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200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Proximities 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You

Bay Area artists explore notions of family and community in contemporary art exhibition series.

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Self-Portrait as Someone Else, 2013, by Kota Ezawa (German Japanese American, b. 1969). Two videos on monitors. Courtesy of the artist and Haines Gallery.

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 22, 2013—The Asian Art Museum presents Proximities 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You, the second show in an intimate trilogy of exhibitions exploring the culturally and geographically vast idea of Asia through the diverse perspectives of Bay Area artists. What is Asia, and how is it experienced and expressed through contemporary art? Guest curated by Glen Helfand, each Proximities exhibition features 8-16 artworks that explore this question and more specifically: how well do objects and ideas convey an accurate sense of Asia? The series examines themes such as real and imagined landscapes; family and community; and trade and commerce. The series’ artworks reflect the artists’ personal proximities to Asia and Asian history.

On view Oct. 11 through Dec. 8, 2013, Proximities 2: Knowing Me, Knowing You features painting, sculpture, video and photography as reflections of family, community and ethnicity within and beyond Asia’s geographic boundaries. The exhibition includes 16 new and recent works by Kota Ezawa, Mik Gaspay, Michael Jang, Pawel Kruk, Barry McGee, Anne McGuire and Charlene Tan, who express connections, conceptions and interpretations of Asia through themes of interpersonal relationships, relocation and dislocation.

Highlights include McGee’s installation of paintings that explores the symbolic meaning of a family name and fictional identities, and Jang’s photos of his extended Bay Area family around 1973 in a shifting social context. One of Ezawa’s animated videos recreates footage of a Japanese financial reporter, who bears the artist’s name. The process of finding connections with others is also explored by Kruk, a Polish-born artist who lip-synchs a notorious interview with martial-arts superstar Bruce Lee; and Tan, whose works involve imagined dialogues with her mother and with the artist Yayoi Kusama, women who influence Tan’s identity as a Filipino American artist.

Representing the setup of a tea ceremony, Gaspay’s installation, Eve, explores the use of human faces as a powerful marketing tool. Eve focuses on a 1993 Time magazine cover showing a woman considered by the magazine to represent the “new face of America,” a computer-generated composite of multiple ethnicities. Set to a soundtrack of Chinese opera, McGuire’s video depicts a group of women and girls sharing a meal at a restaurant in Taiwan, illustrating how quickly cultural connections and social dynamics are revealed, sometimes comically, through family-style dining.

Proximities 2 is about getting closer to aspects of Asia through individuals,” said the curator, Glen Helfand. “It addresses an international range of human connections, drawing links between family, friends and populations from various degrees of connection—personal, political and social.”

“The Asian Art Museum serves as a venue where a multiplicity of perspectives can come together to showcase how artists of all stripes relate to Asia and Asian history,” said Jay Xu, director of the Asian Art Museum. “The Proximities exhibition series creates an entry point to bring audiences—especially the Bay Area contemporary arts community—closer to Asia.”

On view Dec. 20, 2013 through Feb. 23, 2014, Proximities 3: Import/Export will include works by Rebeca Bollinger, Amanda Curreri, Byron Peters, Jeffrey Augustine Songco, Imin Yeh and others, relating to commerce, trade, mass production and the marketing of national identity, all aspects that generate global impressions of Asia.

Proximities 1: What Time Is It There? was on view May 24 through July 21, 2013 and explored mythic landscapes of Asia as seen from imagined and actual distances. The exhibition showcased works by artists Elisheva Biernoff, Lisa K. Blatt, Ala Ebtekar, James Gobel, Tucker Nichols, Larry Sultan and Andrew Witrak.

Each exhibition uses the museum website,, including its blog and social media presence, to bridge artists, viewers and the museum. The Asian Art Museum will also present a public program on Oct. 19 to accompany Proximities 2.

The Asian Art Museum is the only venue for this exhibition.

Exhibition Organization

This exhibition was organized by the Asian Art Museum. Presentation at the Asian Art Museum is made possible with the generous support of Graue Family Foundation, Columbia Foundation and an anonymous donor.

About the Asian Art Museum

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 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

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hours: The museum is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. From February through September, hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 p.m. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $12 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. Admission on Thursdays after 5 p.m. is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). Admission is FREE to all on Target First Free Sundays (the first Sunday of every month). A surcharge may apply for admission to special exhibitions.

Access: The Asian Art Museum is wheelchair accessible. For more information regarding access: 415.581.3598; TDD: 415.861.2035.

Press Release Types: Exhibitions, Programs & Events