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Special Exhibitions

Yoga: The Art of Transformation

"The exhibit is a visual feast"–San Jose Mercury
"Expect to feel even better after seeing Yoga: The Art of Transformation"–San Francisco Chronicle
"If you expect all to be peace and light, the exhibition will be suprising for its variety."–Los Angeles Times
There are only a few weeks left to view artworks borrowed from 25 museums and private collections in Europe, India and the U.S. All together, they reveal the hidden histories of yoga, from its origin to its evolution into a global phenomenon. See it for $10 on Thursday nights after 5 pm, or just $5 on Sunday, May 4. Click here for the short video about the exhibition.

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

Born into a poor family, Qi Baishi rose to become the most widely recognized Chinese artist of his time. He is credited with transforming the brush art of China’s educated elite into a more universal art form, and he integrated representational elements with abstraction to capture the essence of his subjects. Baishi’s art is the ideal way to get acquainted with Chinese brush painting.

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

Mandalas are richly detailed maps of Buddhist visionary worlds, regarded by Buddhist practitioners as actual worlds to enter via meditation. But is it possible to go on this journey without years of meditative discipline? We say yes! We've transformed a gallery space into an architectural mandala so you can experience the images in three dimensions and dwell in cosmic symbols. Does this sound a little trippy? Well it is, and in the best way possible.

Heads Up
New admission prices coming soon

Beginning June 1, general admission to the museum will increase from $12 to $15. It's no fun paying more to see great art, but this is a necessary move to keep bringing you special exhibitions and programs. To help ease the pain, no special exhibitions for the next 12 months will have surcharges. We'll still offer FREE general admission on the first Sunday of every month thanks to Target, and we'll still charge a flat $5 fee after 5 pm on Thursdays during the spring and summer. Members always get in free, and the increased admission makes membership even more of a bargain. Consider joining today. Thank you for your understanding and continued support.

Programs and Events

Yoga: Spirit in Practice
Thurs, May 1, 6–9 pm
$20 with yoga class, $10 without

Have we got a night lined up for you! Writer Mark Morford will lead a yoga class accompanied by live band GSol. DJ Ganesha Del Mar will spin tunes and GSol will take the stage again for a second performance. Whether you're looking to simply socialize or stretch your yoga knowledge, be sure to enjoy Beet Generation’s organic juice bar, free ear acupuncture clinic provided by the American College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and the dazzling Electric Fairy Hoopers. Share with friends on Facebook.

Target First Free Sunday
Sun, May 4, 10 am–5 pm
FREE general admission sponsored by Target

It's going to be a special Target First Free Sunday as May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Yoga classes, art making, tours, storytelling, and more abound. The art and essays by winners of the Growing Up Asian in America contest will be on display, and get this, SF Ballet principal dancer Yuanyuan Tan will be signing copies of her new Chinese language book, Ballet and I--available in the store for $40. Before the signing, watch a video presentation followed by a brief Q&A (this program will be in English and Mandarin).

AsiaAlive: Bharatanatyam and Odissi
Fri, May 16–Sun, May 18, times vary
FREE with museum admission

Bharatanatyam (Navia Natarajan) and Odissi (Niharika Mohanty) will demonstrate the benefits of dance and yoga practice, uniting their individual styles while incorporating yoga postures (asanas) and the extension of breath (pranayama). Friday and Sunday performances start at 12 and 2 pm. On Saturday, they're 12 and 1:30 pm. For more on Bharatanatyam and Odissi, click here.

The Asian Heritage Street Celebration | Art Museum Day
Sat, May 17, 10 am–5 pm
FREE general admission sponsored by Target

The annual Asian Heritage Street Celebration is almost here. We like to think of it as a big neighborhood party with food, performances, arts and crafts, rides and more. We're mirroring that spirit with our own special happenings inside the building. General admission to the museum will be FREE. Click here for the day's schedule. Oh, and one more thing: we'll also be celebrating Art Museum Day––even more reason to partake in the festivities.

Artists Drawing Club: Re:depiction with Hughen/Starkweather
Thurs, May 22, 6:30–9 pm
FREE w/museum admission (only $5)

SF artist collaborative Hughen/Starkweather (Jennifer Starkweather and Amanda Hughen) asked museum staff members to describe, from memory, objects in the Asian Art Museum's collection. Hughen/Starkweather then got to it, creating works on paper based on these interviews. Come see the results, meet the artists and participate in the process.
Other Events in May
5/22Pop-Up Yoga
5/25Armchair Talk

For Members

Members' Tour, Talk and Tea: Treasures of China
Sat, May 17, 11 am
Meet at Info Desk

Enjoy a docent-led tour followed by an engaging discussion over tea. Exclusively for our members. Space is limited and registration is required. Call 415.581.3740 or email members@asianart.org.

Museum Store

Tibetan Folk Craft
Now Available in the Store

Let's welcome our new arrivals in the store: a selection of hand-crafted felt puppets, dolls and soft sculptures from Tibet. These traditional folk crafts are handsewn and inspired by traditional Tibetan paintings and sculptures. Lions, horses and tigers are just a few of the available designs. $45-$145

Our Recommendations

SF International Film Festival
Through May 8

SFIFF is here! This Bay Area cultural treasure showcases cinematic innovation and presents marquee premieres, international competitions, star-studded events and live performances. Headlining this year’s music and film acts are Thao and the Get Down Stay Down and Stephin Merritt (The Magnetic Fields). 200 films of international distinction include new works by Richard Linklater and many others! Check out the online guide to this year's SFIFF.

Special Offers

Art Market San Francisco
May 15–18, Fort Mason Festival Pavilion, SF

The Bay Area’s contemporary and modern art fair is back with artworks from approximately 70 galleries around the country. The weekend includes special artist presentations, talks by Bay Area curators, and the return of the popular charity auction. The Asian Art Museum has secured complimentary passes to the Opening Night Party on Thursday, May 15, 8:30–10:30 pm. These passes also grant you free admission throughout the entire weekend!  Click here to reserve your ticket now.


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

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Yoga: The Art of Transformation was organized by the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, Smithsonian Institution with support from the Friends of the Freer and Sackler Galleries, the Art Mentor Foundation Lucerne and the Ebrahimi Family Foundation. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of Helen and Rajnikant Desai, The Bernard Osher Foundation, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Kumar and Vijaya Malavalli, Society for Asian Art, and Walter & Elise Haas Fund. Media sponsors: ABC7, San Francisco Examiner, KQED, San Francisco magazine. Support for Thursday Night Programs and Artists Drawing Club is generously provided by Wells Fargo. Target First Free Sundays–and the programs on those days–are made possible by Target.
Fasting Buddha, 700–800. India; Jammu and Kashmir state. Ivory. Courtesy of the Cleveland Museum of Art, Leonard C.Hanna, Jr. Fund, 1986.70; Chrysanthemums and Insects (detail), undated, by Qi Baishi (1863–1957).Ink and color on paper. Lent from the Collection of Michael Gallis, R2013.39.4; Enter the Mandala gallery image by Kaz Tsuruta; all other images courtesy of their respective organizers and/or artists.

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