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Special Exhibitions

Through Sept 14

"The combinations of art objects, ancient and modern, Asian and Western, produce some startling moments" (SF Chronicle). This "mashup" show presents 72 stunning artworks drawn from the collections of the Asian Art Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Come and see what it's all about. It might "provoke the eye, not just please it" (Time). For a taste, check out this short clip in which people share their definition of "gorgeous."  Click here for the entire playlist of Gorgeous-related videos.

The Carved Brush: Calligraphy, Painting, and Seal Carving by Qi Baishi (1863–1957)
Through July 13

The Carved Brush showcases 24 artworks by acclaimed Chinese artist Qi Baishi.  His distinctly modern art broke through class and cultural barriers through use of expressive “carved” brushwork, vibrant colors against deep and rich ink tones and emotionally resonant subject matter. Baishi is credited with transforming the brush art of China’s educated elite into a more universal art form, appreciated by people of all social backgrounds.

Enter the Mandala: Cosmic Centers and Mental Maps of Himalayan Buddhism
Through Oct 26

14th-century paintings align a gallery in a way that transforms open space into an architectural mandala—a chance to experience the images in three dimensions, to dwell in cosmic symbols and be transported to another world. Visitors can literally “enter the mandala,” exploring places in the cosmos—and perhaps themselves—that might otherwise remain invisible. It sounds pretty trippy, we admit, but we think you’ll like it.  

Programs and Events

Gorgeous Idea Talks
Thursday Nights, 7–8 pm
FREE with admission (just $5 after 5 pm)

Gorgeous Idea talks are informal, impromptu in-gallery conversations facilitated by scholars, artists, filmmakers and writers who explore ideas arising from the artwork on view in the exhibition Gorgeous. Each facilitator will present an idea that piques his or her curiosity and host a session to investigate it through two or three artworks.

7/10 - Hips Don't Lie with Nicole Archer
7/17 - I Prefer "Both/And" to "Either/Or" with Forrest McGill
7/31 - Unpacking the Color Line with Sampada Aranke

Japanese Tea
Sat, July 12, 1–1:45 pm
FREE with admission

Take in the museum's collection and drink a bowl of whisked green tea with traditional Japanese sweets while learning about the seasonality and display from local tea school Urasenke Foundation San Francisco. First come, first served.  45-minute demonstrations are at 1 pm and 2:30 pm. 

Family Fun Day with Alphabet Rockers
Sun, July 20, 1–2 pm
FREE with admission

Blast off with Alphabet Rockers through hip hop grooves, rhymes and positive messages for kids!  Make wearable art, learn to beat box, walk the red carpet for a photo op and more on this special Family Fun Day.

Artists Drawing Club: Rerereading Arrangements with Michael Arcega
Thurs, July 24, 6:30–9 pm
FREE with admission (just $5 after 5 pm)

Rerereading Arrangements is a collaboration between artist Michael Arcega and composer Chris Brown. The project investigates the Asian Art Museum’s collections and visual displays through sound. Arcega and Brown will translate and score the arrangement of objects in the galleries to generate a work that challenges the way we look at and read museum displays.

Intimate Encounter With Music: New Century Chamber Orchestra
Sat, July 26, 1–3 pm
FREE with admission

Absorb the contagious energy and joy of the New Century Chamber Orchestra. A string quartet ensemble without a conductor, it finds fresh, exciting ways to present classical music in the Bay Area. After the performance, quartet members will discuss inspiration for the music selection and parallels in visual art.


Other Events in July:
FREE guided tours
7/6 - Yoga Flow
7/6 - Family Fun Day, Target First Free Sunday
7/10 - F**k Gorgeous
7/11 - Gorgeous In-Gallery Talk w/Forrest McGill

For Members

Project Mah Jongg: Opening Celebration
Sun, July 13, 11 am–5 pm
Contemporary Jewish Museum, 736 Mission

The Contemporary Jewish Museum (CJM) invites Asian Art Museum members to the opening celebration for its newest exhibition, Project Mah Jongg.  Be the first to explore the fascinating history of the game and its impact on cultural identity, fashion and style. Intriguing objects associated with mah jongg are displayed alongside original works by contemporary artists and designers. Simply present your Asian Art Museum membership card for two free admissions to the CJM.  For information, please call The CJM at 415.655.7822.

Members’ Tour, Talk and Tea: A Collector’s View, Works of Shibata Zeshin
Sat, July 19, 11 am–1 pm
Meet at the Info Desk

Join fellow members for a docent-led tour, followed by an engaging discussion over tea.  We will explore the work of Shibata Zeshin, the famous and revolutionary Japanese painter and lacquerer of the late Edo period and early Meiji era. Space is limited and registration is required.  Call 415.581.3740 or email members@asianart.org

Limited Time Gorgeous Postcards for Members
Pick up at the Member Desk

Thinking about becoming an Asian Art Museum member?  Getting ready to renew your current membership?  As a limited time promotion around the opening of Gorgeous, the first 500 people to renew or join onsite will receive a free postcard set featuring artworks from the exhibition! Postcard sets are available for pickup at the museum’s Member Desk while supplies last.  Contact us at 415.581.3740, members@asianart.org, or visit us in person to find out more about this offer.

Museum Store

Miao Silver Jewelry
Now Available in the Store

The Miao peoples of Southern China have long been known for their beautiful silver jewelry. Just in time for Gorgeous, we're offering a line of hand-crafted silver jewelry by Miao artisans. Hand-extruded silver wires are coiled and combined to create delicate patterns and forms. Visit the store to see a wide range of styles available in earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. Retail: $45-$215, members: $41-$194.


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

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Gorgeous was organized by the Asian Art Museum in partnership with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of Prospect Creek Foundation, Fred Eychaner, Helen and Charles R. Schwab, Doris Fisher, The Bernard Osher Foundation, United Airlines, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Jim Breyer, William Mathews Brooks, Eliza and Dean Cash, Sakurako and William Fisher, Fred M. Levin and Nancy Livingston, The Shenson Foundation, Hiro and Betty Jean Ogawa, Pacific Gas & Electric Company, Lucy Sun and Warren Felson, Jean and James E. Douglas, Jr., and an anonymous donor. Media sponsors: San Francisco Examiner, 7x7. Lead funding for the Asian Art Museum’s Artists Drawing Club is provided by Wells Fargo.

Old man looking into gourd (detail), approx. 1938, by Qi Baishi (Chinese, 1863–1957). Ink on paper. Courtesy of Reverend Richard Fabian, R2013.38.2; Taima mandala (detail), approx. 1300–1400. Japan. Hanging scroll; The Avery Brundage Collection, B61D11+. © Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Women playing mah jongg in the Catskills, c. 1960. Collection of Harvey Abrams; all other images courtesy of their respective organizers and/or artists.

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