December Hours: Open Thursdays–Monday, 10 AM–5 PM. Late Thursday nights will resume in January.

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Thu–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
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200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
415.581.3500
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Virtual Member Lounge

October 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Curators’ Virtual Presentation of Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision

Trisha Lagaso Goldberg and Mark Dean Johnson, co-curators of Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision, will take us on a virtual tour of select artworks on view in the exhibition and share their in-depth knowledge of Carlos Villa’s life and legacy.

Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision celebrates the exuberant work and enduring influence of San Francisco artist Carlos Villa (1936–2013). The first major museum retrospective dedicated to the work of a Filipino American artist, this groundbreaking exhibition shows us Villa not only as one of the most important artists of his generation, but also as a teacher, curator, activist, and community organizer.

Virtual Lecture Series

Honoring the Dead

For thousands of years, rituals honoring the dead have been a part of Asian cultures and religions. Explore paintings, sculptures, and jewelry in the Asian Art Museum’s collection that manifest emotions of love and respect for those who have passed.

Image: Death of the Buddha Shakyamuni, approx. 1700–1800. Tibet. Colors on cotton. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B66D23. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

September 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Adornment

Beautifully crafted adornments of crowns, earrings, pendants, and bracelets provide eye-catching insights into centuries of history from Persia, Korea, Indonesia, China, and India (to name just a few).

Image: Headdress, approx. 1800–1900. Indonesia, Lampung province, Sumatra island. Gold. Asian Art Museum, Gift from the James and Elaine Connell Collection, 2012.22. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Asian Art Museum

2021–2022 Year in Review

Please take a moment to enjoy our annual video highlighting the year’s achievements. This year taught us how to museum differently — with art you can touch, hear, groove to, be inspired by and connect with. From the immersive wonderlands of teamLab, to the visually magical worlds of Carlos Villa, it’s art you can experience.

August 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Breaking the Frame: Contemporary Asian Art

Let’s get acquainted with some talented and visionary artists who are breaking the frame. This presentation will highlight contemporary artists with commissioned artworks on view at the Asian Art Museum. We’ll explore the artists’ inspiration, techniques, and materials (often in their own words) and learn about how multicultural artists engage personal identities in artworks.

Image: Installation view of My House, My Tomb, 2015/2021, by Afruz Amighi (American, b. Iran, 1974). Steel with fiberglass mesh, metal chains, and LED light. Lent by the artist. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

July 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Expressions of Gender in Asian Art

Explore highlights from the Asian Art Museum collection that demonstrate the complexities of gender identity with male, female, and non-binary people and deities.

Images: Satyavati and Shalya (Satyawati and Salya), approx. 1936–1940, by Ida Bagus Putu Taman (Indonesian, 1873–1953). Sandalwood. Asian Art Museum, Vicki Baum Bali Collection, Gift of Wolfgang Lert and Ruth Clark Lert, 1992.43. Photograph © Asian Art Museum. Musical Bodies: Banjo, 1999, by Wilson Shieh (Chinese, b. 1970). Ink and color on gold paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of the Yiqingzhai Collection, 2005.77. © Wilson Shieh. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

June 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Seeking the Divine: Deities of Asia

What happens when the divine is given a body? Have gods created humans in their own image, or is it the other way around? Artworks from the Asian Art Museum’s renowned collection show how artists have envisioned the divine, imbuing it with forms that are meant to reflect supernatural qualities. This talk explores how ideal beauty is interpreted differently in various Asian cultures and religions, how that beauty can be transformed by altering the forms of the body, how deities maintain their identity despite changes to their form, and how divine beings are represented after their death.

Image: The Hindu deities Shiva and Parvati with their son Skanda, approx. 1500-1600. China, India, Ekambareshvara Temple, Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu state. Bronze. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S157+. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

May 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

The Language of Flowers in Asian Art

A virtual lecture highlighting the expressive power of flowers in the arts and cultures of Asia. Flowers have been cultivated in gardens and represented in art for thousands of years, and their properties have come to symbolize both human and divine qualities. This talk, featuring objects from the Asian Art Museum’s collection, focuses on some of the flowers often found in Asian art⁠ — lotus, plum blossom, cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, tulip, and rose ⁠— and the messages they convey.

Image: Vase with “one hundred flowers” motif. China; Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, Qing dynasty, reign of the Qianlong emperor (1736–1795). Porcelain with overglaze enamels. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B65P13. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

April 2022

Global Art Dialogues

Intimacy and Empire in Contemporary Practices

How has the intersection of family histories, power structures, and artistic expressions shaped visual culture throughout Asia and its diasporas? Asma Kazmi, assistant professor of art practice at the University of California, Berkeley, and artists Zeina Barakeh and Maia Cruz Palileo joined in a conversation about sites of these interactions—archives, family lore, architecture, manuscripts—informed by their own practices. The goal of this conversation was to support the efforts of museums, universities, and communities in highlighting the connections between visual art and political and personal histories. Additionally, the panel consider the relationship between state power and the discipline of art history itself. Moderated by Kathy Zarur, associate professor of art history at Skyline College.

Image: The New Arrivals, 2017, by Maia Cruz Palileo (American, b. 1979). Oil on canvas. Courtesy of the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery.

March 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

The Goddess and Images of Power

Meet the wrathful avengers, phenomenal dakinis, and benevolent bodhisattvas who grace the collections of the Asian Art Museum. Whether feared or revered, these goddesses play an important and prominent role in many Asian religions.

Image: White-Robed Water-Moon Avalokiteshvara (Gwaneum bosal), 2008, by Seol Min (Korean, b. 1966). Ink and colors on cotton. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Seol Min, 2008.11. © Buddhist nun Seol Min. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Curator's Choice Lecture

Meet the Masters

In this talk with Assistant Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham, we will meet some of the great Vajrayana Buddhist masters of India and Tibet – in painted and sculpted form. Their stories tell the tale of transformations, from negative to positive, ordinary to extraordinary. They are as relevant to our concerns today as they were a thousand years ago.

Image: The Buddhist adept Indrabhuti, 1995. Tibet; Tsang. Colors on unfired clay. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Thomas Murray in honor of Glenn and Joan Vinson, F2013.56.1. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Deputy Director's Lecture

The Art of Escape

Take a break from our current troubled world for an afternoon of art with Deputy Director of Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz. Explore works in the museum collection that were produced during periods of great upheaval and struggle and yet present an image of an ideal world into which one could escape to find solace and joy.

Image: Lidded jar with design of a lotus pond. China; Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, Ming Dynasty, reign of the Jiajing emperor (1522–1566). Porcelain with underglaze blue and overglaze multicolor decoration. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P78+. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

February 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Lunar New Year

Happy Year of the Tiger! Lanterns and couplets. Dragons and oranges. Red envelopes and housecleaning. Learn about the fascinating traditions and symbols that enrich the celebration of the Lunar New Year throughout Asia. Feb. 1, 2022, on the Gregorian calendar marks the beginning of the year of the Water Tiger, year 4719 on the Chinese calendar. What does this mean and how should we celebrate?

Image: Tiger, approx. 1700-1800. Japan. Ink and light colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60D52+. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

January 2022

Virtual Lecture Series

Timeless Traditions, Expressions of the Divine in Indian Art

Explore the vast panoply of South Asian art through the prism of its major belief systems: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism. Discover how for thousands of years the artists of India and its neighbors have beautifully depicted their deities.

Image: The Hindu deity Parvati, approx. 1050-1100. India; Jaynagar-Hasanpur, Monghyr District, Bihar state. Basalt. Asian Art Museum, Museum purchase, B67S2. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Live Event

Weaving Stories - Conversation with Dr. Natasha Reichle and Denise Migdail

Conversation with Curator of Southeast Asian Art Dr. Natasha Reichle and Textile Conservator Denise Migdail.

At Weaving Stories, you’ll have a vibrant encounter with one of the oldest and most intimate forms of art. From birth to death, we are swaddled, wrapped, or shrouded in cloth. Textiles not only protect and adorn our homes, our sacred spaces, and our bodies but also communicate identity, status, and faith.

Image: Woman’s shoulder cloth (selendang) or headcloth (tengkuluak) (detail), approx. 1850–1900. Indonesia; West Sumatra, Minangkabau people. Silk, metal-wrapped threads, and dyes. Asian Art Museum, Gift of M. Glenn Vinson and Claire Vinson, 2021.58. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

Live Event

Sophia Shen in Conversation with Dr. Robert Mintz

Art Speak alum Sophia Shen in conversation with Deputy Director of Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz.

Art Speak is the Asian Art Museum’s year-long paid teen internship program that focuses on learning and exploring Asian art and culture, social justice and youth activism, and career opportunities in museums and the arts. Throughout the year, the interns engage in research using the museum collection and special exhibitions, discussions, interviews, and hands-on arts and activism-based workshops.

Image: The bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin), approx. 1100–1200. China, Song dynasty (960–1279). Wood (paulownia) with pigments. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60S24+. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

December 2021

12.8.2021

Virtual Event: Virtual Lecture Series - Masterpieces of the Asian Art Museum

What constitutes a “masterpiece?” Why are some objects considered masterworks while others are relegated to lesser status? Explore these issues through a few of the treasures of the Asian Art Museum collection, including statues, jades, ceramics, and painting.

Image: Buddha dated 338. China; Hebei province, Later Zhao kingdom (319–351). Bronze with gilding. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60B1034. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

12.02.21

Curating an Exhibition Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision

Join us virtually to get a closer look at upcoming exhibition, Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision, in a conversation with artist Mike Arcega and exhibition chair and co-curator Trisha Lagaso Goldberg, led by Asian Art Museum Head of Contemporary Art and Senior Associate Curator Abby Chen.

Carlos Villa: Worlds in Collision celebrates the exuberant work and enduring influence of San Francisco artist Carlos Villa (1936–2013). The first major museum retrospective dedicated to the work of a Filipino American artist, this groundbreaking exhibition shows us Villa not only as one of the most important artists of his generation, but also as a teacher, curator, activist, and community organizer.

Images: My Roots, 1970–1971, by Carlos Villa (American, 1936–2013). Acrylic and feathers on canvas. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Neysa McMein Purchase Award, 72.21. Panel at the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Java, Indonesia (detail). Photo courtesy of Dr. Natasha Reichle.

November 2021

11.10.2021

Virtual Lecture Series: Genghis Khan — Hero or Tyrant?

Learn about Genghis Khan and his descendants, who came to dominate the largest land empire in history during this talk that focuses on objects from the museum collection. Hear how Genghis Khan’s legacy continued to influence history and the arts for over 800 hundred years.

Image: Saddle, 1600–1700. Tibet; Derge. Leather, wood, gilded bronze, silver, and iron. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Raymond G. and Milla L. Handley, B86M22. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

October 2021

11.07.2021

Virtual Event: Virtual Lecture Series Demons, Creatures, and Monsters — Oh My!

Mythical creatures, legendary beasts, terrifying monsters — they are supernatural, mystical, often god-like or demon-like beings, and they have fascinated us since ancient times. Even today, they continue to thrill, terrify, entertain, and inspire. And they may even be able to protect us from viruses. Learn more about these beings who populate stories, songs, and works of art.

Image: Gunungan or kayon, approx. 1970. Indonesia; Java. Painted and cut leather. Asian Art Museum, From The Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.127. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

September 2021

9.8.2021

Virtual Event: Virtual Lecture Series - When the Tiger Smoked a Pipe

Join us for this story of Korean art exploring a selection of fascinating objects from the museum’s collection. Renowned throughout Asia for its ceramics and textiles, Korea also has created, adapted, and refined a broad spectrum of art forms. Today, Korea is one of the leaders in contemporary art.

Image: Jar with tiger and magpie design, approx. 1700–1800. Korea. Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Porcelain with cobalt decoration under glaze. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Namkoon Ryun, 2001.9. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

July 2021

7.20.21

A Conversation with Kazumasa Nonaka of teamLab

A conversation with Kazumasa Nonaka of teamLab and Dr. Robert Mintz, Deputy Director, Art and Programs, discussing teamLab: Continuity — the inaugural exhibition in the museum’s new Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion — on view at the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Image: A Conversation with Kazumasa Nonaka of teamLab, program at the Asian Art Museum, July 20, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

7.2.2021

Nachi Waterfall

View this week’s ArtiFact with Chief Curator and Curator of Japanese Art Dr. Laura W. Allen as she dives into more detail about this painting, Nachi Waterfall by artist Nagasawa Rosetsu.

Image: Nachi Waterfall (detail), approx. 1789–1801, by Nagasawa Rosetsu (Japanese, 1754–1799). Edo period (1615–1868). Ink and light colors on silk. Asian Art Museum, Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Ney-Wolfskill Fund, B69D47. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

June 2021

6.28.2021

Global Art Dialogues

Global Art Dialogues is a series of programs connecting artists around the world to explore the pertinent issues of our time. Amid shifting social landscapes, the museum’s commitment to invest in emerging and established artists, elevate marginalized voices, and curate through a global lens of equity, justice, and collaboration is stronger now than ever. Whether these events are in-person or virtual, we aim to create spaces to challenge and transcend physical, sociopolitical, and imaginary borders to empower change. By bringing together creatives from Bay Area and global communities, we are exploring the possibilities of what can be and what we can accomplish through a spirit of radical collaboration.

Image: Stills from works by Tina Takemoto, Việt Lê, Club Ate, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, courtesy of artists.

6.4.2021

Chanel Miller's I was, I am, I will be

Take a closer look at Chanel Miller’s I was, I am, I will be, the inaugural work in the Wilbur Foundation Gallery with one of our docents in this ArtiFact.

Image: Installation views of Chanel Miller: I was, I am, I will be, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

6.2.2021

Virtual Event: Glorious Civilizations of Southeast Asia

Eleven countries, numerous cultures, thousands of years. Explore the varied and intriguing art of Southeast Asia as reflected in secular and religious objects from this fascinating region. See sculptures from Angkor Wat, buddhas from Myanmar (Burma) and Thailand, ceramics from Vietnam, and textiles from the Philippines.

Image: The Hindu deities Parvati and Shiva, a pair, approx. 975–1025. Cambodia; former kingdom of Angkor. Sandstone. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B66S2 and B66S3. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

May 2021

5.27.2021

Mughal Indian Jade Cup with a European Mount

Learn more about this exquisite nephrite jade cup from our collection, and the labor that went into producing it, with one of our talented docents.

Image: Cup with European mount, 1650–1750, fittings approx. 1850–1880. India. Mughal Period. Nephrite, silver, gilding, enamel, and garnets. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60J961. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

5.27.2021

Jar with Tiger and Magpie

Listen to a museum docent as she illuminates the history of one of her favorite works in our collection, a Korean jar from the Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). In this ArtiFact, you will learn about the previous materials, symbolic imagery, and historical origin of this jar.

Image: Jar with tiger and magpie design, approx. 1700–1800. Korea. Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Porcelain with cobalt decoration under glaze. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Namkoong Ryun, 2001.9. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

5.19.2021

Virtual Event: Before the Viewing

Head of Conservation Sheila Payaqui and Textile Conservator Denise Migdail share how conservation continually adapts and how it informs the exhibition and treatment of artworks. Focusing on a thangka (Tibetan scroll painting) in the museum collection, they reveal how the artwork is mounted using a magnetic hanging system. They will also discuss recent experiments with in-house 3D printing to create reproductions.

Images: The Buddhist elder Gopaka, 1700–1800. Tibet; Khams region. Thangka; ink and colors on cotton. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B61D1+. A conservator at work in the Asian Art Museum Conservation Studio.

5.12.2021

Virtual Event: Japanese Aesthetics, Part 2

Join us for the second part of this two-part lecture that explores the aesthetics of Japanese culture from the 16th century to the present day through close analysis of folding screens, woodblock prints, kimonos, and netsukes from the museum collection.

Image: View of Mt. Fuji from Beneath the Shin Ohashi Bridge, approx. 1844, by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (Japanese, 1797–1861). Ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection, 2005.100.112. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

April 2021

4.21.2021

Virtual Event: Virtual Preview Showcase

Be the first to hear about the latest museum news and upcoming exhibitions and commissions at this Virtual Preview Showcase. In this program, museum curators will introduce you to some of our highly anticipated upcoming exhibitions.


Image: Draft portrait of Lee Sam, 1751. Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Ink on colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Arthur J. McTaggart, 1992.203.d. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

4.15.2021

The Pants with Nobody in Them

What can a pair of trousers tell us about trade more than 100 years ago? In this Artifact, Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Natasha Reichle explores the textile trade through a pair of pants made of hemp and shell that were found in the Philippines in the late 19th century.


Image: Trousers, 1875–1900. Philippines; Mindanao, Davao Province. Abaca, shell. Asian Art Museum, Gift of the Black family in memory of Rev. and Mrs. Robert F. Black, 2011.62. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

4.7.2021

Virtual Event: Japanese Aesthetics, Part 1

What makes Japanese art so unique? What is the Japanese Aesthetic? The first part of this two-part series explores the periods from pre-historic times to 16th century Japan. Objects from the museum’s collections illustrate the historical, cultural, and religious context that exemplifies early Japanese art and sensibilities.


Image: Virtual Lecture Series – Japanese Aesthetics, Part 1, online program at the Asian Art Museum, April 7, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

Spring 2021 Members Magazine

Our Spring 2021 members magazine is in! Read the latest updates about the museum, our upcoming exhibitions, and commissions.

March 2021

3.31.2021

Virtual Event: Drinking Nihonshu, Tasting Japan’s Artisanal Sake

Join Deputy Director, Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz for a stroll through the arts of the season. We will be joined by friends at Dewazakura Sake Brewery in Yamagata prefecture for a tour of their facility and museum with artwork collected by the founding family. Then celebrate new beginnings with a live tasting of fine sakes from Yamagata, Nagano, and Ishikawa, Japan, led by World Sake Imports.


Image: Cherry Blossom Viewing at Ueno (detail), 1850–1900, by Inouye Tankei (Japanese). Diptych; woodblock print, ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Toshiro Nakayama, 2010.210.1-.2. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

3.24.2021

Virtual Event: Curator’s Choice Lecture - A Journey Along the Tokaido Highway

Join samurai, merchants, pilgrims, and sightseers on a journey along the Tokaido highway, led by Associate Curator of Japanese Art Dr. Yuki Morishima. A favorite subject of woodblock print artists, the Tokaido was a bustling route connecting Edo (present-day Tokyo), the capital of the military shoguns, and Kyoto, the imperial capital of Japan.

Image: Fujikawa Station, 1833–1834, from the series Fifty-Three Stations of The Tokaido, by Utagawa Hiroshige (Japanese, 1797–1858) Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Japanese Prints from the Collection of Emmeline Johnson. Donated by Oliver and Elizabeth Johnson, 1994.52. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

3.22.2021

Virtual Event: Don’t Mess with Me

A conversation with Mumbai-based artist Jas Charanjiva about her work Don’t Mess with Me — on view and visible from the corner of McAllister and Hyde Streets, outside the museum. A panel discusses sexual violence against women in South Asia, and how artists and organizations like The Asia Foundation are working to address and combat the abuses.

Image: Don’t Mess with Me – Combating Gender-Based Violence in South Asia Through Art and Engagement. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. 2021.

3.16.2021

Virtual Event: Studio Encounter with Hamid Rahmanian

A conversation with Iranian multidisciplinary artist Hamid Rahmanian and Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen. Rahmanian introduces us to his decade-long project of modernizing the ancient tale Shahnameh (The Book of Kings) for a 21st-century audience, pulling back the curtain to share the magic behind his visually intricate works.


Image: Studio Encounter with Hamid Rahmanian, online program at the Asian Art Museum, March 16, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

February 2021

2.18.2021

From Attraction to Altruism: Love in Himalayan Buddhist Art

Join us for this ArtiFact presented by Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham as he describes the symbolic love representations in our collection pieces from empathy and kindness to joys of sexuality and meditation.

Image: The Buddhist deity Guhyasamaja, 1400-1500. China; Beijing. Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Bronze with gilding. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B64B23. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

2.17.2021

Virtual Event: Lunar New Year with Chef Martin Yan

Celebrate the Year of the Ox with fellow Asian Art Museum member and esteemed chef Martin Yan. In a live cooking demonstration, follow along as Yan creates three of his favorite Lunar New Year dishes — Curried Chicken in Lettuce Cups, Lotus Gold Coins, and Little Dragon over a Cloud (Seafood Custard). You can download the recipes with ingredients and instructions for the three special dishes.

Image: Lunar New Year with Chef Martin Yan, online program at the Asian Art Museum, February 3, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

2.11.2021

Year of the Ox

Watch the newest ArtiFact video to see various Chinese artworks that feature oxen and buffalo presented by Curatorial Assistant of Chinese Art, Joanna Lee.

Image: Ox, 561-618. China; Central Plains. Earthenware with painted decoration. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1216

2.9.2021

Virtual Event: Lunar New Year

Lanterns and couplets. Dragons and oranges. Red envelopes and housecleaning. Feb. 12, 2021, on the Gregorian calendar marks the beginning of the year of the Metal Ox, year 4719 on the Chinese calendar. In this virtual lecture by one of our museum docents, you will learn about the fascinating and colorful traditions and symbols that enrich the celebration of the Lunar New Year throughout Asia.

Image: Ox, China; Central Plains. Tang dynasty (618-907). Glazed low-fired ceramic. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P310. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

2.9.2021

Virtual Event: Studio Encounter with Wu Chi-Tsung

In conversation with Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen, contemporary artist Wu Chi-Tsung gives us a virtual tour of his Taipei studio, an introduction to his past and current projects, and an exclusive demonstration of his innovative process creating the well-known “Cyano-Collage series”.

Image: Studio Encounter with Wu Chi-Tsung, online program at the Asian Art Museum, January 26, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

January 2021

1.26.21

Virtual Event: The Silk Road

A virtual journey along the ancient trade routes that transmitted goods, technologies, and ideas across the Asian continent, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. What did this trade look like? Who was involved? How did trade occur? Where did the routes take merchants, soldiers, and pilgrims? By examining objects in the museum collection, we will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the innovation, technologies, and physical objects battled for and bartered over thousands of years ago along the Silk Road.

1.22.2021

Virtual Event: 76 Days – A Vital Look into the Covid-19 Lockdown in Wuhan

“76 Days” is a raw and intimate documentary set in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. Filmed deep inside the frontlines of the crisis in four hospitals, this award-winning film captures the struggles — and resilience — of patients and health care workers battling the pandemic during the city’s 76-day lockdown.  

Image: “76 Days”: A Vital Look Into the COVID-19 Lockdown in Wuhan. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2021.

December 2020

12.16.20

Armchair Journey: Travel Through Time and Space to Yongbyon

Associate Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han guides us on an Armchair Journey to Yongbyon, a city in today’s North Korea. We will travel across time and space through the painting A Gathering of Military Officials, visiting a city that has been mostly inaccessible since the Korean War (1950–1953).

Image: A gathering of military-officials (detail), after 1576. Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. Asian Art Museum, Acquisition made possible by Koret Foundation Funds, with additional funding from the Connoisseurs’ Council, and the Moon Art Foundation, 2005.74. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

12.15.2020

Virtual Event: Conversation with Japanese Bamboo Artist Tomo Uesugi

An exclusive event featuring Japanese bamboo artist Tomo Uesugi in conversation with Japan Foundation Curatorial Assistant for Japanese Art Maya Hara. Uesugi guides us through her home studio situated in the vast farmlands of Toyama prefecture, Japan and shares her innovative works made of natural dyed bamboo. Uesugi studied under Chikuunsai IV and is one of 12 bamboo artists who received the Mingei Bamboo Prize. Her work is currently on exhibit at the Musee Guimet in Paris.

Image: Conversation with Japanese Bamboo Artist Tomo Uesugi, online program at the Asian Art Museum, December 1, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

12.2.2020

Virtual Event: Deputy Director's Lecture - The Timeless Beauty of Brevity

This conversation with Deputy Director, Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz and Hua Zhou of Christie’s Japanese and Korean Art Department will explore our very human fascination with brevity in art. From medieval haiku to the contemporary artwork of Kishio Suga, our speakers will look at a few of the ways artists have focused and distilled their expressions into as few as 140 characters.

Image: Tea-grinding stone mill (detail), approx. 1740–1768, by Hakuin Ekaku (Japanese, 1685–1768). Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Jeanne G. O’Brien in memory of James E. O’Brien, 1993.34. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

November 2020

11.24.20

Virtual Event: Demons, Creatures, and Monsters, Oh My!

Mythical creatures, legendary beasts, terrifying monsters — they are supernatural, mystical, often god-like or demon-like beings, and they have fascinated us since ancient times. Even today, they continue to thrill, terrify, entertain, and inspire. And they may even be able to protect us from viruses. Learn more about these beings who populate stories, songs, and works of art in this virtual lecture given by one of our docents.

Image: Virtual Lecture Series – Demons, Creatures, and Monsters, Oh My!, online program at the Asian Art Museum, November 10, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

11.20.20

Fall 2020 Members Magazine

Our Fall 2020 members magazine is in! Read the latest updates we have about the museum and enjoy enriching articles about our current exhibitions.

11.20.20

Flattened Yet Useful

Learn more about this common household item found in Korea with the Korean Foundation Fellow Yaerim Hyun as she describes the flattened yet useful bottles from Korea.


Image: Flask with peony design, 1400-1500. Korea. Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Stoneware with incised and sgraffito slip decoration under clear glaze. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Kyong Brotherton in honor of her husband, Joseph Brotherton, 2016.118. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.19.20

Armchair Journey: To Siam and Angkor in 1860

Angkor, Ayutthaya, and Bangkok are already checked off many people’s bucket lists these days, but they were seldom visited by foreigners in the mid-19th century. Join Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill for this journey guided by Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist and explorer whose writings introduced these great historic capitals to wide European and American audiences. Mouhot shows sympathetic interest in what he saw but also reflects the attitudes of the colonial period.


Image: The deities Skanda and Kubera, rubbing of a twelfth-century relief at Angkor Wat, approx. 1960–1975. Cambodia. Ink on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous friend of the Asian Art Museum, F2017.13. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

11.16.20

Virtual Event: Artist Conversation with Pinaree Sanpitak

To celebrate Sanpitak’s upcoming installation, the Asian Art Museum has partnered with 100 Tonson Foundation in Bangkok to host a conversation with Pinaree Sanpitak and Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, assistant curator of American art at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The talk will be moderated by Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen.


Image: Breast Stupa Topiary, 2013/2019, by Pinaree Sanpitak (Thai, b. 1961). Stainless steel. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Museum purchase, 2019.7, .10, and .11. Photograph courtesy of Yavuz Gallery Singapore.

11.13.20

The Goddess Lakshmi and the Festival of Diwali

Learn more about the relationship between the goddess Lakshmi and Diwali as told by Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill.


Image: The Goddess Lakshmi and the Festival of Diwali. Video produced by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.10.20

Virtual Event: Curator's Choice Lecture - From Sacred to Secular: Seeing the Everyday at Borobudur

The Indonesian monument of Borobudur is one of the largest and most complex Buddhist monuments in Asia. Join Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Dr. Natasha Reichle for a lecture that turns away from the religious significance of Borobudur to examine what the monument’s hundreds of narratives reliefs tell us about the lives of ordinary people in ninth-century Java.


Image: Panel at the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Java, Indonesia (detail). Photo courtesy of Dr. Natasha Reichle.

11.6.20

Retreat through Social Distance

Learn more about self elected social distancing in Chinese literary culture through one of our collection pieces as described by Curatorial Assistant for Chinese Art Joanna Lee.


Image: Retreat through Social Distancing Artifact. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.3.20

Virtual Event: Artist Conversation with Tsherin Sherpa

In this talk led by Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham, Sherpa explores the transformative power of Himalayan art, connecting our present moment to the long tradition of visionary creations in which he works. Our historical moment demands great flexibility, and Sherpa reveals how Himalayan art can help us navigate challenges and opportunities with humor and intelligence.


Image: Vajrayogini, 2020, by Tsherin Sherpa (Nepalese, b. 1968). Colors and gold on paper. Private collection. Bepar (Hop) (still), 2019, by Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh. © Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh.

October 2020

10.29.20

Ghosts and Golden Clouds

Learn about the haunting tales of Japanese ghosts with this performance by master storyteller Brenda Wong Aoki and Emmy Award-winning contemporary jazz composer Mark Izu.

Image: Ghosts and Golden Clouds. Video produced by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2010.

10.27.20

Virtual Event: Hidden Meanings

Bats, gourds, peaches, and monkeys on horses. These subjects are frequently depicted in Chinese art, but what do they mean? In this virtual lecture given by one of our docents, you will discover some of the fascinating and fun messages hidden in Chinese art.


Image: Virtual Lecture Series – Hidden Meanings, online program at the Asian Art Museum, October 13, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

10.23.20

Armchair Journey: A Visit to Ho Chi Minh City

Deputy Director, Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz reflects on his short visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in this Armchair Journey. He introduces us to Vietnamese American artists who had immigrated to the United States as children but have now elected to make this growing megacity their home. Join us to learn about their work, which addresses the history of war, the beauty of Vietnam and its people, and the promise of a bright, dynamic future.


Image: Antique Dragon Spacecraft, 2016, by The Propeller Group (est. 2006). Jackfruit wood and antique jackfruit wood column. Asian Art Museum, Acquisition made possible by Jerome L. Dodson and Thao Nguyen Dodson, 2016.173.a-.i. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

10.20.20

Virtual Event: Curating an Exhibition - After Hope

Join us in a conversation between Viv Liu, Asian Art Museum research assistant for contemporary art, and guest curator Dr. Padma D. Maitland, assistant professor of architectural history and theory at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Dr. Padma D. Maitland for a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming exhibition, After Hope: Videos of Resistance.


Image: Bepar (Hop) (video still), 2019, by Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh. © Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh.

10.22.2020

Powers of Pigment: Color Patterns in Tibetan Thangka

Experience the power and symbolism of pigment in Tibetan thangka with Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham.

Image: Powers of Pigment: Color Patterns in Tibetan Thangka. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

10.16.20

Tasting Menu: The Chairman

Take a sneak peek at the duo running the popular food truck The Chairman and learn their recipe for their pork belly bao.

Image: Tasting Menu: The Chairman. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2016.

10.08.2020

Beauty and Romance: Moon Tales in East Asian Art

Hear Fan J. Zhang, Barbara and Gerson Baker Curator of Chinese Art share with us the history and tales of the moon in East Asian art.

Image: Beauty and Romance: Moon Tales in East Asian Art. Video produced by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

9.29.20

Virtual Event: The Language of Flowers in Asian Art

Since ancient times in Asia, flowers have been cultivated in gardens and represented in art. The properties of flowers have come to symbolize both human and divine qualities. This program, part of the Virtual Lecture Series for members, features objects from the museum that focuses on six celebrated flowers — lotus, plum blossom, cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, tulip, and rose — and the messages they convey.

Image: Virtual Lecture Series – The Language of Flowers in Asian Art, online program at the Asian Art Museum, September 15, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

9.22.20

Virtual Event: 2020 Annual Meeting and Celebration

The Asian Art Museum’s first virtual Annual Meeting and Celebration highlights the theme Leaning Forward: Our Transformation Unfolds. Celebrate the leadership of outgoing chair Akiko Yamazaki, welcome incoming chair Fred Levin, and share how the downs and ups of the past year reveal what “transformation” truly means for the Asian Art Museum, today and in the future.

Image: Installation view of Chanel Miller: I was, I am, I will be, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

9.16.20

Armchair Journey: Art, Architecture, and History of Wuhan

On this Armchair Journey with Barbara and Gerson Bakar Curator of Chinese Art Dr. Fan Zhang, you will explore Wuhan, a Chinese megacity that became world famous as the place where COVID-19 was originally identified. Soon after this city returns to its normal rhythm, you can experience its art, architecture, and history by walking along the colonial-style streets, visiting the birthplace of the Republic of China, and touring museums of ancient and contemporary artworks. The nearby Daoist Mount Wudang and the Three Gorges of the Yangzi River will also make your trip to Wuhan memorable.

Image: Lidded Jar with Design of a Lotus Pond. China; Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), Reign of the Jiajing emperor (1522–1566). Porcelain with underglaze cobalt and overglaze multicolor decoration. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P78+. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

9.11.20

Japanese Gardens

Gardens in Japan can typically be found in cites, near homes, and even surrounding Buddhist temples. Join Deputy Director for Art and Programs Dr. Robert Mintz as he shares with us a look inside some of Kyoto’s famous Japanese gardens.

Image: Japanese Gardens. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

9.8.20

Virtual Event: Made When and Where? Conservators and Curators Seek Answers

When and where was this art object made? Is it fake? Sometimes the answers are clear, but when they aren’t, curators and conservators go to great lengths seeking answers, using sophisticated technical analyses as well as their accumulated knowledge. Associate Head of Conservation Mark Fenn and Dr. Forrest McGill, Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art and Director of the Research Institute for Asian Art, illustrate and describe their 20-year collaboration on bronze statuary from Cambodia and Thailand. Join them as they discuss the process and the results of their research.

Image: Conservator Mark Fenn studies an X-ray of a collection object.

9.4.20

The Perfection of Giving

The International Day of Charity (Sep. 5) reminds us of the tale of Prince Vessantara. In this video, Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill shares the tale of this prince, who achieved nine lives of perfection and must now fulfill the ultimate in charity.

Image: The Perfection of Giving. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

9.2.20

Virtual Event: Virtual Preview Showcase

Special presentations previewing the Asian Art Museum’s exciting slate of upcoming contemporary artists, exhibitions, and installations that will be on view, in both existing museum spaces and brand-new sites. Then explore the traditional and contemporary works carefully selected for the museum’s second-floor Japanese teahouse.

Images: The Lonely Age (Part I) (still), 2019, by Connie Zheng. © Connie Zheng. Tea gathering at the Asian Art Museum. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

8.27.20

Conservation of Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware

Peek behind the scenes of the Asian Art Museum as conservators Mark Fenn and Colleen O’Shea perform in-depth analysis and treatment of four Korean mother-of-pearl lacquerware objects in the museum’s collection.

Image: Conservation of Mother-of-Pearl Lacquerware. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2016.

8.21.20

Santiago Bose’s Native Song

In honor of World Photography Day (Aug. 19), we are sharing the work of Filipino artist Santiago Bose (1949–2002), which illustrates his keen awareness of the power of photography and its use in subjugating the colonized. A common preoccupation of Bose’s multimedia works is the history of the Philippines, especially the complex relationships between colonial and indigenous cultures. Watch Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Natasha Reichle speak about this fascinating photograph.

Image: Santiago Bose’s Native Song. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

8.17.20

Armchair Journey: In Search of the Diamond Realm in Kathmandu, Nepal

Take an Armchair Journey with Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham to the Diamond World, a Buddhist visionary realm reputedly spread throughout the magical city of Kathmandu, Nepal. Along the way, we’ll look at some of Kathmandu’s great Buddhist monuments, like the immense Boudhnath and the transcendent Svayambhunath. We’ll return home to discover an important secret lying in plain sight, in the galleries of the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

Image: Svayambhu Stupa, 1700–1800. Nepal. Copper with gilding. Asian Art Museum, Avery Brundage Collection, B60B212. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

8.12.20

Virtual Event: Chasing Demons with Dr. Yuki Morishima

Join Associate Curator of Japanese Art Dr. Yuki Morishima for a discussion on Japanese art, mythology, and the present moment. Learn about how characters in Asian folklore ward off evil, especially Zhong Kui (Shoki), the demon killer.

Image: Shoki and oni, 1700–1800, by Yoshinaga Bokushosai (Japanese). Edo period (1615–1868). Netsuke; ivory and horn. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B70Y321. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

8.6.20

Wishes for Longevity

Join us for this week’s ArtiFact featuring Curatorial Assistant of Korean Art Shinhwa Koo as she shares with us wishes for longevity symbols found throughout Korean artworks in our collection.

Image: Wishes for Longevity. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

7.30.20

Why the Rat Comes First

Have you always wondered why the rat comes first on the Chinese calendar? Storyteller Fred Sheng shares with us the origin of the Chinese calendar as depicted in the great race of 12 animals crossing a river.

Image: Why the Rat Comes First. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2015.

7.28.20

Virtual Event: Curating an Exhibition - Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture

Associate Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han shares behind-the-scene stories about the genesis of the exhibition Likeness and Legacy in Korean Portraiture, which draws on new research about eight Joseon-dynasty portraits of meritorious officials in the Asian Art Museum collection.

Image: Draft portrait of Yi Suryang, 1751. Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Gift of Arthur J. McTaggart, 1992.203.a. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

7.23.20

Enchanted Forest

You are invited on an expedition through an enchanted forest with Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill. Discover the landscapes of ancient Thailand as revealed in illustrated manuscripts. Let’s take this virtual journey.

Image: Enchanted Forest: An ArtiFact from the Asian Art Museum. Video produced by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

7.21.20

Armchair Journey: Dunhuang and the Mogao Caves

Join Deputy Director, Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz for an adventurous virtual trip to the city of Dunhuang, Gansu Province, China. An oasis at the edge of the Gobi Desert, Dunhuang was a critical transit point along one of the ancient silk routes. Explore the famous Mogao grottoes near the city, a series of elaborately decorated caves hewn from the desert cliffs.

Image: Photograph courtesy of Robert Mintz.

7.17.20

Be Our Guest

We invite you into our teahouse with Japan Foundation Curatorial Assistant for Japanese Art Maya Hara to view this 17th-century calligraphy work by Isshi Bunshu. When hosting guests for tea, calligraphy in the tearoom is meant to set the tone of the gathering. Learn more about the context of its use in the tearoom and its contents.

Image: Be our guest! (detail), 2020, by Maya Hara, Japan Foundation Curatorial Assistant. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

7.15.20

Virtual Event: In Conversation - Museums, Tech, and the New Norm

Director, Chairman’s Office, Christie’s Asia, Elaine Kwok moderates a discussion exploring the opportunities and challenges of technological development for museums, including how technology has evolved viewership of museum collections and shifted access during the COVID-19 pandemic. Featured panelists include Abby Chen, Head of Contemporary Art and Senior Associate Curator, Asian Art Museum of San Francisco; Doryun Chong, Deputy Director and Chief Curator, M+ of Hong Kong; and Victor Wang, Artistic Director and Chief Curator, M WOODS of Beijing.

Image: Crows are Chased and the Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as well, Transcending Space, 2017, by teamLab (est. 2001). Sound by Hideaki Takahashi. Interactive digital installation, 4:20 min. © teamLab, courtesy of Pace Gallery.

7.10.20

The Legacy of Jade: Beauty, Endurance, Virtue, and Protection

Explore the legacy of jade with Barbara and Gerson Bakar Curator of Chinese Art Fan J. Zhang as he describes several pieces represented in our permanent collection.

Image: The Legacy of Jade: Beauty, Endurance, Virtue, and Protection (detail), 2020, by Fan J. Zhang, Barbara and Gerson Bakar Curator of Chinese Art. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

7.3.20

Virtual Event: Sneak Peek of We Are Here

Join Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen for a live discussion with artists Chanel Miller, Jas Charanjiva, and Jeniffer K Wofford about the artwork included in We Are Here, their practices, and their future ambitions.

Image: Rendering of the Asian Art Museum’s Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion and East West Bank Art Terrace. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.

7.2.20

Classical Gardens of Suzhou

Take a video journey to the classical gardens of Suzhou, the most perfect expressions of Chinese garden design.

Image: Classical Gardens of Suzhou (detail), 2002, filmed by Brian Hogarth. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

6.30.20

Armchair Journey: Time Travel in Japan

Welcome to the second in a series of Armchair Journeys, created exclusively for members. During this voyage, Chief Curator and Curator of Japanese Art Dr. Laura Allen guides you through Japan following a route from Tokyo to Nara, then to Teshima, an island in the Inland Sea. Using a bit of time travel, we will encounter a variety of spiritual spaces and rituals that have the power to promote healing.

Image: The deity Brahma (Bonten), approx. 730–750. Japan; Nara, Nara period (710–794). Hollow dry lacquer. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B65S13. Photographs © Asian Art Museum.

6.10.20

Virtual Event: Director’s Showcase

Join Barbara Bass Baker Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu for a virtual showcase discussing contemporary art at the Asian Art Museum. The program features artist Zheng Chongbin for a sneak peak of his upcoming exhibition Zheng Chongbin: I Look for the Sky.

Image: Rendering of I Look for the Sky, 2019, by Zheng Chongbin. Digital image. © Zheng Chongbin

5.22.20

Virtual Library from Korea's Joseon Dynasty

Join us for a discussion about the artwork Books and scholars’ possessions (Chaekgeori) painted by Yi Eungrok. Associate Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han dives into the symbolic details found in this still-life painting.

Image: Books and scholars’ possessions (chaekgeori), approx. 1860–1874, by Yi Eungrok (Korean, 1808–after 1874). Ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, Acquisition made possible by the Koret Foundation, the Connoisseurs’ Council and Korean Art and Culture Committee. Re-mounting funded by the Society for Asian Art, 1998.111. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

5.15.20

Batik Masks

Why do many people recommend batik cloth for their handmade masks? Find out in this short ArtiFact video from Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Natasha Reichle.

Image: Lower garment, approx. 1910. Indonesia; Pekalongen, Java. Batik; cotton. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Joan and M. Glenn Vinson Jr., 2018.81. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

5.13.20

Virtual Event: A Talk by Dr. Jeffrey Durham on The ‘Medicine Buddha’

Join Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham for a conversation about one of the most important figures in Buddhist thought, the Medicine Buddha. The Buddha always claimed to be a doctor for the mental diseases of anxiety and depression (dukkha) — the Medicine Buddha is how he manifests as a physician, curing maladies both mental and physical. By seeing the image of the Medicine Buddha and reciting his formula, meditators believe they can unlock his healing powers. This virtual talk is guaranteed to lift you out of the everyday.

Image: The Medicine Buddha Bhaishajya-guru, approx. 1400. Tibet. Colors on cotton. Private collection, HAR 19825.

5.6.20

Fighting Disease with Art

Can art be used to fight disease? In this short video, Chief Curator and Curator of Japanese Art Dr. Laura Allen walks us through several Japanese artworks that warned viewers about smallpox and other diseases, showing how images can be used as sources of protection, information, and healing.

Image: Abe Seimei performing an exorcism, from Legend of the crying Fudo (detail), 1333-1392. Japan, Nanbokucho period. Ink and colors on paper. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B65D46. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

5.4.20

Virtual Event: Fireside Chat with Dr. Jay Xu

Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu leads a virtual tour of the galleries highlighting the museum’s masterpieces and future contemporary installations, then discusses the impact of COVID-19 and plans to move forward.

Image: Bundles of firewood, approx. 1890–1925, by Morita Soko (Japanese, 1879–1935). Netsuke; wood. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B70Y169. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

5.1.20

Pillow Talk

Do you ever wonder how the emperors of ancient China keep their hair looking so good? Join us for a discussion about the hairstyles and pillows of ancient China with Curatorial Assistant Joanna Lee and research presented by Associate Curator of Chinese Art Li He.

Image: Pillow in the form of a boy and a lotus leaf, approx. 1050-1127. China, Northern Song period (960-1127). Porcelain with white glaze. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1351. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

4.17.20

Dance Like No One Is Watching

In this week’s installment of exclusive member content, experience eclectic art and dance to stimulate your mind and activate your soul. Join Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Forrest McGill to learn more about these artworks and how they relate to dance.

Image: The Boy Krishna holding a stolen butterball and dancing, perhaps 1600-1700. Southern India. Bronze. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60B192.

4.15.20

A Special Message from Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu

Staying connected in times of stress keeps us healthy, helps us heal, and lets us grow — together. The Asian Art Museum is launching special programming for members so you can stay engaged with the world and inspired in your life at home. See below a special message from Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO Dr. Jay Xu for a schedule of the first live events in this series and stay tuned for more.

4.10.20

Molly Kitamura's Ram Don Recipe

Satisfy your appetite for arts and culture. As a valued member, we are excited to bring you the first installment of our weekly members-only content. Author Molly Kitamura from her book Knives and Needles shares with us her signature Ram Don dish you can make at home. We look forward to cooking with you!

Image: Author Molly Kitamura’s Ram Don from her book Knives and Needles. Photograph © Molly Kitamura.

PLAY

November 2020

11.24.20

Virtual Event: Demons, Creatures, and Monsters, Oh My!

Mythical creatures, legendary beasts, terrifying monsters — they are supernatural, mystical, often god-like or demon-like beings, and they have fascinated us since ancient times. Even today, they continue to thrill, terrify, entertain, and inspire. And they may even be able to protect us from viruses. Learn more about these beings who populate stories, songs, and works of art in this virtual lecture given by one of our docents.

Image: Virtual Lecture Series – Demons, Creatures, and Monsters, Oh My!, online program at the Asian Art Museum, November 10, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

11.20.20

Fall 2020 Members Magazine

Our Fall 2020 members magazine is in! Read the latest updates we have about the museum and enjoy enriching articles about our current exhibitions.

11.20.20

Flattened Yet Useful

Learn more about this common household item found in Korea with the Korean Foundation Fellow Yaerim Hyun as she describes the flattened yet useful bottles from Korea.


Image: Flask with peony design, 1400-1500. Korea. Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Stoneware with incised and sgraffito slip decoration under clear glaze. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Kyong Brotherton in honor of her husband, Joseph Brotherton, 2016.118. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.19.20

Armchair Journey: To Siam and Angkor in 1860

Angkor, Ayutthaya, and Bangkok are already checked off many people’s bucket lists these days, but they were seldom visited by foreigners in the mid-19th century. Join Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill for this journey guided by Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist and explorer whose writings introduced these great historic capitals to wide European and American audiences. Mouhot shows sympathetic interest in what he saw but also reflects the attitudes of the colonial period.


Image: The deities Skanda and Kubera, rubbing of a twelfth-century relief at Angkor Wat, approx. 1960–1975. Cambodia. Ink on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous friend of the Asian Art Museum, F2017.13. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

11.16.20

Virtual Event: Artist Conversation with Pinaree Sanpitak

To celebrate Sanpitak’s upcoming installation, the Asian Art Museum has partnered with 100 Tonson Foundation in Bangkok to host a conversation with Pinaree Sanpitak and Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, assistant curator of American art at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The talk will be moderated by Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen.


Image: Breast Stupa Topiary, 2013/2019, by Pinaree Sanpitak (Thai, b. 1961). Stainless steel. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Museum purchase, 2019.7, .10, and .11. Photograph courtesy of Yavuz Gallery Singapore.

11.13.20

The Goddess Lakshmi and the Festival of Diwali

Learn more about the relationship between the goddess Lakshmi and Diwali as told by Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill.


Image: The Goddess Lakshmi and the Festival of Diwali. Video produced by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.10.20

Virtual Event: Curator's Choice Lecture - From Sacred to Secular: Seeing the Everyday at Borobudur

The Indonesian monument of Borobudur is one of the largest and most complex Buddhist monuments in Asia. Join Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Dr. Natasha Reichle for a lecture that turns away from the religious significance of Borobudur to examine what the monument’s hundreds of narratives reliefs tell us about the lives of ordinary people in ninth-century Java.


Image: Panel at the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Java, Indonesia (detail). Photo courtesy of Dr. Natasha Reichle.

11.6.20

Retreat through Social Distance

Learn more about self elected social distancing in Chinese literary culture through one of our collection pieces as described by Curatorial Assistant for Chinese Art Joanna Lee.


Image: Retreat through Social Distancing Artifact. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.3.20

Virtual Event: Artist Conversation with Tsherin Sherpa

In this talk led by Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham, Sherpa explores the transformative power of Himalayan art, connecting our present moment to the long tradition of visionary creations in which he works. Our historical moment demands great flexibility, and Sherpa reveals how Himalayan art can help us navigate challenges and opportunities with humor and intelligence.


Image: Vajrayogini, 2020, by Tsherin Sherpa (Nepalese, b. 1968). Colors and gold on paper. Private collection. Bepar (Hop) (still), 2019, by Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh. © Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh.

9.16.20

Armchair Journey: Art, Architecture, and History of Wuhan

On this Armchair Journey with Barbara and Gerson Bakar Curator of Chinese Art Dr. Fan Zhang, you will explore Wuhan, a Chinese megacity that became world famous as the place where COVID-19 was originally identified. Soon after this city returns to its normal rhythm, you can experience its art, architecture, and history by walking along the colonial-style streets, visiting the birthplace of the Republic of China, and touring museums of ancient and contemporary artworks. The nearby Daoist Mount Wudang and the Three Gorges of the Yangzi River will also make your trip to Wuhan memorable.

Image: Lidded Jar with Design of a Lotus Pond. China; Jingdezhen, Jiangxi province, Ming Dynasty (1368–1644), Reign of the Jiajing emperor (1522–1566). Porcelain with underglaze cobalt and overglaze multicolor decoration. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P78+. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

10.23.20

Armchair Journey: A Visit to Ho Chi Minh City

Deputy Director, Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz reflects on his short visit to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, in this Armchair Journey. He introduces us to Vietnamese American artists who had immigrated to the United States as children but have now elected to make this growing megacity their home. Join us to learn about their work, which addresses the history of war, the beauty of Vietnam and its people, and the promise of a bright, dynamic future.

Image: Antique Dragon Spacecraft, 2016, by The Propeller Group (est. 2006). Jackfruit wood and antique jackfruit wood column. Asian Art Museum, Acquisition made possible by Jerome L. Dodson and Thao Nguyen Dodson, 2016.173.a-.i. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

November 2020

11.24.20

Virtual Event: Demons, Creatures, and Monsters, Oh My!

Mythical creatures, legendary beasts, terrifying monsters — they are supernatural, mystical, often god-like or demon-like beings, and they have fascinated us since ancient times. Even today, they continue to thrill, terrify, entertain, and inspire. And they may even be able to protect us from viruses. Learn more about these beings who populate stories, songs, and works of art in this virtual lecture given by one of our docents.

Image: Virtual Lecture Series – Demons, Creatures, and Monsters, Oh My!, online program at the Asian Art Museum, November 10, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

11.20.20

Fall 2020 Members Magazine

Our Fall 2020 members magazine is in! Read the latest updates we have about the museum and enjoy enriching articles about our current exhibitions.

11.20.20

Flattened Yet Useful

Learn more about this common household item found in Korea with the Korean Foundation Fellow Yaerim Hyun as she describes the flattened yet useful bottles from Korea.


Image: Flask with peony design, 1400-1500. Korea. Joseon dynasty (1392-1910). Stoneware with incised and sgraffito slip decoration under clear glaze. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Ms. Kyong Brotherton in honor of her husband, Joseph Brotherton, 2016.118. Photograph © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.19.20

Armchair Journey: To Siam and Angkor in 1860

Angkor, Ayutthaya, and Bangkok are already checked off many people’s bucket lists these days, but they were seldom visited by foreigners in the mid-19th century. Join Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill for this journey guided by Henri Mouhot, a French naturalist and explorer whose writings introduced these great historic capitals to wide European and American audiences. Mouhot shows sympathetic interest in what he saw but also reflects the attitudes of the colonial period.


Image: The deities Skanda and Kubera, rubbing of a twelfth-century relief at Angkor Wat, approx. 1960–1975. Cambodia. Ink on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of an anonymous friend of the Asian Art Museum, F2017.13. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

11.16.20

Virtual Event: Artist Conversation with Pinaree Sanpitak

To celebrate Sanpitak’s upcoming installation, the Asian Art Museum has partnered with 100 Tonson Foundation in Bangkok to host a conversation with Pinaree Sanpitak and Aleesa Pitchamarn Alexander, assistant curator of American art at the Cantor Arts Center at Stanford University. The talk will be moderated by Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen.


Image: Breast Stupa Topiary, 2013/2019, by Pinaree Sanpitak (Thai, b. 1961). Stainless steel. Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, Museum purchase, 2019.7, .10, and .11. Photograph courtesy of Yavuz Gallery Singapore.

11.13.20

The Goddess Lakshmi and the Festival of Diwali

Learn more about the relationship between the goddess Lakshmi and Diwali as told by Wattis Senior Curator of South and Southeast Asian Art Dr. Forrest McGill.


Image: The Goddess Lakshmi and the Festival of Diwali. Video produced by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.10.20

Virtual Event: Curator's Choice Lecture - From Sacred to Secular: Seeing the Everyday at Borobudur

The Indonesian monument of Borobudur is one of the largest and most complex Buddhist monuments in Asia. Join Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Dr. Natasha Reichle for a lecture that turns away from the religious significance of Borobudur to examine what the monument’s hundreds of narratives reliefs tell us about the lives of ordinary people in ninth-century Java.


Image: Panel at the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Java, Indonesia (detail). Photo courtesy of Dr. Natasha Reichle.

11.6.20

Retreat through Social Distance

Learn more about self elected social distancing in Chinese literary culture through one of our collection pieces as described by Curatorial Assistant for Chinese Art Joanna Lee.


Image: Retreat through Social Distancing Artifact. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2020.

11.3.20

Virtual Event: Artist Conversation with Tsherin Sherpa

In this talk led by Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham, Sherpa explores the transformative power of Himalayan art, connecting our present moment to the long tradition of visionary creations in which he works. Our historical moment demands great flexibility, and Sherpa reveals how Himalayan art can help us navigate challenges and opportunities with humor and intelligence.


Image: Vajrayogini, 2020, by Tsherin Sherpa (Nepalese, b. 1968). Colors and gold on paper. Private collection. Bepar (Hop) (still), 2019, by Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh. © Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh.

11.10.20

Virtual Event: Curator's Choice Lecture - From Sacred to Secular: Seeing the Everyday at Borobudur

The Indonesian monument of Borobudur is one of the largest and most complex Buddhist monuments in Asia. Join Associate Curator of Southeast Asian Art Dr. Natasha Reichle for a lecture that turns away from the religious significance of Borobudur to examine what the monument’s hundreds of narratives reliefs tell us about the lives of ordinary people in ninth-century Java.

Image: Panel at the Buddhist temple of Borobudur, Java, Indonesia (detail). Photo courtesy of Dr. Natasha Reichle.

10.20.20

Virtual Event: Curating an Exhibition - After Hope

Join us in a conversation between Viv Liu, Asian Art Museum research assistant for contemporary art, and guest curator Dr. Padma D. Maitland, assistant professor of architectural history and theory at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo Dr. Padma D. Maitland for a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming exhibition, After Hope: Videos of Resistance.
Image: Bepar (Hop) (video still), 2019, by Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh. © Gazelle Samizay and Labkhand Olfamanesh.

December 2020

12.16.20

Armchair Journey: Travel Through Time and Space to Yongbyon

Associate Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han guides us on an Armchair Journey to Yongbyon, a city in today’s North Korea. We will travel across time and space through the painting A Gathering of Military Officials, visiting a city that has been mostly inaccessible since the Korean War (1950–1953).

Image: A gathering of military-officials (detail), after 1576. Korea, Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. Asian Art Museum, Acquisition made possible by Koret Foundation Funds, with additional funding from the Connoisseurs’ Council, and the Moon Art Foundation, 2005.74. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

12.15.2020

Virtual Event: Conversation with Japanese Bamboo Artist Tomo Uesugi

An exclusive event featuring Japanese bamboo artist Tomo Uesugi in conversation with Japan Foundation Curatorial Assistant for Japanese Art Maya Hara. Uesugi guides us through her home studio situated in the vast farmlands of Toyama prefecture, Japan and shares her innovative works made of natural dyed bamboo. Uesugi studied under Chikuunsai IV and is one of 12 bamboo artists who received the Mingei Bamboo Prize. Her work is currently on exhibit at the Musee Guimet in Paris.

Image: Conversation with Japanese Bamboo Artist Tomo Uesugi, online program at the Asian Art Museum, December 1, 2020. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

12.2.2020

Virtual Event: Deputy Director's Lecture - The Timeless Beauty of Brevity

This conversation with Deputy Director, Art & Programs Dr. Robert Mintz and Hua Zhou of Christie’s Japanese and Korean Art Department will explore our very human fascination with brevity in art. From medieval haiku to the contemporary artwork of Kishio Suga, our speakers will look at a few of the ways artists have focused and distilled their expressions into as few as 140 characters.

Image: Tea-grinding stone mill (detail), approx. 1740–1768, by Hakuin Ekaku (Japanese, 1685–1768). Hanging scroll; ink on paper. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Jeanne G. O’Brien in memory of James E. O’Brien, 1993.34. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

February 2021

2.18.2021

From Attraction to Altruism: Love in Himalayan Buddhist Art

Join us for this ArtiFact presented by Associate Curator of Himalayan Art Dr. Jeffrey Durham as he describes the symbolic love representations in our collection pieces from empathy and kindness to joys of sexuality and meditation.

Image: The Buddhist deity Guhyasamaja, 1400-1500. China; Beijing. Ming dynasty (1368-1644). Bronze with gilding. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B64B23. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

2.17.2021

Virtual Event: Lunar New Year with Chef Martin Yan

Celebrate the Year of the Ox with fellow Asian Art Museum member and esteemed chef Martin Yan. In a live cooking demonstration, follow along as Yan creates three of his favorite Lunar New Year dishes — Curried Chicken in Lettuce Cups, Lotus Gold Coins, and Little Dragon over a Cloud (Seafood Custard). You can download the recipes with ingredients and instructions for the three special dishes.

Image: Lunar New Year with Chef Martin Yan, online program at the Asian Art Museum, February 3, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

2.11.2021

Year of the Ox

Watch the newest ArtiFact video to see various Chinese artworks that feature oxen and buffalo presented by Curatorial Assistant of Chinese Art, Joanna Lee.

Image: Ox, 561-618. China; Central Plains. Earthenware with painted decoration. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P1216

2.9.2021

Virtual Event: Lunar New Year

Lanterns and couplets. Dragons and oranges. Red envelopes and housecleaning. Feb. 12, 2021, on the Gregorian calendar marks the beginning of the year of the Metal Ox, year 4719 on the Chinese calendar. In this virtual lecture by one of our museum docents, you will learn about the fascinating and colorful traditions and symbols that enrich the celebration of the Lunar New Year throughout Asia.

Image: Ox, China; Central Plains. Tang dynasty (618-907). Glazed low-fired ceramic. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60P310. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.

2.9.2021

Virtual Event: Studio Encounter with Wu Chi-Tsung

In conversation with Senior Associate Curator and Head of Contemporary Art Abby Chen, contemporary artist Wu Chi-Tsung gives us a virtual tour of his Taipei studio, an introduction to his past and current projects, and an exclusive demonstration of his innovative process creating the well-known “Cyano-Collage series”.

Image: Studio Encounter with Wu Chi-Tsung, online program at the Asian Art Museum, January 26, 2021. Video still © Asian Art Museum.

January 2021

1.26.21

Virtual Event: The Silk Road

A virtual journey along the ancient trade routes that transmitted goods, technologies, and ideas across the Asian continent, from the Mediterranean to the Pacific. What did this trade look like? Who was involved? How did trade occur? Where did the routes take merchants, soldiers, and pilgrims? By examining objects in the museum collection, we will gain a better understanding and appreciation of the innovation, technologies, and physical objects battled for and bartered over thousands of years ago along the Silk Road.

1.22.2021

Virtual Event: 76 Days – A Vital Look into the Covid-19 Lockdown in Wuhan

“76 Days” is a raw and intimate documentary set in the early days of the COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China. Filmed deep inside the frontlines of the crisis in four hospitals, this award-winning film captures the struggles — and resilience — of patients and health care workers battling the pandemic during the city’s 76-day lockdown.  

Image: “76 Days”: A Vital Look Into the COVID-19 Lockdown in Wuhan. Video produced by Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, 2021.

October 2021

11.07.2021

Virtual Event: Virtual Lecture Series Demons, Creatures, and Monsters — Oh My!

Mythical creatures, legendary beasts, terrifying monsters — they are supernatural, mystical, often god-like or demon-like beings, and they have fascinated us since ancient times. Even today, they continue to thrill, terrify, entertain, and inspire. And they may even be able to protect us from viruses. Learn more about these beings who populate stories, songs, and works of art.

Image: Gunungan or kayon, approx. 1970. Indonesia; Java. Painted and cut leather. Asian Art Museum, From The Mimi and John Herbert Collection, F2000.86.127. Photograph © Asian Art Museum.