Archive for 'Community'

Celebrate India


By Saturday, August 28th, the city’s sweltering summer heat will yield to a more accustomed winter chill, so we recommend warming up with the Asian Art Museum’s Celebration of India.

Get moving with the Chitresh Das Dance Company, flex your mind and body with yoga gallery tours, sample Indian desserts and spices, and create your own works of art.

And since no fewer than five people have asked about it today, yes, Sanjay Patel will be presenting his new book, Ramayana: Divine Loophole.  Check out his, or learn about his influences (he has excellent taste) and read an interview on Pixar’s site.

A huge new shipment of South Asian books just arrived in the Museum Store, so if the docents pique your curiosity, you can take some of the museum home with you.  Namaste!



If you didn’t get enough qipao in the Shanghai exhibition (it is a broad survey, after all), I recommend you see what Softfilm was up to at the Hong Kong Museum of History.  Nearly 300 examples of the classic dress are on view and not one that can be tried on–talk about heaven and hell.
Many thanks to Dave for the great photos!

Nine Lives

If I hadn’t committed myself to pressing matters of civic pride, I’d be at the Mechanics’ Institute on Wednesday to see William Dalrymple talk about his new book, Nine Lives.

Fascinated as we are with the way in which much of spiritual Asia has rocketed to the fore of economics and technology, the well-respected India hand seeks to explain the transformation with his usual elegance.  The event starts at 6, find more information here

(If anyone goes, please fill me in)

The Other Shanghai: Oakland?

photo courtesy of Bunky's Pickle

photo courtesy of Bunky's Pickle © used with permission

Although 1940s Shanghai had lost considerable luster courtesy of occupation, war, and revolution, another Shanghai was angling to take its place.  In the same fashion that Hollywood had been responsible for inspiring glamor the world over, nightclubs in search of their own golden era underwent a certain Shanghai-ification.  The city offered a powerful syllogism, an invocation that promised delight and unparalleled decadence.  Even pre-Castro Cuba with its tropical,  imperialist-friendly allure was home to a theater christened “The Shanghai.”

And then there was Oakland. 
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Not so hidden after all

Flying someplace fabulous this summer? If so you might just stumble across the Asian Art Museum on your way out of town.

Hidden Meanings in Chinese Art at San Francisco International Airport

Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Art at San Francisco International Airport (photo courtesy San Francisco Airport Museums).

Beginning this week, more than one hundred objects from the museum’s collection will be featured in the San Francisco International Airport (SFO) exhibition Hidden Meanings: Symbolism in Chinese Art. Based on the work of Asian Art Museum curator emeritus Terese Tse Bartholomew, this exhibition explores auspicious symbols and wish-granting motifs found in Chinese art.
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China in the 21st Century–discussion on KPFA this morning

Jeffrey Wasserstrom gave a really interesting interview on KPFA this morning about China. (He comes on at 34 minutes into the morning show).

The Morning Show – June 1, 2010 at 7:00am

Click to listen (or download)

It made me think anew about the rapid changes China has undergone over the past 40 years. When asked for his predictions for the future of China, Jeffrey said he expects China to keep surprising us since all predictions have been off base for a long time. Jeffrey, who is professor of History at UC Irvine, will be at the Asian introducing some films about contemporary China on September 5 at 11am and 2pm, and at 12pm will be signing copies of his books, including his latest Global Shanghai, 1850–2010.

Eating near the Asian Art Museum – Part 3

Continued thoughts on where to eat near the Asian Art Museum (check out Part 1 and Part 2 for more yummy ideas).

My last post talked about selected dining options near the Asian Art Museum. I have to say that the new menu at the Café Asia has some really delicious items. I love the Orange Glazed Duck Salad and the Shanghai Dumplings (in case the Shanghai exhibition makes you hungry for Chinese food), not to mentioned the Furikake french fries (they come with the salmon sandwich or as a side). If you are really hungry for some meat try the new Puxi sweet ribs.

If you want to try dining somewhere outside the Museum here are some more suggestions:

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150 Years of Immigration Issues

Every clear morning I tuck in my right pant leg and pedal my way over to the museum. After setting my silver wheels up on the bike rack in the loading dock, I take the stairs up to the Education offices on the second floor. The dimly lit entry to the Education office space is located behind the tea room in the second floor Japan galleries. Because I pass through these galleries everyday, I always look forward to new rotations of Japanese art.

friendship dollThe latest additions to the Japan galleries include a pair of near-life-sized Japanese dolls in kimono complete with miniature accessories in a striking installation. Their innocent smiling white faces reflect in the gallery cases behind my own reflection. I know my sister would absolutely shudder at that description because she is one of those people that are just irrationally creeped out by dolls but I find them to be quite cherub-like. They are a part of the thematic exhibition Japan’s Early Ambassadors to San Francisco 1860-1927, currently on display.

This exhibition begins with the arrival of the ship Kanrin Maru and the first Japanese embassy in San Francisco, this year being the 150th anniversary of their arrival. It examines the experiences of some of the first Japanese diplomats and cultural emissaries to the United States. The exhibition also includes artwork and objects relating to Japanese artists active in San Francisco in the late 19th and early 20th century.

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Art outside our doors

If you’ve been around the museum this morning, you’ve probably noticed a flurry of activity across the street from us. In celebration of the Shanghai San Francisco Sister City 30th Anniversary Celebration, the  San Francisco Arts Commission is presenting a colossal sculpture by Chinese artist Zhang Huan, titled Three Heads Six Arms (2008).

We blogged about this upcoming addition to the neighborhood some months ago, and are now thrilled to actually see it going up right outside our doors!


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There are no guilty pleasures

I got into Project Runway when I caught the mother of all colds last year.  Cable television, in its infinite wisdom, was catching up late-to-the-gamers with an entire season’s worth of shows in a single day and me, being soft in the head, fell hard.  While I don’t stay home to watch it nowadays, I still like to keep an eye on the action, especially given that SF-based Jay Nicholas Sario is in the running this season.
Why am I writing about this on our blog?  Because Sario’s ten fashion week looks were based on last Summer’s Lords of the Samurai exhibition.  Since this combines both work and pleasure, I’m calling for an emergency meeting at my house Thursday night.  Who’s with me?