San Francisco, April 12, 2017 — The 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love in San Francisco conjures images of hippies frolicking in the park with daisies in their hair. But the power of flowers to inspire peace and love goes back far more than 50 years and far beyond our city shores. From June 23 – Oct. 1, 2017, the Asian Art Museum presents Flower Power, an original exhibition of pan-Asian artworks that reveals the powerful language of flowers across times and cultures.
The exhibition brings to light unexpected connections among gloriously gilded folding screens, modern-looking lacquers, rare porcelains, sumptuous textiles, and contemporary installations of live flowers and sensory-igniting multimedia. Drawn primarily from the museum’s renowned collection, dozens of masterpieces are displayed in a way that highlights their shared botanical bounty. Visitors to Flower Power will discover that for centuries humans have used flowers to communicate ideals from the refined to the revolutionary.
“Flower Power offers a unique take on the spirit of the Summer of Love and its connections to Asian artistic practices, past and present,” says Museum Director Jay Xu. “In addition to serving as an oasis of beauty during this lively anniversary year, our exhibition shows why artists return again and again to floral imagery to express themselves during times of social uncertainty and cultural change — a message that is more relevant now than ever before.”
“The anti-materialist and pacifist spirit of the Summer of Love was really a starting point for developing the exhibition,” says Flower Power curator Dany Chan. “Ultimately, we were guided in organizing Flower Power as much by the richness of the artworks as by the philosophy behind an ancient Chinese proverb: ‘If you have two pennies, spend one on a loaf and one on a flower. The bread will give you life and the flower a reason for living.’”
The exhibition uses a thematic approach that invites audiences to explore the lasting appeal and surprising stories of six flowers as distinctive as their blooms. These themes are organized into different galleries and range from the mystical, to the worldly, to the quietly activist, tracing subjects that continue to inspire us in our everyday lives:
Installations by contemporary artists touch on themes of social engagement, provocation, and the enduring power of flowers to express our most cherished values. Together, these artworks underscore how the community-oriented heart of the Summer of Love still beats strong in the Bay Area today.
Flower Power also includes recent artworks by the exuberant maestro of smiling daisies Takashi Murakami and the digital collective teamLab.
On weekends and Thursday evenings, visitors to Flower Power can enjoy a range of related programs and activities:
Flower Power is organized by the Asian Art Museum. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Doris Shoong Lee and Theodore Bo Lee, The Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Fund for Excellence in Exhibitions and Presentations, Phoebe Cowles, Warren Felson and Lucy Sun, Cathy and Howard Moreland, Julia K. Cheng, Lawrence and Gorretti Lui, Nordstrom, and Dr. Hoe Tian Poh and Mary Frances Poh. Media sponsors: Wall Street Journal, NBC Bay Area, KQED.
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.
Flower Power Exhibition Hours: Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 AM to 5 PM, extended hours on Thursdays and Fridays until 9 PM. Closed Mondays.
Flower Power 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 Museum 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.
Don’t miss a moment: @AsianArtMuseum #FlowerPowerNow