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Exhibition Schedule

Press Release

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.

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

Silk velvets have been preeminent luxury textiles in many parts of the Islamic world and Europe, especially from the 15th century onwards. They were often used for clothing and furnishings, such as carpets, spreads, bolsters, hangings, and exchanged as diplomatic gifts. 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 offers glimpses of contemporary Chinese art through a group of 28 artists, ranging from the up-and-coming Liu Wei, He Xiangyu and Xu Zhen to the internationally acclaimed Zhang Huan and Ai Weiwei. These artists have made a significant impact on the contemporary art world and have contributed to a malleable definition of “Chinese contemporary art.” Featuring various forms—painting, installation, photography and new media—the exhibition reveals perspectives and attitudes towards tradition, as well as 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, with extended hours spring and summer 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.