Through the power of art, the Asian Art Museum brings the diverse cultures of Asia to life.
Located in the heart of San Francisco, the museum is home to one of the world’s finest collections of Asian art, boasting more than 18,000 awe-inspiring artworks ranging from ancient jades and ceramics to contemporary video installations. Dynamic special exhibitions, cultural celebrations and public programs for all ages provide rich art experiences that unlock the past and spark questions about the future.
To make Asian art and culture essential to everyone.
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco connects art to life. Our mission is to inspire new ways of thinking by connecting diverse communities to historical and contemporary Asian art and culture through our world-class collection, exhibitions and programs.
The Asian Art Museum of San Francisco strives to be respectful, engaging, inspirational, nimble and accessible.
The Asian Art Museum was founded more than 50 years ago, when collector Avery Brundage donated nearly 8,000 outstanding Asian artworks to the city of San Francisco. A new wing of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park was opened in 1966 to showcase the priceless collection. Although Brundage’s stated goal was to create a “bridge of understanding” between the U.S. and Asia, a closer review of his actions reveal that he held racist, sexist, and anti-Semitic beliefs that directly contradict the museum’s mission and values. In 2020, the museum removed a bust of Brundage from its lobby and initiated the public phase of a thorough re-examination of his troubling legacy. Today, the museum collection has grown far beyond that founding gift to comprise more than 18,000 artworks spanning 6,000 years and every region of Asia.
In 2003, the Asian Art Museum moved to the former Main Library building in the Civic Center, which had been transformed to showcase the expanding collection as well as the groundbreaking exhibitions the museum had become known for. Since then, the museum has solidified its position as not only one of the premier art venues in the Bay Area but also as one of the most important centers for Asian art and culture outside Asia.
The museum embarked on a $90 million transformation project in 2017 to accommodate large special exhibitions and a growing, vibrant contemporary art program. The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion and the East West Bank Art Terrace, designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY — as well as refreshed collection galleries and public amenities — are slated for completion in 2020.
A vibrant hub for discovering the magnificent artistic achievements and intriguing history of the world’s most populous continent, the Asian Art Museum continues to bridge cultures, engage the imagination, and inspire new ways of thinking.