traditional and contemporary approaches to art, as well as between Asian and Western artistic modes. From Two Arises Three features 20 works by Chang and Cherney, which strive to bridge the gap between the traditions of Chinese ink painting and the concerns of contemporary art. Organized by the Asian Art Museum. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection
Aug. 19, 2014–April 5, 2015

Highlighting 22 works by 20 artists, this exhibition celebrates selected Japanese contemporary works from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection of San Francisco. The works demonstrate how contemporary Japanese potters appreciate and continue the long tradition of ceramics, but at the same time depart from convention in search of the new. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Oct. 24, 2014–Jan.18, 2015

An eye-opening look at the largely unknown ancient past of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, this exhibition draws on recently discovered archaeological material never before seen in the United States. Roads of Arabia features objects excavated from several sites throughout the Arabian Peninsula, tracing the impact of ancient trade routes and pilgrimage roads stretching from Yemen in the south to Iraq and Mediterranean cultures in the north. Elegant alabaster bowls and fragile glassware, heavy gold earrings and Hellenistic bronze statues testify to a lively mercantile and cultural interchange among distant civilizations. Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, in association with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Accompanied by a catalogue. 

Tetsuya Ishida: Saving the World with a Brushstroke
Nov. 14, 2014–Feb. 22, 2015

This intimate exhibition consists of eight paintings by Tetsuya Ishida (1973–2005), the Japanese artist whose untimely death at age 31 ended a brief but significant career as a painter. Ishida’s work offers a unique lens to view the tensions of his generation, which came of age amid rising social and academic expectations and uncertain future prospects. While touches of dark humor temper his work, Ishida’s darkly powerful imagery poses universal questions about the nature of identity and the meaning of life in the modern, post-industrial world. The exhibition’s title is drawn from the artist’s words, recorded in a notebook at age 25: “I am strongly drawn to saint-like artists. The people who truly believe that ‘the world is saved a little with each brushstroke.’ ” Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Seduction: Japan’s Floating World
The John C. Weber Collection 
Feb. 20–May 10, 2015

Seduction: Japan’s Floating World explores the creative explosion unleashed by the new entertainment districts established in Edo (present-day Tokyo) during the late 1600s. Both a state of mind and a locale, the term “floating world” refers to the pleasures available in brothel districts and Kabuki theaters of the city, whose population—overwhelmingly male—approached a million by the end of the century. Including more than 70 works, the majority from the John C. Weber Collection, the exhibition takes a new lens to the floating world and its representation in art, juxtaposing paintings and woodblock prints with textiles, ceramics, lacquers and other daily-life objects from the Edo period (1615–1868). The exhibition’s centerpiece is A Visit to the Yoshiwara, by Hishikawa Moronobu (1618–1694), an almost-58-foot-long handscroll painting that transports viewers on a virtual tour of Edo’s licensed pleasure quarter. In Moronobu’s hands, the Yoshiwara is a realm of rarefied pleasures including food, drink, dance and sexual encounters—sensory experiences evoked in the exhibition’s many outstanding artworks. Courtesan paintings from the Weber collection demonstrate how Edo artists used fashion, promises of intimacy, and disguise to stimulate desire. Organized by the Asian Art Museum. Accompanied by a catalogue.

The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection
Feb. 20–May 10, 2015

The Printer’s Eye—presented concurrently with Seduction: Japan’s Floating World—introduces 88 works from the Grabhorn Collection, which was donated to the Asian Art Museum in 2005. Ukiyo-e, or “pictures of the floating world,” is the term for woodblock prints made to celebrate the myriad pleasures and activities available to urban residents during Japan’s long Edo period (1615–1868). The exhibition unpacks the oft-arcane subject matter of ukiyo-e, particularly celebrities of the pleasure quarters and stage: courtesans, geisha, and Kabuki actors. It considers the prints as fantasies, which overlook the harsh realities of life for most entertainment workers to promote the beguiling aspects of a hedonistic world: festivals and swift-changing fashions, playful adaptations of literary themes, and portraits of actors playing romantic or heroic roles. 

The collector Edwin Grabhorn brought a unique perspective to his search for fine prints. Serving as head of Grabhorn Press, a fine printing firm in San Francisco, he was acutely attuned to the technical side of printmaking. Honoring Grabhorn’s sensitivity to carving and coloring effects, the exhibition also traces the development of printmaking in Japan from its inception in monochrome prints, to hand-colored ukiyo-e, and culminating in the complex designs often termed “brocade pictures” (nishiki-e). To demonstrate this progress the show includes rare early works by Kaigetsudō Dohan and Okumura Masanobu, as well as exquisite full-color prints by Suzuki Harunobu, Kitagawa Utamaro, and others. Organized by the Asian Art Museum. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Woven Luxuries: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Textiles from the Indictor Collection
March 13–Nov. 1, 2015

Used for furnishings—as carpets, spreads, bolsters, hangings, clothing—and exchanged as diplomatic gifts, silk velvets have been preeminent luxury textiles in many parts of the Islamic world and Europe, especially from the 15th century onwards. The 11 textiles in this exhibition are selections from a private New York collection, providing a glimpse into the richness and diversity of Iranian, Indian and Turkish silk velvets. Spanning three distinct cultural areas with their own design sensibilities and tastes, this group of textiles showcases different techniques of velvet production and suggests their varied uses. Of special note are the two complete 17th-century carpets from India and Iran, each measuring nearly 6 by 4 feet and retaining not only their design elements but also their vibrant colors. These, along with nine other substantially sized textile fragments, show the cultural exchange between the Mughal, Safavid and Ottoman empires—linked by shifting ties of political, religious and economic rivalry. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

28 Chinese
June 5–Aug. 16, 2015

28 Chinese examines Chinese contemporary art—where it has been and where it is headed. Art lovers will recognize iconic names, including Zhang Huan, Ai Weiwei, and Huang Yong Ping, who spurred the art world’s shift to Asia over the last twenty years, placing China at the forefront. Yet the exhibition also includes some of China’s most promising young artists, such as Liu Wei and He Xiangyu, many of whom are celebrating this exhibition as their North American debut. As the iconic artists made significant inroads into a globalized art world and helped define a field of “Chinese Contemporary Art,” these young artists have expanded the field and complicated any narrow definitions. 28 Chinese presents the diversity and strength of Chinese contemporary art while revealing shared themes of personal identity, new attitudes toward tradition, and powerful responses to China today. Organized by the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation in Miami.  

Asian Art Museum Collection Galleries

More than 2,500 extraordinary works from the museum’s renowned collection are displayed in the second- and third- floor galleries. Together these works constitute a comprehensive introduction to the major cultures of Asia. Immense Indian stone sculptures, intricately carved Chinese jades, vibrant Korean paintings, mystical Tibetan thangkas (ritual paintings on cloth), serene Cambodian Buddhas, richly decorated Islamic manuscripts, and colorful Japanese kimonos are just a few of the treasures on view. Every six months, the museum refreshes dozens of artworks from each geographic region with new selections from storage, providing visitors a unique perspective on each visit. These items are indicated with “Newly on View” tags on the labels.

Dates and exhibitions are subject to change. Please visit to confirm information.

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.

Information: 415.581.3500 or

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 

Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. From February through September, hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 PM. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM. is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). A surcharge may apply for admission to special exhibitions.

Access: The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.

About the Author