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Exhibition Schedule

Press Release

Exquisite Nature: 20 Masterpieces of Chinese Paintings (14th–18th c.)
March 3–Nov. 1, 2015

The Asian Art Museum presents 20 masterpieces of Chinese paintings from 14th to 18th centuries, representing the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The exhibition features several extremely rare works by the great masters of Chinese painting including Ni Zan (1301–1374). Broad in subject, style and geographical representation, the artworks show variations of themes such as landscape, bird-and-flower, country life and historical stories. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

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.

Picturing Sound, Creating Mood
March 23–Nov. 22, 2015

Indian paintings are invitations to enter a multisensory world filled with sounds, smells, tastes and other perceptions evoking mood and stirring emotion. They intend to prompt the sensitive viewer (rasika) to be drawn into the artwork emotionally and feel its essence (rasa). Sound creates mood, and elements of sound—through hand gestures, jewelry, water pipes, birds and fountains—are present in Indian paintings. Picturing Sound, Creating Mood presents 12 paintings from north and central India from the 18th and 19th centuries, inviting visitors to listen to the paintings, enter their worlds, and embark on a journey. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Yoong Bae: Continuity and Pursuit
April 14–Dec. 13, 2015

Twenty years ago the Asian Art Museum presented 21 muted and meditative artworks by Korean American artist Yoong Bae (1928–1992). These pieces were then donated to the museum’s collection, representing some of the first truly modernist works acquired by the museum. Bae was known for blending Korean artistic traditions with modern Western art while reflecting the calmness and harmony of someone at peace in this space in between.
Now, for the first time in two decades, a focused selection of Bae’s paintings is on display in the Asian Art Museum’s Korean art galleries in Yoong Bae: Continuity and Pursuit. These eight representative pieces introduce the late artist’s hybridized approach to a new generation of visitors. 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 art world and expanded definitions of contemporary art in China. Featuring various forms—painting, installation, photography and new media—the exhibition reveals powerful responses to China today, as well as perspectives and attitudes towards tradition. Organized by the Rubell Family Collection/Contemporary Arts Foundation in Miami. Accompanied by a catalogue.

First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian
Sept. 4–Oct. 11, 2015

For the first time, the Asian Art Museum presents a large-scale exhibition of more than 40 contemporary highlights from the museum’s collection in First Look: Collecting Contemporary at the Asian. Many on view for the first time, the artworks connect us to Asia’s histories and traditions with the immediacy of contemporary ideas. First Look features artworks by Bay Area favorites like Hung Liu as well as exciting debuts like Ahmed Mater’s Illumination Waqf. Visitors will also encounter new digital works from Japanese technologists teamLab, and large-scale paintings by Zhu Jinshi and Manuel Ocampo. The exhibition’s artworks are remarkable on their own, but they activate the rest of the museum’s collection in compelling new ways, infusing traditional themes, mediums and cultural history with the urgency of present-day ideas. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists
Oct. 30, 2015–Feb. 7, 2016

Japan’s opening to international trade in the 1850s after centuries of self-imposed isolation set off a craze for all things Japanese among European and North American collectors, artists and designers. The phenomenon, dubbed japonisme by French writers, radically altered the course of Western art in the modern era. The Asian Art Museum delves into this sweeping development in the traveling exhibition Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists. The exhibition features more than 170 works of paintings, prints, furniture and decorative arts drawn from the acclaimed collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It traces the West’s growing interest in Japan, the collecting of Japanese objects, and the exploration of Japanese subject matter and styles. The works shown represent most of the major artistic movements of the late 19th and early 20th centuries with masterpieces by the great impressionist and post-impressionist painters Vincent van Gogh, Mary Cassatt, Edgar Degas, Paul Gaugin and Claude Monet, among others. Western paintings, prints and other objects are juxtaposed throughout the exhibition with artworks by celebrated Japanese masters including Kitagawa Utamaro, Utagawa Hiroshige, and Katsushika Hokusai. Organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at Great Islamic Courts
Feb. 26–May 8, 2016
An international loan exhibition of Islamic art organized in collaboration with the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at Great Islamic Courts emphasizes the role of human relationships in inspiring and sustaining artistic creativity at imperial courts. The exhibition spans a geographic range from the Bay of Bengal to the Mediterranean Sea and dates from the 16th to the 18th century—a period marked by the global movement of ideas and technologies and increased interaction among various cultural and religious communities. Pearls on a String is organized into three vignettes, each pivoting around a main protagonist in three different centuries and in three empires of the Islamic world. Through 90 exquisite artworks, Pearls on String captures the voices of the writer in 16th-century Mughal India, the painter in 17th-century Safavid Iran, and the patron in 18th-century Ottoman Turkey. Organized by the Walters Art Museum and the Asian Art Museum. Accompanied by a catalogue.

China at the Center: Rare Ricci and Verbiest World Maps
March 4–May 8, 2016

For the first time, two extremely rare and important maps are shown together in China at the Center: Rare Ricci and Verbiest World Maps. The Map of the Ten Thousand Countries of the Earth, also known as the 1602 Ricci map, was made by the Jesuit priest Matteo Ricci during his time in China. The Ricci map, one of six copies in the world today, is the oldest known Chinese map to depict the Americas. It is owned by the James Ford Bell Trust, held at the James Ford Bell Lilbrary, University of Minnesota, and will be on loan to the Asian Art Museum. The second map, known as the 1674 Verbiest world map, was made by Jesuit priest Ferdinand Verbiest for the Chinese court. On loan from the Library of Congress, this copy of the map has never been exhibited. These two maps are among the earliest, rarest, and largest woodblock-printed maps to survive from the period. Both maps tell fascinating stories about the way the world was conceived in the 17th century and how new ideas about geography, astronomy and the natural sciences were exchanged between Europe and Asia. Organized by the Asian Art Museum in partnership with the University of San Francisco. Accompanied by a catalogue.

Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art 
March 4–May 8, 2016

In 2016 the Asian Art Museum will celebrate its 50th anniversary, a “golden” milestone. Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art is an exhibition of more than 35 artworks from the museum’s magnificent collection that expose the physical and symbolic aspects of gold. Each artwork is chosen to reveal specific aspects of gold production and usage across Asia. San Francisco and the Bay Area have a long history of involvement with gold, “the ore with an aura.” From the centrality of the forty-niners—both the historical miners and today’s football players—to California’s gold rush and San Francisco’s mint, California’s current position on the world stage is inconceivable without the quest for this precious metal. Organized by the Asian Art Museum.

Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei
June 17–Sept. 18, 2016

Emperors’ Treasures: Chinese Art from the National Palace Museum, Taipei features nearly 150 artworks from the renowned National Palace Museum, Taipei and encompasses paintings, calligraphy, bronze vessels, ceramics, lacquer ware, jades, textiles and historical documents. The works are examples of the finest craftsmanship and imperial taste. More than 100 pieces will make their debut in the United States; among these, 30 works are extremely rare masterpieces and highlights of the show. This exhibition will explore the identities of eight rulers—seven emperors and one empress—who reigned from the early 12th through early 20th centuries. They will be portrayed in a story line that highlights artworks of their eras, from the dignified Song to the coarse yet subtle Yuan, and from the brilliant Ming until the final, dazzling Qing period. The showcase will dissect each ruler’s distinct contribution to the arts and examine how each developed his or her aesthetic and connoisseurship. By exploring the richness of each subject, style and type of craftsmanship, the exhibition outlines how Chinese art came to develop and flourish under Han Chinese, Mongol, and Manchu rulers. Organized by the Asian Art Museum. Accompanied by a catalogue.

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 during 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.