ALERTPlease note: the museum will be closed on Sunday, Feb 2 for a private event. The next Target First Free Sunday will take place on Feb 9.

Thank you

Exhibition Schedule

Kimono Refashioned, February 8–May 5, 2019
In the early 1980s, Japanese avant-garde designers took Paris by storm, disrupting the world of haute couture. This was not the first time Japan had transformed global style. Kimono Refashioned explores the impact of kimono on the world of fashion, from the Victorian era to the digital age. Featuring dozens of garments from the renowned Kyoto Costume Institute, the exhibition tells the story of how the subtle shape, weave, and decorative styles inspired by kimono have long expressed modernity in both Japanese and Western design.

Tanabe Chikuunsai IV: Connection, May 31–August 25, 2019
Tanabe Chikuunsai IV is a fourth-generation Japanese bamboo artist whose evocative installations have expanded the aesthetic dimensions of this age-old craft. For his site-specific work at the Asian Art Museum, Chikuunsai will use recycled strips of tiger bamboo to build a form that climbs and twists toward the sky. The grand scale of the artwork contrasts delightfully with its fragile-looking materials, captivating viewers who will be able to observe Chikuunsai’s intensive process as he weaves this artwork into towering bloom.

The Bold Brush of Au Ho-nien, May 31-August 18, 2019
One of the most celebrated living Chinese ink wash painters, Au Ho-nien combines the humanistic spirit and techniques of traditional Chinese fine art with Western Renaissance aesthetics to create an eclectic fusion. Now in his eighties, Au worked closely with the Asian Art Museum to select two dozen masterworks from his decades-long career. These scroll paintings reflect the ecological and cultural diversity of the Bay Area: from landscapes, nature scenes, and animal portraits to mythical figures that convey both the timeless and the forward-looking spirit of the region.

Tattoos in Japanese Prints, May 31-August 18, 2019
Large-scale decorative tattoos became one of the most eye-catching art forms of Japanese popular culture during the end of the 18th century. These decorative tattoos were closely related to woodblock prints and many early tattoo artists were trained as blockcutters, craftsmen who transformed designs drawn on paper into carved wooden blocks for mass-producing prints. This exhibition—featuring some of the most exciting prints from the collection of the MFA Boston—explores the social background, iconography, and visual splendor of Japanese tattoos through the printed media that helped to carry them from the streets of Edo-period Japan to 21st-century tattoo shops all over the world.

Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan, September 27–December 8, 2019 
Discover how two artists seeking a new direction for modern art in the aftermath of World War II found inspiration in Japanese tradition. Trace the friendship, work, ideas and mutual influence of Isamu Noguchi and Saburo Hasegawa, who both sought to balance tradition and modernity, Japanese culture and foreign influences, past and present. 

Lost at Sea: Art from Shipwrecks, November 26, 2019 - March 22, 2020
Sunk thousands of miles and hundreds of years apart, two recently excavated shipwrecks carrying treasures from Vietnam — a 15th-century vessel found in Southeast Asia and a 19th-century French steamer discovered near Somalia — show how the oceans open important portals to the past. Featuring monumental carvings from an ancient Cham kingdom as well as delicate ceramics both preserved and degraded by their time underwater, this exhibition explores the intersecting narratives of maritime archaeology, colonial enterprise and trade and the still surprising ways in which artworks enter a museum collection.

Chang Dai-chien: Painting from Heart to Hand, November 26, 2019 - April 26, 2020
Chang Dai-chien is one of the most acclaimed Chinese artists of the 20th century. To mark the 120th anniversary of his birth and 47 years since his previous solo show at the museum, we are inaugurating the newly renovated Chinese painting gallery with Chang Dai-chien: Painting from Heart to Hand. Comprising works donated to the museum by the artist, as well as loans from his friends and family, the exhibition spotlights Chang’s groundbreaking modernization of ink painting. 

Your Dog, Yoshitomo Nara, September 24, 2018 – September 22, 2019
A continuation of the museum’s popular front steps public sculpture series, Your Dog by neo-pop artist Yoshitomo Nara (1959–) will welcome visitors with an enormous cartoon-like puppy. The surreal scale of the dog evokes the large guardian sculptures stationed at entrances of Shinto shrines, while its whimsical depiction blends high and low art in a distinctly Japanese tradition.

Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment, January 17, 2020 - May 3, 2020
Wake up! Open your eyes, clear your head and leave the chaotic, fractured world behind. Embark on a journey that will change you forever. We’ll provide a guide, a map and everything else you’ll need to reach your destination. To gently guide you on your path, Awaken: A Tibetan Buddhist Journey Toward Enlightenment brings together Buddhist artworks from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Asian Art Museum, home to two of the country’s most significant collections of Himalayan art. Sculptures, paintings, textiles and book arts made between 800 and 2016 chart a transformative journey from the ordinary world to awakening.  

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.