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Transformed Asian Art Museum Unveils New Pavilion with teamLab: Continuity

Immersive Digital Experience from Tokyo-Based International Art Collective Makes U.S. Major Museum Debut July 23, 2021

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Forest of Flowers and People: Lost, Immersed and Reborn 2017. By teamLab (Japanese, est. 2001). Sound by Hideaki Takahashi (b. 1967). Interactive digital installation © teamLab

San Francisco, UPDATED June 9, 2021 — Swirls of butterflies that twirl and fade, sunflowers that bloom and perish, crisscrossing crows in flight, streams of luminous ink, rooms alive with light and feeling. Exclusively at the Asian Art Museum, teamLab: Continuity invites audiences to experience the immersive digital marvels of teamLab — an international art collective based in Tokyo whose exhibitions have achieved record-breaking global popularity. teamLab: Continuity is also the inaugural event in the brand-new Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion, the centerpiece of the museum’s five-year transformation project and San Francisco’s largest new art exhibition space. The exhibition will open to museum members for previews on July 16, 2021, and to the public on July 23, 2021 and will be on view through February 2022.

Originally slated to open in May 2020, the Asian Art Museum postponed teamLab: Continuity due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which saw the museum close its on-site galleries to the public in March of that year. Now, with new health and safety guidelines in place and a worldwide vaccination campaign underway, the museum is thrilled to present this series of interactive digital installations spread across 8,500 square feet of newly constructed, never-before-experienced pavilion space.

Crows are Chased and Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as well, Flying Beyond Borders. 2018. By teamLab (Japanese, est. 2001). Sound by Hideaki Takahashi (b. 1967). Interactive digital installation © teamLab

Immersed in teeming wonderlands, visitors to the exhibition are encouraged to roam freely through digitally projected environments of vibrant color and sound that dissolve into one another. The 14 movement-sensitive artworks fill entire galleries and are hyper-responsive to human activity, transforming visitors into participants: rather than a series of preprogrammed movies, the digital animation is derived from dynamic algorithms that react to visitors’ locations and movements within the interconnecting gallery spaces. The result is an exhibition where the artworks are never exactly the same, and a journey that changes from moment to moment and visit to visit.

“The Asian Art Museum offers new worlds to explore and, with every visit, provides a place of creativity and connection,” says Dr. Jay Xu, Barbara Bass Bakar Director and CEO of the Asian Art Museum. “teamLab has been the inspiration for countless crowd-pleasing digital art experiences around the world, while remaining a leader in the field, innovating new ways to surprise and delight art-loving audiences. With its blend of jaw-dropping aesthetics and technological sophistication, teamLab: Continuity is the perfect way to reintroduce our transformed museum to a City and a community that is learning all over again the joy of coming together for shared moments of wonder — moments that ignite our imaginations while reflecting our own communal and ecological fragility and deep need for tenderness and hope.”

While there are currently several hundred programmers and designers who comprise the teamLab collective, as a practice they work together behind the scenes, collaboratively creating artworks that explore the relationship between the self and the world.

Crows are Chased and Chasing Crows are Destined to be Chased as well, Transcending Space. 2017. By teamLab (Japanese, est. 2001). Sound by Hideaki Takahashi (b. 1967). Interactive digital installation © teamLab

Continuity prompts us to consider our own impact on the environment and relationship to technology as a force for social evolution,” says exhibition organizer Dr. Karin G. Oen, Principal Research Fellow at the Centre for Asian Art and Design in the School of Art, Design and Media, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore and former associate curator of contemporary art at the Asian Art Museum. “It’s a subtle yet potent reminder that the art and experiences we most enjoy can also be revolutionary.”

In 2015, the Asian Art Museum was the first museum in North America to collect an artwork from teamLab. teamLab: Continuity draws on traditional East Asian painting, calligraphy, and mythology — reflected in the museum’s own historical collections — to underscore teamLab’s commitment to the advancement of art that pushes boundaries, nurturing innovation and curiosity through technology.

In Tokyo, where the collective oversees a number of exhibition spaces, teamLab Borderless became the world’s most visited single-artist museum in the world in its inaugural year, welcoming 2.3 million visitors from 160 countries and regions.

How to Visit teamLab: Continuity

To ensure the highest-quality experience for every visitor, this dynamic exhibition will require timed-entry tickets, which will be available via the Asian Art Museum website. Priority reservation for museum members will be available for July preview dates (starting July 16), and tickets for the public will be available for dates following this (starting July 23). Advance reservations for teamLab: Continuity are required.

In order to satisfy heightened visitor demand, teamLab: Continuity will be open at the Asian Art Museum through February 2022.

Experiential Learning with teamLab’s Sketch Aquarium and Sketch Ocean

The Asian Art Museum’s new Shriram Experiential Learning Center plays host to schools of glowing sea creatures brought to life through the power of visitors’ creativity. Introduced to the public in February 2020 as teamLab: Sketch Aquarium and transitioning into teamLab: Sketch Ocean with the opening of teamLab: Continuity in July 2021, this “submersive” experience allows visitors to see their own colorful artworks swim off the page and join an ocean teeming with fish of all shapes and sizes.

Sketch Aquarium and Sketch Ocean offer an exciting way for audiences to see their own drawings float and swirl across a museum wall.

Visitors are welcome to stop in, grab a template, and color away. When ready, hand the drawing to a museum volunteer who will scan the paper and add the newest creature to the artwork.

Sketch Aquarium and Sketch Ocean are free with museum admission. Visitors are encouraged to wander the museum’s collection galleries on the second and third floors for some aquatic inspiration from across the traditions and cultures of Asia.

About the Asian Art Museum’s Transformation Project

The Asian Art Museum’s transformation project began in 2017 and was designed by Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY in Los Angeles and was supported by a more than $100 million capital campaign. 28,000 square feet of exceptional new spaces for exhibitions include both the new pavilion as well as the East West Bank Art Terrace; dedicated spaces for contemporary art, as well as new acquisitions and commissions; reimagined approaches to displaying masterpieces across the museum’s 31 refreshed collection galleries; expansive upgrades to education classrooms; innovative digital capabilities and wayfinding to foster high-impact learning throughout the museum; and new circulation, lounge and lobby spaces to enhance internal flow, allowing audiences to connect past to present in real time.

About teamLab

teamLab (est. 2001) is an international Tokyo-based art collective, an interdisciplinary group of various specialists such as artists, programmers, engineers, CG animators, mathematicians, and architects whose collaborative practice seeks to navigate the confluence of art, science, technology, and the natural world.

teamLab aims to explore the relationship between the self and the world and new perceptions through art. In order to understand the world around them, people separate it into independent entities with perceived boundaries between them. teamLab seeks to transcend these boundaries in our perception of the world, of the relationship between the self and the world, and of the continuity of time. Everything exists in a long, fragile yet miraculous, borderless continuity of life.

teamLab has been the subject of numerous exhibitions at venues worldwide, including New York, London, Paris, Singapore, Silicon Valley, Beijing, Taipei, and Melbourne among others. The permanent museums teamLab Borderless opened in Odaiba, Tokyo in June 2018, and teamLab Borderless Shanghai in Huangpu District, Shanghai in November 2019. The massive body immersive space teamLab Planets in Toyosu, Tokyo is on view until the end of 2022. The large-scale permanent exhibition teamLab SuperNature soft opened in Macao in June, 2020.     

teamLab’s works are in the permanent collection of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; Asian Art Museum, San Francisco; Asia Society Museum, New York; Borusan Contemporary Art Collection, Istanbul; National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; and Amos Rex, Helsinki.

teamLab is represented by Pace Gallery, Martin Browne Contemporary, and Ikkan Art International.

Exhibition Publication

Perfect for art lovers, technophiles, and Japanophiles alike, teamLab: Continuity brings a new understanding to an art collective with a growing international audience. It inspires readers to consider the people and the history that helped to form this twenty-first-century art. Interviews with teamLab members — an art director, an interactive system engineer, an architect, a visual director, and the collective’s founder— give insight to the individual contributions that create the collaborative works. Essays explore the connections between teamLab and technology in the history of art, the premodern Japanese spatial awareness of teamLab’s “ultrasubjective space,” and teamLab’s expression of the nature of Japanese architecture. Hardcover, 160 pages, 10 x 12 in., 122 color images, $39.95. Available at the Asian Art Museum boutique: or 415.581.3600 or [email protected].

Exhibition Organization and Support

Curated by Karin G. Oen.

teamLab: Continuity is organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco. Presentation is made possible with the generous support of Bank of America; Karla Jurvetson, M.D.; Puja and Samir Kaul; Nion McEvoy and Leslie Berriman; Rosina and Anthony Sun; Diane B. Wilsey; and an anonymous donor. Additional support is provided by Ann and Paul Chen, Sakurako and William Fisher, Beverly Galloway and Chris Curtis, and the W.L.S. Spencer Foundation. This exhibition is a part of Today’s Asian Voices, which is made possible with the generous support of Salle E. Yoo and Jeffrey P. Gray.

Sustained support generously provided by the following endowed funds:
Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Endowment Fund for Exhibitions
Kao/Williams Contemporary Art Exhibitions Fund

About the Asian Art Museum

Information: 415.581.3500 or

Location: 200 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA 94102

Hours: Thursdays: 1p.m.–8 p.m.; Fridays–Mondays: 10 a.m.–5 p.m.; Closed Tuesdays, Wednesdays, as well as New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Museum Admission: FREE for members, essential workers, SFUSD students, children 12 and under, and active-duty military. $15 for adults and $10 for ages 65 & over, ages 13 to 17), and college students (with ID). Thursday nights (after 5 p.m.) $10 for adults and $8 for ages 65 & over, ages 13 to 17), and college students (with ID). There will be a $5 special exhibition surcharge for teamLab: Continuity.

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


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