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Special Exhibitions

Seduction: Japan's Floating World | The John C. Weber Collection
Through May 10

Both a state of mind and a locale, the term "floating world" refers to the pleasures available in brothel districts and Kabuki theaters in Edo (present-day Tokyo) during the late 1600s. The most celebrated entertainment district at the time was the Yoshiwara. Seduction transports you to the world of Edo and demonstrates how artists used fashion, promises of intimacy, and disguise to stimulate desire.

The Printer's Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection
Through May 10

The Printer's Eye traces the development of printmaking in Japan from its inception in monochrome prints, to hand-colored ukiyo-e (pictures of the "floating world"), and culminating in the complex designs often termed nishiki-e (brocade pictures).

Sanaz Mazinani: Threshold
Through May 3

A new site-specific installation by the dynamic San Francisco artist Sanaz Mazinani transforms Vinson Gallery on the first floor. Threshold explores the conceptual and formal frames of photographic images, especially as they relate to digital culture and the interplay of the perception and representation.

Woven Luxuries: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Textiles from the Indictor Collection
Through Nov 1

11 textiles provide a glimpse into the richness and diversity of Iranian, Indian and Turkish silk velvets. Spanning three distinct cultural areas with their own design sensibilities and tastes, this group of textiles showcases different techniques of velvet production and suggests their varied uses.


Programs and Events

Asian Americans and the New Racial Justice Movement
Thurs, Apr 2, 6–9 PM

Join Asian American and African American leaders, thinkers, and organizers in a conversation focused on the current Civil Rights crisis; placing #BlackLivesMatter within historic context, and articulating connections between the experience of Asian Americans and African Americans in the United States. Moderated by journalist William Gee Wong; panelists include Alex Tom, Executive Director, Chinese Progressive Association; Nadia Khastagir, Design Action Collective & Asian Americans for Black Lives; Jeff Adachi, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office; and, Karissa Lewis, #BlackLivesMatter. The panel begins at 7 PM. The night also includes a cash bar and music.

Family Fun Days: First and Third Sundays
Sun, Apr 5 & 19, 10:30 AM–2 PM
FREE with admission

Explore art and ideas through immersive storytelling, fun gallery activities, creative art making and more during the museum’s Family Fun Day. Discover and play as a family!

Themes and projects change regularly. This month, learn to print without a press, transferring images to stickers, badges, buttons or small bags, and discover the art of Japanese woodblock printmaking in the special exhibitions, Seduction: Japan’s Floating World and The Printer’s Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection.

GenRyu Arts Celebration
Thurs, Apr 9 & Sat, Apr 1
FREE with admission

GenRyu Arts, along with a stellar cast of musicians and dancers from around the globe, will join us to celebrate 20 years of “collaboration and collision at the intersection of tradition and the avant-garde.” Founded as Gen Taiko in 1995 and incorporated as GenRyu Arts in 2008, the group’s mission is to promote, present and participate in Japanese and Japanese American culture through Taiko drumming and other traditional and contemporary art forms.

Join GenRyu Arts on Thurs, Apr 9 for an interdisciplinary performance featuring artists Tatsu Aoki, Kioto Aoki, Francis Wong, Megan Lee, Wesley Hitomo Yee and Melody Takata, as well as master artists Chizuru Kineya and Michikaoru Hanayagi.

The celebration on Saturday, April 11, brings dance, drumming and jazz to the museum through both traditional and contemporary arrangements—featuring GenRyu Arts’ intergenerational performers in an affirmation of our connection to nature, family and community.

Crossing Threshold with Sanaz Mazinani and Bobbi Jene Smith
Thurs, Apr 16, 6:30–9 PM
FREE with admission ($5 after 5 PM)

In conjunction with her exhibition, Sanaz Mazinani: Threshold, Mazinani has invited contemporary dancer Bobbi Jene Smith to choreograph a performance that engages Threshold both thematically and physically.

In-Gallery Talks
Fri, Apr 17 & Thurs, Apr 23
FREE with admission ($5 after 5 PM

On Thurs, Apr 17, explore Seduction: Japan's Floating World with Laura Allen, curator of Japanese art and discover the ins and outs of presenting a stunning, though complicated, exhibition. Meet at the information desk at 3:30 PM.

Join us Thurs, Apr 23 from 7–8 PM for Seductive Idea: A Kabuki Tour of the Yoshiwara. Mark Frey, director of JETAANC Kabuki Club, takes you on an intimate tour of the Yoshiwara (pleasure district) through the lens of Kabuki theatre. This in-gallery talk is just $5 after 5 PM.


Other Events in April:
FREE guided tours
4/5 - Yoga Flow
4/17 - Teacher Workshop: Seduction and The Printer's Eye

For Members

Get connected!

Last month, we launched our first ever Member E-news. It includes monthly updates on member events, extra discounts or promotions, community partnerships, member benefits and even fun trivia about the museum. The Member E-news helps you stay in touch and make the most of your membership. We regularly add new benefits and opportunities to enhance your experience, and this is the best way to find out what’s happening as it happens.

Not a member? Join online, give us a call at 415.581.3740, or drop by the Member Desk.

You’re Invited: Curator’s Choice Lecture & Reception
Wed, Apr 15, 6:30–8:30 PM
Open to Friends & Patron members and

Meet Dr. Tianlong Jiao, the Asian Art Museum’s new curator of Chinese Art. Join us for a fascinating lecture about a Western Zhou bronze ritual food vessel (fangding) from the museum’s collection. You’ll also have a chance to learn more about Dr. Jiao’s pastime as an archaeologist and experience with excavations. Contact the Membership Office at 415.581.3740 or members@asianart.org with your reservation at your earliest convenience as space is limited.

Want more access? Upgrade your membership to Friend and receive invitations to special events with our curators. Renew today at this upper level, and we’ll add 12 months to your membership and upgrade your benefits immediately.

Museum Store

Let it Grow

It's April and everything is in bloom. No matter how big or small the space, there is always room to grow something beautiful and these bonsai kits make it easy! Everything you need is included: growing medium, seeds and bonsai scissors. Choose from Crepe Myrtle, Gardenia, Japanese Black Pine, Japanese Elm or Dawn Redwood. Retail Price: $38.00–$55.00 Member Price: $34.20–$49.50

Our Recommendations

Wed, Apr 1–Sat, Apr 4
UC Hastings, 333 Golden Gate Ave, SF

Illuminate the Arts, Madrone Studios and vertical dance company Bandaloop present #SFPublicCanvas, a multi-media collaboration. A community conversation made up of projected images collected through social media, #SFPublicCanvas will be activated by a live BANDALOOP vertical dance performance outside of UC Hastings Law School in San Francisco's Mid-Market district. Open rehearsals are free! The public is encouraged to bring mats, beach chairs or blankets for viewing. For more information and add to the conversation, visit www.bandaloop.org.

Suite J-Town
Thurs, Apr 9–Sat, May 16
Japan Center, 22 Peace Plaza, SF

Critically acclaimed San Francisco artists Brenda Wong Aoki and Mark Izu team up to produce Suite J-Town, a multidisciplinary, intercultural, intergenerational series of events exploring the Art of Resilience in a site-specific series of visual art and performance events celebrating the 110–year history of San Francisco’s Japantown. Join the artists for Suite J-Town's FREE opening reception on Thurs, Apr 9 from 5–8 PM. For more information, visit suitejtown.squarespace.com.

Special Offers

58th San Francisco International Film Festival
Thurs, Apr 23–Thurs, May 7

Returning for two lively weeks from April 23–May 7, the San Francisco International Film Festival (SFIFF) is an extraordinary showcase of cinematic discovery and innovation, featuring exciting events, awards and some 150 films.

This spring, we are thrilled to partner with the San Francisco Film Society to copresent a specially curated series of contemporary Chinese narrative films at SFIFF58: Peter Ho-sun Chan’s Dearest, Wang Xiaoshuai’s Red Amnesia and Tsui Hark’s The Taking of Tiger Mountain all touch on China’s cultural history and current condition in stunningly unique ways.

Tickets for the festival go on sale April 3. Using the promo code AAMatSFIFF, receive discounted tickets to all films and events at SFIFF58. Explore the full program at festival.sffs.org.


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

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Seduction: Japan's Floating World | The John C. Weber Collection was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Hiro Ogawa, Atsuhiko and Ina Goodwin Tateuchi Foundation, The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Anne and Timothy Kahn, and Rhoda and Richard Mesker. Media sponsors: ABC7, SF Media Co., KQED, and San Francisco magazine. The Printer's Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of The Bernard Osher Foundation and The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations. Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Exquisite Nature: 20 Masterpieces of Chinese Painting (14th­–18th c.) was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Woven Luxuries: Indian, Persian, and Turkish Velvets from the Indictor Collection was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Sanaz Mazinani: Threshold was organized by the Asian Art Museum. 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. The SFUSD Arts Festival at the Asian Art Museum is generously supported by Wells Fargo.

Installation view of The Printer's Eye: Ukiyo-e from the Grabhorn Collection (detail), 2015, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Installation view of Seduction: Japan's Floating World The John C. Weber Collection (detail), 2015, Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Morokoshi of the Echizenya [brothel], from the series The Thirty-six Poetic Immortals as Selected Flowers (detail), by Ippitsusai Buncho (Japanese, active approx. 1765–1792). Woodblock print; ink and colors on paper. Courtesy of Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, Gift of the Grabhorn Ukiyo-e Collection, 2005.100.47. Image © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco. Still from Threshold (detail), 2015, by Sanaz Mazinani (Iranian-Canadian, b. 1978). Digital video. Courtesy of the artist and Stephen Bulger Gallery. © Sanaz Mazinani. Tent fragments, 1500–1600. Iran, Safavid period (1501–1722). Cut and voided velvet with supplementary weft patterning; silk and metal thread. Courtesy of Rina & Norman Indictor. Image © Rina & Norman Indictor, photo by Sheldan Collins. Asian Americans and the New Racial Justice Movement image courtesy of Dave ID Indybay.org. Courtesan promenading under cherry blossoms (detail), approx. 1815–1819, by Katsushika Hokuun (Japanese, active approx. 1800–1844). Hanging scroll; ink and colors on silk. John C. Weber Collection. Image © John Bigelow Taylor.  

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