Archive of Posts by Cristina Lichauco

Assistant Registrar, Asian Art Museum

Installing “Deities in Stone” at San Francisco International Airport

Are you going on a fall sojourn through San Francisco International Airport anytime soon? If so, you may encounter some divine visitors from the Asian Art Museum. . Last week, museum staff oversaw the installation of Deities in Stone: Hindu Sculpture from Collections of the Asian Art Museum in the airport’s United Airlines terminal 3.

Parvati arrives curbside at San Francisco International Airport.

The latest in as series of collaborations between the Asian and SFO Museum, this exhibition features 32 Indian sculptures from the Avery Brundage Collection, many on view for the first time.

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Phantoms of Asia: Art Everywhere

We’ve wrapped up week two of the Phantoms of Asia installation (read about week one here) and a crazy week it has been. Because this exhibition encompasses the entire museum, the install team has had the challenge of juggling simultaneous installation in several galleries at once.

Phantoms of Asia Curator Mami Kataoka surveys "Mountain Gods" (2011) by Aki Kondo, being installed in the Tateuchi Thematic Gallery.

Tateuchi gallery was the first major transformation. The brilliantly colored walls of Deities, Demons, and Dudes with ‘Staches have given way to a contemporary white space exploring the theme of sacred mountains.

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Phantoms of Asia: Installation in Progress

The first week of an exhibition install is always a magical week. As we begin to unpack and examine the artwork up close, we are continually reminded that catalog photographs are no substitute for the real thing.

Museum Conservator Katie Holbrow examines "Absence of God VII" (2008) by Raqib Shaw.

For Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past, the first week of installation has concentrated on incorporating contemporary artwork into the second and third floor galleries.

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Phantoms of Asia: Bits and Pieces

One of the challenges of contemporary art is that artworks may be created for a particular space or a particular time. As a result, instead of shipping finished artwork from studio to museum, for the exhibition Phantoms of Asia we have found ourselves moving around a lot of bits and pieces for artworks that won’t be fully realized until the final installation.

Adeela Suleman, Untitled 1 (Peacock with Missiles) with added elements, 2011. Ink on paper. © Adeela Suleman. Courtesy of the artist and Aicon Gallery. Sketch of work to be installed for Phantoms of Asia.


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Phantoms of Asia: Art Remixed

With Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts leaving us, the official  big countdown to Phantoms of Asia: Contemporary Awakens the Past has begun. Around the museum there is lots of talk about the new works that are coming fresh from the artist’s studios, from leading galleries, and even being created right here. It’s new and it’s exciting and honestly makes our head spin. But did you know that new works are only half the show?

The Hindu deity Balarama diverting the Yamuna River, approx. 1725. India; former kingdom of Basohli, Punjab state. Ink, opaque watercolors, gold, and beetle thorax casings on paper. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. George Hopper Fitch, B82D10.

Phantoms of Asia is also about the phantoms in the Asian Art Museum’s own collection—more than ninety wonderful and seldom seen objects that will join contemporary artworks in the special exhibition galleries.

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Who Let the Dogs Out?

With the close of Poetry in Clay on January 8, the Asian Art Museum’s Korean galleries have once again become a work in progress. A collection of old friends — ceramic and metal works from the museum’s collection — are on their way back.

The reinstalled gallery will re-open this weekend, so be sure to take a moment to revisit your favorite Korean works.

But in addition to works from the collection, we have another treat on view. When the museum opened at Civic Center back in 2003, the Korean artist Cho Duk-Hyun excavated a pack of dogs on museum grounds as part of the Eureka project. Ten of these dogs were later given to the museum. As part of the Korean gallery reinstallation, we’ve let these dogs out of their storage crate for a brief romp. You can check the pups out and watch a video documenting their unearthing starting January 28.

Museum photographer Kaz Tsuruta photographs each dog on its way to the gallery.

Bonus Quiz: There are nine dogs in the gallery but ten in the pack that was given to the museum. Can you guess where doggy number ten is? Put your answer in the comments below.

Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han, registrar Cathy Mano, and exhibition manager Kelly Bennett wrangle Cho Duk-Hyun's dogs into the Korean gallery alcove.

Here/Not Here will not be here much longer

With all the excitement about Maharaja: The Splendor of India’s Royal Courts opening at the museum, it’s easy to miss another gem of an exhibition closing soon. This weekend is the last change to view  Here/Not Here: Buddha Presence in Eight Recent Works, on view in the Tateuchi Thematic Gallery.

Here/Not Here: Buddha Presence in Eight Recent Wo

Here/Not Here: Buddha Presence in Eight Recent Works

Be sure to take some time to enjoy the works of Jakkai Siributr, Sopheap Pich, and Pinaree Sanpitak before they leave the museum. Their last day on view is October 23.

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Making Maharaja

Whew! Over the past month, museum exhibition staff have concentrated all their effort on getting the exhibition Maharaja installed and ready for your admiring eyes. And I have to tell you, this exhibition is full of fabulous objects with incredible stories. Be prepared for the promised bling, and for some unexpected surprises.


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Where did all the Korean art go?

If you’ve been on the museum’s second floor lately to enjoy our new installation of contemporary Korean art, you may have noticed a corresponding sudden lack of traditional Korean art in the adjacent galleries. Where did it all go?

Empty cases line the Korean gallery walls

In preparation for the exhibition Poetry in Clay: Korean Buncheong Ceramics from Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, museum staff have removed all of the permanent collection artwork from the Korean galleries and tucked them away in storage.


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Soap and clay

“When will you be done installing?”

Over the past two days I’ve heard this question from several staff and visitors who have encountered a spread of crates and precariously placed ceramics outside the doors of the Korean galleries.

"Translation Series" by Meekyoung Shin. Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel plate, wooden crate. Lent by the Artist.

"Translation Series" by Meekyoung Shin. Soap, pigment, varnish, mirrored steel plate, wooden crate. Lent by the Artist.

The answer: We’re done!

And a clarification: That’s not clay!

Meekyoung Shin’s Translation Series plays with many things: material, process, place. Those elegant vases are made of humble soap. Perched on their travel crates, they look to me like they have just arrived at the museum— or alternatively are just leaving.

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