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Exhibition Schedule

Press Release

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.

The Carved Brush: Calligraphy, Painting, and Seal Carving by Qi Baishi (1863-1957)
Through July 13, 2014

The Carved Brush showcases 24 artworks by acclaimed Chinese artist Qi Baishi. Born into a poor farming family and coming of age during civil strife, Baishi rose to become one of the most widely recognized Chinese artist of his time. His distinctly modern art broke through class and cultural barriers through use of expressive “carved” brushwork, juxtaposition of vibrant colors against deep and rich ink tones, economy in form and composition, and selection of emotionally resonant subject matter. He is credited with transforming the brush art of China’s educated elite into a more universal art form, appreciated by people of all social backgrounds. For these reasons, Qi Baishi’s art is the ideal gateway through which art lovers of any culture can learn about the tradition of Chinese brush painting.

Yoga: The Art of Transformation
Through May 25, 2014

All over the world, millions of people practice yoga to find spiritual insight or better health. Practitioners and non-practitioners alike may be aware of yoga's origins in India. But few know of yoga's original goal of transforming body and consciousness, its profound philosophical underpinnings, its presence within Jain, Buddhist, Sufi and Hindu religious traditions, or the surprisingly diverse social roles played by male and female yogic practitioners over centuries.

Borrowing from 25 museums and private collections in India, Europe and the United States, the exhibition’s highlights include an installation that reunites three monumental stone yogini goddesses from a 10th-century South Indian temple; 10 pages from the first illustrated compilation of yogic postures (asanas); and a Thomas Edison film, Hindoo Fakir (1902), widely regarded as the first movie ever produced about India.

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.

June 20–Sept. 14, 2014

Gorgeous presents masterpieces from the Asian Art Museum and SFMOMA in provocative ways and stimulating new contexts to encourage viewers to ask the question “What is gorgeous?”  The very idea of gorgeous, and whether it is valuable, has always been debated. This exhibition explores the extremes and ambiguities of what we might consider gorgeous, from luxurious ornamentation to austere simplicity; kitsch and camp; the body as a source of visual pleasure; compelling images of disturbing—or even ugly—subjects; and gorgeousness as feelings or ideas separate from physical form. How does the placement of a Mark Rothko painting near a Buddhist mandala, or a 2,000-year-old Chinese tomb figure near a self-portrait sculpted in chocolate and soap by Janine Antoni, bring into focus new aspects of each work? Through two very dissimilar collections with very dissimilar histories, Gorgeous will inspire debate and discovery.  

Highlights of the exhibition include works from SFMOMA such as Joan Miro’s Dawn Perfumed by a Shower of Gold, Pablo Picasso’s Women of Algiers, Marcel Duchamp’s Fountain, Sally Mann’s Jessie at Five, Trevor Paglen’s Chemical and Biological Weapons Proving Ground/Dugway, UT/Distance ~42 miles/10:51 am, 2006, Jeff Koons’s Michael Jackson and Bubbles and Sally Mann’s Strut. Highlights from the Asian Art Museum include the 1,000-year-old Indian sculpture “Durga victorious over the buffalo demon,” a gilded and jeweled Burmese Buddhist alms bowl, a Korean cloth with complexly calculated geometric designs, a decorated Koran from sixteenth-century Persia, Chobunsai Eishi’s “Three types of beauties in edo,” Hua Yan’s “Summer gatherings in a mountain villa,” and Kano Tan’yu’s “Mt. Fuji and the beach at Miho.” The exhibition is in partnership with the Asian Art Museum and SFMOMA.

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.

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 a.m. to 5 p.m. From February through September, hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 p.m. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $12 for adults, $8 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 p.m. 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.