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Special Exhibitions

Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
Through Jan 18

Few discoveries in recent years have so radically transformed our understanding of the region as the objects in Roads of Arabia. Mysterious stone slabs, monumental human statues, imported blown glass, and intricate gilded doors of the Ka'ba (Islam's holiest sanctuary) testify to Arabia's role as a cultural crossroads over thousands of years. Come see what remarkable discoveries you'll dig up.

Tetsuya Ishida: Saving the World with a Brushstroke
Through Feb 22

A melancholy face appears in a baby's stroller, a toddler in overalls guiding it through the grass. Later, the same dreamlike, melancholy face emerges from a factory building. Then a backhoe. This is the world of Tetsuya Ishida. Saving the World with a Brushstroke is Ishida's first U.S. exhibition and it's currently on view in our Tateuchi Thematic Gallery on the second floor.

From Two Arises Three: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney
Through Mar 1

Ever wonder what would happen if contemporary photography and traditional Chinese ink painting came together? The result is this beautiful, quiet show nestled in our Chinese paintings gallery.

Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection
Through Apr 5, 2015

From cracked surfaces to smooth-as-glass brilliant colors, these sculptural works display how 20 artists are pushing the boundaries of clay.

Our Rhino Needs a Nickname (And We Need You)
Contest Ends Dec 31

Rhino Ritchie. Double Dutch. Bread Bowl. Flossy. Mudpie. Bao Bao. Suma. These are some of the stellar entries that have come in so far for our Rhino Nickname Contest, but have we heard from ALL of you? Don't forget to submit your idea by Dec 31. The prizes are great (a Rhino Club membership, stuffed plush rhino, gift card to the store), but the real prize is the opportunity to have a lasting impact on a popular and important artwork

Programs and Events

Perspectives on Persian Art:
The Traveler's Gift: Italian Red Velvet and Other European Luxuries in 17th-Century Persia with Dr. Amy Landau

Sat, Dec 6,1–2:30 pm
FREE with admission

If one had the money, one could acquire an ever-increasing quantity and variety of European goods and luxury wares in 17th-century Isfahan. How were these European imports worn and displayed? What did they signify in the increasingly cosmopolitan city of Isfahan, a city referred to as "half the world" by its inhabitants? Dr. Amy Landau will delve into these questions and more in this final installment of the Perspectives on Persian Art lecture series.

Travelogue with Michael Wolfe
Sat, Dec 13, 1–2:30 pm
FREE with admission

Poet, author and filmmaker Michael Wolfe shares personal stories from his journeys to the Arabian Peninsula. A critically acclaimed filmmaker, Wolfe hosted an inside account of the hajj (pilgrimage) for Ted Koppel's Nightline on ABC during Wolfe's pilgrimage to Mecca in 1997.

The Artist Sessions Presents
Crossroads: Music of Pilgrimage and Transformation
A Dream on a Train to Marrakesh

Sun, Dec 14, 2–4 pm
$10 members, $25 general (includes admission)

A mini-festival produced in conjunction with Roads of Arabia, Crossroads features traditional music of the Arabian Peninsula as well as classical and contemporary sounds inspired by pilgrimage, cultural exchange, exploration and migration.

Ancient Future (featuring Georges Lammam) and the Musical Art Quintet blend the rhythms and harmonies of the Arabian Peninsula with contemporary jazz and rock, producing an irresistible and exhilarating sound fusion. These multifaceted artists create an innovative musical experience that guides listeners on a hypnotic voyage through time and place.

Family Fun Days and Holiday Art Activities
Multiple dates and times
FREE with admission

We invite parents and children to explore Asian art and culture together. Our family-friendly offerings are a total blast for all ages--especially when paired with our new Rhino Club membership.

Each first and third Sunday are Family Fun Days: explore art and ideas through immersive storytelling, fun gallery activities, creative art making and more. BONUS: The first Sunday of every month is Target First Free Sunday and won't cost you a dime in admission fees.

Get inspired by Roads of Arabia and the museum collection, and create your own masterpiece at our holiday art activity sessions. Until Jan 4, 2015, join us in North Court from noon through 4 pm and see what you can make.

The 29th Japanese New Year's Bell-Ringing Ceremony
Wed, Dec 31, 11:30 am
FREE with admission

It's almost time to say goodbye to 2014, and there's no better way to do it than by striking a giant 16th-century temple bell from Japan. Round up your favorite folks and take a swing at an actual art object from our collection. According to Buddhist belief, each ring of the bell wipes the slate clean of bad experiences, wrong doings, and ill luck. In other words, this is how you wipe the slate clean for 2015. Led by Rev. Gengo Akiba with opening remarks by Yoshie Akiba (founder and namesake of Yoshi's Jazz Club), the event includes a purification ritual and chanting of the Buddhist Heart Sutra. Bask in the positive and peaceful vibes, and stick around for art activities. In order to participate, you'll have to get your numbered ticket at the admission desk upon arrival. Pssst...dear members, your bell-ringing is at 9:30 am. 

For Members

Tues, Dec 2, All Day

Show us some extra love on Tues, Dec 2 for #GivingTuesday! We encourage all of our friends to take part in this global movement of giving back with a gift of any size to help support your favorite museum programs.

Through your contributions, we can continue to awaken the past and inspire the next generation. Please remember to donate on Giving Tuesday and know that every bit counts.

Gift Memberships

Give the gift that keeps on giving–an Asian Art Museum membership. Your special gift recipient will receive a year of unlimited free admission, exhibition previews, store discounts, party invites, and much more. Need more gift ideas? Stop by the museum store and use your member discount for 10% off your purchases.

Members Welcome Roads of Arabia

Thank you for celebrating with us at our Roads of Arabia opening reception. Take a peek into the festive evening of engaging docent-led tours, delicious bites and a special introduction by curator Dany Chan. Come back soon for a closer look at Roads. We have FREE audio guides (originally $4) just for you.

Museum Store

'Tis the Season for Heartfelt Holiday Gifts–Now with Online Shopping

Are you seeking one-of-a-kind gifts for the loved ones in your life? The store is filled with wonderful wares as diverse as their price tags, for every age and every interest. Retail therapy and fruitful gifting, all in an artful environment...it's how shopping should be. No time? No worries! Go online at store.asianart.org and start crossing names off that list. Purchases help support the museum's exhibitions and programming, so your dollars are contributing to a good cause.

This month, we're highlighting flavors from the Arabian Peninsula. Olive oil, za’atar (spice blend), tapenade, maftoul (hand-rolled couscous), sundried tomato spread and coffee make for perfect gifts. We've also got a large selection of cookbooks. Remember, you don't have to pay admission to visit the store, and members receive 10% off.


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

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Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution in association with the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. ExxonMobil and Saudi Aramco are gratefully acknowledged as principal co-sponsors of the tour of Roads of Arabia in the United States. Sponsorship is also provided by The Olayan Group and Fluor Corporation. The Boeing Company, Khalid Al Turki Group, and Saudi Basic Industries Corporation SABIC granted additional support. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of Chevron Corporation, Saudi Aramco, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, ExxonMobil, and ATEL Capital Group. Media sponsors: ABC7, Examiner, KQED, San Francisco magazine. Tetsuya Ishida: Saving the World with a Brushstroke was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Media Sponsor: The Bold Italic. Presentation of From Two Arises Three: The Collaborative Works of Arnold Chang and Michael Cherney at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of The Shau-Wai & Marie Lam Family Foundation. Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection was organized by the Asian Art Museum. The Perspectives on Persian Art series is made possible with the generous support of Tina and Hamid Moghadam. Promotional partner: Asia Society Northern California. Target First Free Sundays-free general admission on the first Sunday of every month and the family programs offered on that day-are made possible by Target.

Installation view of Roads of Arabia, 2014, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Part of a horse, possibly 7000 BCE. Saudi Arabia; Al-Magar site, Neolithic period (approx. 8000–3000 BCE). Stone. Courtesy of National Museum of Saudi Arabia, Riyadh, 3172. Maze, 2001, by Tetsuya Ishida (Japanese, 1973–2005). Acrylic on canvas. Courtesy of private collection. © Estate of Tetsuya Ishida. Untitled, 1998, by Tokuda Yasokichi III (Japanese, 1933–2009). Porcelain with suffusion of kutani color glaze. Courtesy of the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection, © Estate of Tokuda Yasokichi III. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; After Huang Gongwang 2, 2009, by Michael Cherney (American, b. 1969) and Arnold Chang (American, b. 1954). Photographic inkjet print and ink on paper. Lent from the Collection of Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang. © Michael Cherney and Arnold Chang.

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