San Francisco, February 14 — Celebrated for its critically-acclaimed exhibitions of historic art and culture, the Asian Art Museum is equally known for its thought-provoking — and provocative — programs that give platforms to a broad spectrum of contemporary creators and creative practices.
Throughout 2017, the museum foregrounds architecture and design in a variety of new and ongoing original programs, from highprofile lectures and interactive demonstrations, to collaborations and celebrations led by trailblazers-in-their-fields (and a few notable troublemakers).
“San Francisco is world-famous as a hub for design, for the engineering and technology that shapes how we live our lives today,” says museum director Jay Xu. “But it’s also a community that brings together incredibly influential artistic traditions, crafts, and even flavors — whether from Asia hundreds of ago, California this past century, or the unique combination of the two that inspires and drives innovation all around us. Our 2017 programs reflect this reality and are a natural part of the Asian Art Museum’s mission to ‘awaken the next.’”
An outgrowth of an Asian Art Museum partnership with the California College of the Arts (CCA), Asian Architecture Today inaugurates an annual discussion “mini” series about some very big ideas: housing crunches, building booms, legacy projects, and how traditional design guides the thinking of architects from Asia and the Asian diaspora.
Thursdays, February & March
February 23: Minsuk Cho
of Mass Studies (Seoul), known for the Daum Space headquarters, the Songwon Art Centre, and playful expo pavilions.
March 30: Billie Tsien
of Tod Williams Billie Tsien Architects (New York), architects of the Barnes Foundation, the Asia Society Hong Kong Center, and their recent selection as the designers of the Obama Presidential Center.
Co-organized by CCA’s dean of architecture, Jonathan Massey, and the Asian Art Museum’s senior educator of contemporary art, Marc Mayer, Asian Architecture Today promises, as Mayer explains, “To help us think about the museum’s collection in a new way. Because this will be an annual program, these perspectives from some of the most prominent voices in the architecture and design sphere will create a sense of continuity between craftsmanship and contemporary design — not only through conversation, but through connections made in our galleries.” In addition to their lectures, the featured architects will guide a series of master classes with select CCA students and faculty.
To further engage design-oriented visitors, a signature architecture tour of the museum building has also been developed. Free to the public, the tours take place on the first Sunday of every month, at 12PM and 2PM. With a focus on the 1917 Beaux-Arts building’s transformation from the city’s main library into the Asian Art Museum under the auspices of Italian architect Gae Aulenti, who was also responsible for the transformation of the Musée d’Orsay in Paris. The 45-minute guided tour covers materials, techniques, surprising California connections and other details that together tell a rich story about the museum and its vibrant Civic Center setting.
Both programs coincide with the museum’s own plans to embark on an architectural journey, helmed by Thailand-born, L.A.-based architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY: construction of a new pavilion for special exhibitions is scheduled to break ground in 2018.
Tasting Menu: Corey Lee and the Aesthetics of Plating
Thursday, April 13 7–9 PM
The Bay Area is known for its unique food culture and the exquisite plating techniques that are as essential to a memorable meal as the cooking. Corey Lee — award-winning chef of Benu, Monsieur Benjamin and SFMOMA’s In Situ — is celebrated for his creative use of pottery wares derived from traditional Korean ceramics, particularly whitewares of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910). Join artisans from Kwangjuyo ceramics and Chef Lee for a talk about how these historic Korean pieces influence how he approaches a dish, followed by a plating demonstration that brings his minimalist, yet splendid, ethos to the table.
Reviving the Environment: Ways to Honor the Dead and Living
Thursday, April 27 7–8:30 PM
As part of the museum’s blockbuster Tomb Treasures exhibition (Feb. 17 – May 28), and at a time when environmental awareness is so crucial, specialists and scientists come together to consider ways of burying the dead that are more environmentally friendly but still effectively honor an individual’s life. Katrina Spade, founder of the Urban Death Project, and Karla Maria Rothstein of Columbia University’s DeathLAB start a conversation about new urban development projects envisioned to achieve this purpose. Angela Hennessy, artist and associate professor at CCA, joins the discussion with perspectives on historical and contemporary funeral practices, and also how art can be used to respond to grief and loss. Roy Remer, director of education and training at the Zen Hospice Project, moderates the discussion.
Ikebana with Grand Master Kayoko Suiyo Fujimoto of the Ohara School Saturday, July 22
3-4 PM, Workshop
In conjunction with the museum’s major summer exhibition Flower Power (June 24 – Oct.1), internationally renowned ikebana artisan Kayoko Suiyo Fujimoto will demonstrate how a keen sense of balance, power, and above all humor comingle to shape the exuberant harmony ascribed to Japanese flower arranging. After a demonstration of her passionately honed skills, Fujimoto will lead a workshop to help participants bring their own botanical visions to life.
Contemporary menswear label, 36 Chambers, will collaborate with the Asian Art Museum on its 2017 fall/winter collection. The museum will be a brand partner on the designs, which will be inspired by previous exhibitions of imperial Chinese art and artworks from the museum’s world-famous galleries. Founded by hip-hop producer RZA (of Wu-Tang Clan fame) and creative Mustafa Shaikh, 36 Chambers will work with the museum’s curators to tell the story of this incredible art through modern fashion. As part of the museum’s Thursday evening TAKEOVER program, 36 Chambers will present the final designs on-site in late September, welcoming museum-fans and styleenthusiasts alike to a night of fashion, art and music.
Following the launch of 36 Chambers’ line, the museum will open the first major exhibition in the United States that looks at historic and contemporary Korean fashion: Couture Korea (Nov. 3, 2017 – Feb.4, 2018). Starting with the refined hand-made fashions of the etiquette-bound Confucian Joseon-dynasty court, and tracing a line to today’s exquisite designs, the exhibition unravels just what makes Korean fashion unique. “I always like to say that Asia is not just a place, and this museum offers more than one way to experience what that means,” says museum director Jay Xu. “Be it clothes on our backs, food on our plates, or the roofs over our heads, we can all relate to the impact made by the architecture and design of Asia — past, present and future.”
The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures from throughout Asia spanning 6,000 years of history. Through rich art experiences, centered on historic and contemporary artworks, the Asian Art Museum unlocks the past for visitors, bringing it to life while serving as a catalyst for new art, new creativity and new thinking.
Information : 415.581.3500 or www.asianart.org
Location : 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102
Hours : The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM. Hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 PM through September. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Special Exhibition Admission : FREE for museum members and children (12 & under). On weekdays, $20 for adults and $15 for seniors (65 & over), youth (13–17) and college students (with ID). On weekends, $25 for adults and $20 for seniors (65 & over), youth (13–17) and college students (with ID). On Target First Free Sundays and on Thursday evenings, 5-9 PM, admission to the exhibition is $10.
General Admission : FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youth (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). On Thursday evenings, Feb.23 – Sep.28, 2017, 5-9 PM, $10 general admission, $5 surcharge for some programs.
Access : The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.
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