What’s “gorgeous” to you? There’s often a fine line between attraction and repulsion, but this summer at the Asian Art Museum, we’re drawing no lines at all.
Gorgeous presents 72 uniquely stunning artworks drawn from the collections of the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Spanning over 2,200 years and dozens of cultures, these artworks are organized in an attempt to shift the focus from historical and cultural contexts, emphasizing instead the unique ways each work announces itself or solicits a viewer’s attention. Left to your own devices, you may gravitate toward the strange or the familiar. Some artworks may be beautiful to you; others, bizarre and challenging. Some may be all three. Whatever they are, your reactions to the show will be unique. And that’s what interests us. As Allison Harding, co-curator of Gorgeous, puts it, “This isn’t about what the museum thinks. This is about what you think.”
We’ve blended paintings, sculptures, objects of high design or decoration and photographs. Artists like Marcel Duchamp and Marilyn Minter mingle with works that span the extent of Asia, including a 1,000 year-old Indian sculpture of the Hindu deity Durga victorious over a buffalo demon. Across from a Picasso, you might spot a decorated Qur’an from 16th-century Persia or an arresting photograph by Sally Mann.
Come take a look. What draws you in? What pushes you away? Take a moment to consider what’s “gorgeous” to you. We think you’ll be surprised.