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Exhibition Schedule

Now On View

Painting Is My Everything: Art from India's Mithila Region
Sept 7 - Dec 30, 2018

Discover the bold artistic vision of 17 contemporary artists, many of them women, from the provincial Mithila region of India. Their visually delightful work has received commercial success, bringing much-needed income to their families and catalyzing social change in the region. Working within a traditional painting style, these artists. 
Working within a traditional painting style, these artists address topics that are at once local and global, personal and universal, from reflections on piety to current events.    

Haroon Mirza: The Night Journey
Sept 7 - Dec 9, 2018

Electricity comes alive in The Night Journey, a mesmerizing light and sound installation by London-based artist Haroon Mirza. Mirza translated an Indian Islamic miniature painting from the museum collection into a score, or source code, that controls electrical impulses in the form of sound, light and color. This immersive artwork, arising from the artist’s interests in Sufi mysticism, trance music, meditation and other consciousness-altering practices, allows us to see, hear and even feel art in new ways. 

Guided Tour of Hell
Apr 20 - Sept 16, 2018

Take a guided tour of the Tibetan Buddhist underworld (with the Buddha of Hell as guide). Drawing on both Tibetan artistic traditions and comic book art, Pema Namdol Thaye’s vivid paintings portray a harrowing descent into the realms of hell as experienced by Buddhist teacher Sam Bercholz. There we witness the suffering of “hell-beings” set in fantastical landscapes, both fiery and crystalline, prompting us to contemplate the karmic consequences of negative actions. 

Traces of Past and Future: Fu Shen’s Paintings and Calligraphy
Dec 5, 2017 - Sept 16, 2018

Featuring 18 works on loan from a private collection, this intimate exhibition is a rare opportunity to see traditional Chinese aesthetics refashioned through the lens of a scholar. After decades of study, teaching and curating, Fu Shen has produced his own personal interpretations of Chinese ink art. His ethereal landscapes, painterly calligraphy and innovative ceramics will give you a new understanding of a venerated tradition and will open your eyes to new ways of seeing. 

Collected Letters: Liu Jianhua Installation


As a 50th anniversary gift to the museum, the Society for Asian Art has commissioned a major work by Liu Jianhua, one of China’s best-known contemporary ceramic sculpture artists. The work comprises approximately 2,500 pieces of white porcelain formed into letters of the English alphabet and components of Chinese characters, suspended from the ceiling of the second-floor Loggia. The artist provides only the building blocks of words, leaving it to viewers to create meaning. The artwork’s location is especially apropos: the space offers an opportunity for dialogue with the original engraved literary quotations on the Loggia’s walls, dating to the building’s previous incarnation as San Francisco’s Main Library. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

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.