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Special Exhibitions

Looking East: How Japan Inpired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists

Did you know that when Claude Monet moved to Giverny in 1883, he decorated his home with Japanese prints? This is just one fascinating fact revealed in Looking East. Click here to get a sneak peek into the galleries. The Asian Art Museum is the final stop on this exhibition’s international tour. So this is your last chance to witness the iconic results of an invigorating cross-cultural moment. You won't want to miss the exhibition that the San Francisco Chronicle calls "enchanting."

EXTRACTED: A Trilogy by Ranu Mukherjee

Video, textiles and works on paper make up Ranu Mukherjee's new show, EXTRACTED. Inspired by California’s Gold Rush, the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and the museum’s collection, Mukherjee invites you into otherworldly landscapes inhabited by miners, a Chinese goddess and fantastical beings.

Chinese Lacquerware

Meet one of the most enduring and unique forms of craftsmanship in the world. Eight intricate pieces—made by top artisans to suit the refined tastes of the elite—convey the rich history and expert techniques of Chinese lacquerware.

Japanese Lacquerware
Opens Dec 9

Through a selection of exquisite objects, Japanese Lacquerware reveals the many techniques and applications developed by artisans over centuries. Discover the remarkable skills of Japanese lacquer artists and the painstaking process beneath the glossy surface.

Programs and Events

East Side Sushi: A Film by Anthony Lucero
Sun, Dec 6, 2:30–4:30 PM
FREE with museum admission

Watch a special screening of East Side Sushi and stay for an engaging talk with Associate Producer Vicki Wong. This original screenplay reflects a fusion of cultures and flavors that tells the story of a working-class Latina single mother who strives to become a sushi chef. Share on Facebook.

Looking West: Visual Culture in Japan Since 1850
Sat, Dec 12, 2–3 PM
FREE with museum admission

Looking East surveys the phenomenon known as japonisme, a craze for all things Japanese that spread in the West. Join Dr. Karen Fraser of Santa Clara University and Catherine Bae of California State University Channel Islands to discuss Japanese interest in Western art during the same period as well as current issues about cross-cultural artistic interactions and influences. Share on Facebook.

30th Annual Japanese New Year’s Bell-Ringing Ceremony
Thurs, Dec 31, 11:30 AM
FREE with museum admission

There's no better way to launch into our 50th anniversary year than by taking a swing at an actual art object from our collection—a giant 16th-century temple bell from Japan. 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 get a fresh start for 2016. Rev. Gengo Akiba and Yoshie Akiba (founder and namesake of Yoshi's Jazz Club) will share opening remarks and a purification ritual. Bask in the positive and peaceful vibes, and stick around for art activities. Tip: to participate, you must have a numbered ticket from the admission desk. We recommend getting here before 11 am to get your ticket. Pssst...dear members, doors open early for you. Come by starting at 9:30 AM.

Help Us Celebrate 50 Years!
Be a part of the festivities

We're turning 50 next year...that's right, the big 5-0. How can we make this anniversary truly golden? By strolling memory lane together. Please visit our two special websites and 1) vote for your favorite artwork(s) and 2) share a meaningful museum moment. The process is fun, fast and easy. We're collecting as many votes and personal stories as possible to create a shared history; some will even be digitally published next year. Get started on 50faves.asianart.org and memories.asianart.org, and tell your family and friends. The more, the merrier! 

For Members

Tues, Dec 1

Do you love exploring our engaging special exhibitions? Are you passionate about the Asian Art Museum’s collection and its care? Are you deeply committed to the museum’s education programs? Share the love on #GivingTuesday by donating here. Your fully tax-deductible donation supports all of the museum’s essential work.

Best Holiday Gift Ever?

Give the art lovers in your life a gift they can enjoy all year long. Your gift recipient can experience Looking East again and again. Members always skip the line and the exhibition surcharge. Additional benefits include free audio guides, discounted parking at the UC Hastings Garage, and invitations to monthly Tour, Talk & Tea events. What’s more, for a limited time only, gift memberships include one FREE guest pass for Looking East. Happy holidays!

Museum Store

Make Holiday Magic with Heartfelt Gifts

You know about our world-class art collection. But did you know we’re also the perfect place to pick up holiday gifts? We've got wonderful wares as diverse as their price tags, for every age and interest. Delight your foodie friends with kitchen gadgets and delicious treats like white soy sauce and brown rice ramen. Thrill your favorite fashionista with handmade jewelry and silk scarves. Or bring a smile to someone’s face with the charming plush version of our ancient Chinese bronze rhino. Visit store.asianart.org and start crossing names off that list.

Special Offers

Around China with a Movie Camera
Sat, Dec 5, 1 PM
Castro Theatre | 429 Castro St, SF

San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents a Day of Silents. Take a trip as far back as the days of the late Qing dynasty in Imperial China with this program of rarely-seen films, travelogues, and newsreels. See bustling and cosmopolitan Shanghai in 1900, visit Imperial Beijing in 1910, and cruise the picturesque canals of Hangzhou in 1925 on this odyssey of the remarkable and the everyday. Email enews@asianart.org by Wed, Dec 2 at 5 PM for a chance to win tickets! We'll randomly draw a name and notify the winner by Thursday. 


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

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Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Mr. and Mrs. William K. Bowes Jr., The Bernard Osher Foundation, Diane B. Wilsey, The Henri and Tomoye Takahashi Charitable Foundation, United Airlines, Estate of Kazuko Imagawa Zolinsky, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Robert Lehman Foundation, and Union Bank. This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Art and the Humanities. EXTRACTED: A Trilogy by Ranu Mukerjee was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Chinese Lacquerware was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Japanese Lacquerware was organized by the Asian Art Museum. 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 Looking East: How Japan Inspired Monet, Van Gogh, and Other Western Artists at the Asian Art Museum, 2015. Photograph © Asian Art Museum. Summer Night’s Dream (Summernattsdrøm/Sommernachstraum) (The voice) (detail), 1893, by Edvard Munch (Norwegian, 1863–1944). Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Ernest Wadsworth Longfellow Fund, 59.301. Photograph © 2015, MFA, Boston.. Passageway for the Graves of Those Who Are Away From Home (detail), 2015, by Ranu Mukherjee (American, b. 1966). Ink and pigment on mulberry paper. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco. © Ranu Mukherjee. Photograph © Asian Art Museum. Ovoid tray decorated with warriors in a landscape, approx. 1300–1368. China, Yuan dynasty (1279–1368). Lacquer. Asian Art Museum, Gift of the Christensen Fund, BL77M15. Photograph © Asian Art Museum. Inkstone cover (detail), by Shibata Zeshin (Japanese, 1807–1891). Lacquer on wood. Asian Art Museum, The Avery Brundage Collection, B60M294. Photograph © Asian Art Museum. Foreign Woman, from the series Cutout Pictures of Many Lands (Bangkok harimaze aware) (detail), 1861, by Utagawa Yoshiiku (Japanese, 1833–1904) and Miyagi Gengyo (Japanese, 1817–1880). Woodblock print (nishiki); ink and color on paper. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Jean S. and Frederic A. Sharf Collection, 2000.305.

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