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Special Exhibitions

Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts
Feb 26–May 8

In a journey spanning the 16th through 18th centuries, Pearls on a String takes viewers to the cosmopolitan Islamic world to answer the question “Who’s behind the art?” Meet the writer, painter and patron who fueled creativity in India, Iran and Turkey — through the artworks that they created and inspired.

Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art
Mar 4–May 8
#HiddenGold #AAM50

Gold. It evokes power, wealth and, above all, immortality. It also signifies a 50th anniversary — a milestone the Asian Art Museum reaches in 2016. To celebrate, we’re presenting Hidden Gold, an exploration of the enduring fascination with gold and the many ways it’s been used in art across Asia.

China at the Center: Rare Ricci and Verbiest World Maps
Mar 4–May 8

Travel back 400 years to an era when the globe was being mapped and its marvels discovered. Through two rare maps — collaborations between Jesuit priests and Chinese scholars — explore what 17th-century cartographers knew of the world and what they imagined (mermaids, giants and unicorns). These maps transport us to a time of exploration, collaboration and wonder.

Programs and Events

After the War Blues: The Racialization of Japanese Americans
Sat, Feb 6, 2–3:30 PM
FREE with museum admission

Get the inside scoop behind playwright Philip Kan Gotanda’s groundbreaking body of work, including his play After the War Blues, which explores a diverse community in San Francisco’s Japantown in the aftermath of World War II. The program features a conversation between Gotanda and professor Michael Omi. Local actors and musicians will perform scenes from Gotanda’s plays. Bring your burning questions — an audience Q&A will follow. Share on Facebook.

Extracted Unearthed with Ranu Mukherjee
Sat, Feb 13, 2–3 PM
FREE with museum admission

Artist Ranu Mukherjee will unpack the ideas and research that inform her exhibition, Extracted, currently on view. In a wide-ranging conversation with Marc Mayer, senior educator of contemporary art, she will discuss her inspirations: the California Gold Rush, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, Chinese mythology, speculative fiction and speculative economies. Mukherjee will also offer insight into the exhibition’s evolution, including new material added on Jan. 26, as well as what’s in store for the third and final iteration, opening May 3. Share on Facebook.

The Language of Colors: A Discussion of Guru Nanak’s Janamsakhi Life Stories
Sat, Feb 20, 1–4 PM
FREE with museum admission

Discover the legacy of Guru Nanak, the first Sikh guru, through the museum’s collection of Janamsakhi paintings. The program features guest speakers Dr. Nikky-Guninder Kaur Singh of Colby College; Kamla Kapur, author of The Singing Guru: Legends and Adventures of Guru Nanak, the First Sikh; and docent Shivi Legha. Artist Rupy C. Tut will demonstrate traditional miniature painting, and Qamar Adamjee, associate curator of South Asian and Islamic art, will introduce paintings on display in our collection galleries. This program is co-sponsored by The Sikh Foundation. Share on Facebook.

COMING SOON: Solid Gold 50th Anniversary Party
Thurs, Mar 3, 7–11 PM
$20 General | FREE for Members

In honor of our 50th birthday, we’re channeling the camp-tastic 80s TV hit “Solid Gold” with an epic party. Dancers decked out in gold will thrill you with one-night-only choreography — dress up in golden attire and be ready to show off your own moves. Where else but the Asian Art Museum could you light up the dance floor while surrounded by 6,000 years of art and three very special exhibitions? And yes, the galleries will be open. Featuring Disco Energi, Non Stop Bhangra, Mix’d Ingrdnts, Jay Loyola Dance and more. Music by Proof (aka Marky Enriquez).

COMING SOON: 50th Anniversary Community Weekend
Presented by Target ®

Mar 5 & 6, 10 AM–5 PM
FREE admission all weekend

Since its founding in 1966, the Asian Art Museum has evolved into one of the world’s greatest museums devoted to Asian art. For our golden anniversary, we're inviting you to celebrate with us all weekend — for free. With captivating art, thrilling live performances, local artist demonstrations and more, this is an extravaganza you won’t want to miss. Plus, don't forget our epic collection galleries — where the magic all started! Take your time and stroll two floors of incredible artworks spanning 6,000 years and a vast continent.

For Members

Limited Time Only! Solid Gold VIP Membership Party Package
Thurs, Mar 3, 7–11 PM

Why spend $40 on tickets for one night when you can spend $100 and enjoy perks for an entire year? When you buy the Solid Gold VIP Membership Package, you’ll get two Solid Gold tickets ($40 value), Member Premium membership ($179 value), a limited-edition tote bag by artist Julie Chang and access to 800 museums around the country.

Museum Store

Hand-Painted Persian Miniature Paintings
Coming Soon

Celebrate the opening of Pearls on a String with miniature paintings from the studio of Hossein Fallahi. Every painting, box and perfume bottle has been painted using traditional techniques handed down through the centuries. See intricately painted scenes like Isfahan’s famous plaza, musicians and dreamy lovers. Available for purchase upon the opening of Pearls on a String, Feb 26. 

Retail Prices: $75.00 - $230.00
Members' Prices: $67.50 - 207.00

Our Recommendations

teamLab: Living Digital Space and Future Parks
Feb 6–Jul 1
Pace Art + Technology

If you loved teamLab's digital work in First Look, you won't want to miss the inaugural Pace Art + Technology's large-scale exhibition Living Digital Space and Future Parks, which spans 20,000 square feet and showcases 20 digital works by teamLab, several of which will enjoy their international debut. Immerse yourself in a breathtaking, multi-room digital landscape created by ultra-technologists at play. Buy tickets

Zero to 50+ Timeline
Now on View

Take a walk through history. A 50th anniversary timeline installation on the museum’s first floor lets you trace the history of the museum along with major events in San Francisco and beyond. Featuring photographs and video displays, the installation shows the linked history of the museum and its home city. You can also visit our complementary online timeline which includes an array of memories (from celebrity sightings to first dates) shared by visitors, fans and staff. Add your memory to the mix by clicking "Share My Memory" at the top of the timeline page.


Asian Art Museum
Chong-Moon Lee Center
for Asian Art & Culture
200 Larkin Street
SF, CA  94102

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Hidden Gold: Mining Its Meaning in Asian Art is organized by the Asian Art Museum. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Bonhams and Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation. Pearls on a String: Artists, Patrons, and Poets at the Great Islamic Courts is organized by the Walters Art Museum, Baltimore, in partnership with the Asian Art Museum. This exhibition has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor; a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services; an award from the National Endowment for the Arts; and by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Art and the Humanities. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of Anne and Timothy Kahn, and Judy Wilbur. China at the Center: Rare Ricci and Verbiest World Maps is organized by the Asian Art Museum in partnership with the University of San Francisco. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of James Ford Bell Trust, Penelope L. Wong and S. Timothy Kochis, and Maura and Robert Morey. EXTRACTED: A Trilogy by Ranu Mukerjee was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Exhibitions are generously supported by The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations. Free general admission on 50th Anniversary Community Weekend is made possible by Target.

Portrait of Mahmud I (detail), from A Series of Portraits of the Emperors of Turkey, 1815, engraved by John Young (English, 1755–1825). Mezzotint. National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, D.C., gift of Mr. Ferdinand Lammot Belin, N7614.T9 Y6. Photograph courtesy National Gallery of Art Library, Washington, D.C. Table screen depicting the Taoist deity Doumu and her entourage, approx. 1500–1700. China. Gilded bronze. Asian Art Museum, Gift of Frances Campbell and the Society for Asian Art, 1991.83. Photograph © Asian Art Museum. A Complete Map of the World (detail), 1674, by Ferdinand Verbiest (Flemish, 1623–1688). China; Beijing. Eight-panel woodblock print; ink on paper. Geography and Map Division, Library of Congress, Washington D.C., G3200 1674.V4. Still from Elixir (detail), 2016, by Ranu Mukherjee (American, b.1966). Single-channel video. Courtesy of the Artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. © Ranu Mukherjee. Crystal Universe (detail), 2015, by teamLab. Interactive digital installation. Courtesy of the artist and Pace Gallery. © teamLab.

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