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!
Over the coming months, astute visitors may notice some gallery changes that are not part of our regularly scheduled gallery rotations. This is because with Shanghai is up for an extended period, museum staff have an opportunity to rotate some of our less light sensitive objects, including bronzes, ceramics, and stone sculpture. This week we started by installing three new works in the South Asian and Chinese galleries.
First, newly on view in the South Asian galleries is a recently acquired silver bowl featuring scenes of Zoroastrian rulers. Made in a Burmese silver shop for a well-to-do Parsi family, this impressive bowl measures more than a foot in diameter and was meant for use in an annual ceremony honoring deceased relatives.
Ceremonial bowl with Zoroastrian themes, approx. 1875. Burma. Silver. Acquisition made possible by the Zarthosti Anjuman of Northern California, Rati Forbes, Betty N. Alberts, and members of the board of the Society for Asian Art in honor of Past President Nazneen Spliedt, AAM# 2009.25
THIS is what is going on in Shanghai right now. And this. But my favorite has to be this. These days I’m just as likely to click on Shanghaiist as I am SFist. It isn’t enough that I have to keep up with what’s going on in San Francisco; I have to take our sister city arrangement very seriously.
While there’s plenty of excitement in all this potential energy, I’m actually more interested in what will remain after the Shanghai Expo. We seemed to make out alright, didn’t we?
PS good job Shanghaiist! We look forward to your reportage over the coming months.
Would you like to write for the museum’s magazine, Treasures? We are currently soliciting contributions for our summer issue. Following are details:
What’s going on?
We are interested in hearing about visitor reactions to Shanghai. We will publish the results in the July issue of our members magazine, Treasures.
What kind of commentaries are acceptable?
There are no restrictions on content, except that the Shanghai exhibition must be the subject, and we cannot publish material that is plagiarized, offensive, or libelous. What we would like are thoughtful commentaries that relate to the art on view and visitors’ responses to it. Personal connections to the topic are especially welcome.
The way I see it, there are two ways to go: either wear yourself out hitting every event, every screening, and every talk for the SFIAAFF (um, cloning option, please?), or, just deal and hope that the shorts program isn’t as good as it looks. I may be reasonably motivated as far as film goes, but give me one night to see something and chances are I’ll keep my fingers crossed for good distribution luck.
Perhaps for this reason I am grateful for longer-running exhibitions, not the least because I’m lazy, but because I’m a glutton for return visits–especially if they involve something that can be done during my lunch hour.
This afternoon I was watching the final touches being put on the Main Library‘s Korean Comics exhibition. U.C. Berkeley’s Dr. Sung Lim Kim curated the show in the Jewett Gallery, which runs through June 13. Trina Robbins–who will be at the Asian Art Museum for an exciting lecture this June–will be part of an esteemed panel on Manwha for girls on April 8th.
While you’re at the museum, take the elevator up to the third floor to visit the Chinese Center, a drool-worthy collection of books rivaled only by the excellent Shanghai embroideries on view there until May 31st.
It’s no mystery why I rarely leave the neighborhood.
We’re all swept up in Shanghai’s opening weekend, but I didn’t want to wait another moment to congratulate the fantastic design team that is Meomi (aka, Vicki Wong and Michael Murphy). When I first got word that they were responsible for the Vancouver Olympics mascots, I was doubly happy. Firstly, because I’m a huge fan of them as illustrators, and secondly because this represents a savvy design move on the part of the Olympics. Click over to Meomi’s Olympics flickr set and you’ll see what I mean.
We try to keep their Octonauts series in the museum store, but I’m expecting their books to sell out as quickly as Oliver Chin’s Year of the Tiger books did for our Lunar New Year celebration last weekend. Obviously, I am powerless when confronted by the charms of a cartoon Sasquatch.
image courtesy of ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive
As much as I’d like to give you red envelopes stuffed with cash (for the whippersnappers, of course–red envelopes are traditionally given to those younger than yourself), I’m a little broke right now.
Instead, for your Lunar New Year gift, I will give you the first Chinese feature-length animated film, Princess Iron Fan (Tie Shan Gong Zhu).
This 1941 film by the pioneering Wan brothers came out of the Xinhua Film Company, a feat in itself, as Shanghai was under Japanese occupation at the time. Xinhua may have been one of the last of the Shanghai studios to hold out against occupying force’s business interests, but was eventually merged with Japanese-controlled studios.
The details of the film are charmingly Fleischer-esque, and for those familiar with Chinese epics you’ll know that film is based on an episode from Journey to the West. When the film was screened in Japan, a young Tezuka saw it and it influenced him greatly.
Here’s a preview on youtube–but you can watch the film in its entirety at the Internet Archive.
A while ago, I talked about my experience of eating a notable Shanghai delicacy called xiao long bao. Here’s a video of Andrea Nguyen, chef and author of Asian Dumplings, as she talks about the process of making this dish and what she considers the perfect xiao long bao at Shanghai Dumpling King. (short commercial at beginning of video)
Public art: love it or hate it, you can’t deny that it provokes a lively public debate (and a lot of name-calling on SFist or Craigslist).
Personally, I’m looking forward to the possibility of seeing this in our front yard.
You may remember Zhang Huan as the cover boy for Britta Erickson’s exhibition and catalog of the same name, On the Edge: Contemporary Chinese Artists Encounter the West.
Zhang Huan, My New York
Splitting his time between New York and Shanghai, Zhang’s work is dynamic and physically demanding. Although trained as a painter, his oeuvre is largely comprised of rigorous performances and monumental sculpture, the latter of which is no less challenging. In this instance, the artwork may prove too heavy for the Civic Center Garage, which is housed beneath the expanse of the plaza.
Whether the piece will make it remains to be seen; however, there’s no denying that the Buddha would be a nice addition to the roster of exhibition-and-expo-related events that are taking over the city for the rest of the year.
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