Museum Hours
Thu: 1 PM–8 PM
Fri–Mon: 10 AM–5 PM
Tue–Wed: Closed
200 Larkin Street
San Francisco, CA 94102

Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection

Exhibition spotlights new movement in Japanese ceramics since the late 20th century.

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Sky Space (Tenku ), 2007, by Fukami Sueharu (Japanese, b. 1947). Pale blue glazed porcelain; mounted on a walnut base. Courtesy of the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection, R2014.8.2. Image © Asian Art Museum of San Francisco.

SAN FRANCISCO, August 18, 2014—Tradition on Fire: Contemporary Japanese Ceramics from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection introduces museum visitors to the vibrant shapes and diverse textures of contemporary Japanese ceramics created since the late 20th century. On view at the Asian Art Museum from August 19, 2014 through April 5, 2015, the exhibition presents 22 ceramic artworks by 20 artists, showcasing the innovative designs and techniques of the generation born after World War II. These talented artists draw upon the long and revered traditions of Japanese ceramics in search of the new.

Featured in the exhibition are some of the most innovative artists exploring the potential of clay. Akiyama Yō’s distinctive non-functional works have cracked surfaces that have been compared to cooling volcanic magma, as seen in Untitled T-071. Fukami Sueharu incorporates the slip-casting method to create his sleekly sculptural works, using a compressor to inject liquid clay into a mold under high pressure, as in Sky Space <Soar>. Kondō Takahiro applies glass and precious metals such as silver and gold to his porcelain works, creating surfaces that resemble beaded water, as demonstrated in Silver Mist Glaze. Other highlights of the exhibition include Nagae Shigekazu’s Chain Formation and Kohyama Yasuhisa’s Wind (Kaze).

Works in Tradition on Fire are lent for the exhibition from the Paul and Kathy Bissinger Collection of San Francisco. Since 2008, the Bissingers have amassed an extensive collection of Japanese ceramics by artists active from the late 20th century to the present day. The Bissingers have generously donated to the museum Cornucopia 03-III, a major work by artist Tashima Etsuko. Displayed in Tradition on Fire, Cornucopia 03-III is an intriguing biomorphic form sculpted from opaque white stoneware and vivid, translucent blue glass.

Tradition on Fire was organized by the Asian Art Museum and curated by Dr. Laura Allen, curator of Japanese art, and Dr. Yuki Morishima, assistant curator of Japanese art. The Asian Art Museum is the only venue for the exhibition.

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 AM to 5 PM. From Feb. 6 through Sept. 11, 2014, hours are extended on Thursdays until 9 PM. Closed Mondays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.

General Admission: FREE for museum members, $15 for adults, $10 for seniors (65+), college students with ID, and youths (13–17). FREE for children under 12 and SFUSD students with ID. General admission on Thursdays after 5 PM is $5 for all visitors (except those under 12, SFUSD students, and museum members, who are always admitted FREE). General 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