Archive for 'Programs'

I Wayan Wija



Although you might guess that things around the Museum are winding down–we’ve less than a month of the Bali exhibition left–think again.

The rare opportunity to see noted puppet master I Wayan Wija brings an added benefit: Wija has brought a number of his puppets and miniatures, several of which will be available in the Museum Store through his Asia Alive residency, which runs until August 28th.

Current favorites include the frogs and lion (with wagging tail), and quite a few of the miniatures, which are essentially small, unmounted paintings done in the style of the wayang (puppets).

Ratih, the Balinese goddess of romantic love and lust...and everlasting pleasure

Ratih, the Balinese goddess of romantic love, lust, & everlasting pleasure

Unicorns: why not?
Beauty & self-esteem

And then there’s my personal favorite:

Because komodos in love are the best kind

If you can’t make one of the performances or talks, stop by the Museum Store to see the work of one of the world’s greatest living masters.

It may be the year of the rabbit…

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Bali Temple Explorer

Bali Temple Explorer is now live, both on our website and in the galleries. This remarkable interactive film by Martin Percy, produced by unit9, lets you explore a complex of three small temples located near the village of Bedulu in Bali. You can travel through the site by clicking on the video images, and a menu at the bottom of the screen offers a map and commentary. The museum is grateful to Martin Percy and unit9 for making this interactive experience available as a complement to our Bali: Art, Ritual, Performance exhibition. Let us know what you think!

UPDATE: Bali Temple Explorer has won the 2011 Webby award in the Travel and Adventure category. Congratulations to all!



In order to read a Chinese newspaper, around 4,000 characters must be committed to memory.  According to one of my favorite professors who spent time in China during the Open Door policy of the late 70s: “Give yourself about a dozen years to get a good grasp of it.”

Chinese, for anyone who has studied it, is a highly complicated language that requires a reader to quickly glean from the root (or radical) some piece of meaning.  Consider that every foreign concept that comes into China requires a new word.  The word for computer, then, is not computer, but closer to “electric brain.”  Try this link for a clearer breakdown of the process.

If this seems like a strangely digressive introduction of artist Xu Bing, who will be speaking at the Museum this Friday, maybe you don’t know Xu’s work.

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Wisdoms of the East & West: A meditation on the murals of Jean Charlot and Affandi


Wisdoms of the East and West is an animated video created in 2010 by artist Ben Wood and puppeteer Michael Schuster to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the East-West Center in Honolulu Hawaii. The video is based on the flagship Charlot and Affandi murals in Imin Center-Jefferson Hall at the East West Center.

In keeping with the East-West Center’s mandate to promote better relations and understanding among the people and nations of the Pacific region, the video shows Semar, the Javanese shadow puppet on a voyage from East to West. The video’s soundtrack is a fusion of Indonesian and western music and was performed by musicians Annie Reynolds and Made Widana.

Ben Wood is a British-born visual artist. A recipient of the California Governors Award for Historic Preservation, his work has been shown Internationally, at the Museo Nacional de Arte in Mexico City, the London Jewish Museum, and the East West Center in Hololulu. Since 2004 he has carried out over 5 large scale video projections onto Coit Tower in San Francisco.

Chinese Language Teachers Conference in San Francisco

Teachers at the museum

The museum is proud to host the participants in the 2011 National Chinese Language Conference organized by the Asia Society Partnership for Global Learning and the College Board in collaboration with the SF-based Mandarin Institute. The conference takes place April 14-16, 2011 at the Hilton, and our event is the evening of April 15.

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Babble On . . .

Art-Bab-ble [ahrt-bab-uhl]
noun; verb (used without object) -bled, -bling

1. free flowing conversation, about art, for anyone.
2. a place where everyone is invited to join an open, ongoing discussion – no art degree required.


The Asian Art Museum has now joined the ranks of institutions such as the Guggenheim, the Art Institute of Chicago, and the New York Public Library on ArtBabble.

What is ArtBabble? And how is it relevant to teachers? (You may ask.) Well, ArtBabble was conceived and initiated by the Indianapolis Museum of Art in order to showcase video art content in high quality format from a variety of sources and perspectives. ArtBabble is not blocked by school districts (as is YouTube), and has a great Notes feature, which allows you to delve deeper into video content via related educator resource packets, websites, works of art in museums’ collections, and much more.

Check out our latest video, What does the Asian Art Museum Mean to You? Babble on!

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!

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.

Shanghai Film Series: Chinese Cinema Legend Ruan Lingyu

This Sunday the Asian Art Museum will be screening two films in a tribute to Ruan Lingyu, the legendary Shanghai film star. Although Ruan was not the most popular star of her day (that honor went to Butterfly Wu, who was elected “Empress of Film” by the city’s fervent moviegoers), her suicide on March 8, 1935 at the age of 25 bestowed Ruan with an immortality that has made her the undisputed icon of Chinese silent cinema. Since her life is well documented elsewhere, and also the subject of Sunday’s second feature, I won’t repeat it here. But I will encourage you to check out the biography written by Richard J. Meyer, Ruan Ling-Yu: The Goddess of Shanghai, which comes packaged with a DVD of The Goddess (1935), her best and most famous film. You can order it from the San Francisco Silent Film Festival.

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