The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. Its holdings ... More
Asian Art Museum
The Asian Art Museum is one of the largest museums in the Western world devoted exclusively to Asian art. Its holdings include nearly 15,000 treasures spanning 6,000 years of history, representing cultures throughout Asia. Renowned architect Gae Aulenti oversaw the dramatic transformation of the building: it now features 40,000 square feet of gallery space, allowing the museum to better fulfill its mission of leading a diverse global audience in discovering the unique material, aesthetic and intellectual achievements of Asian art and culture.
It was our first time visiting a wonderful spacious museum on the impressive SF center square downtown. Inside it is a modern building with some very interesting solutions for displaying art objects and a few temporary exhibits of which we managed to to see JUST one due to the time constraints of the parking garage (located very conveniently just steps from the main entrance). The parking garage was already full at 11 a.m. For the same reason we could not visit the museum cafeteria though dining in De Young on February 14 was delightful. Parking on the street did not seem safe,
neither the blocks in and around the museum where we wanted to have a bite to eat, nor the small grocery stores themselves where we were anticipating gourmet-style sandwiches as in Chestnut street in Marina district, where we stayed in a motor inn. a It is clear Asian Art Museum neighbourhood begs for some serious investments with all these nice 3 story-historic buildings around. We would have expected young professionals and students walking along the streets, but as we were leaving, local police car arrived to check on suspicious homeless wanderers.
Overall, the museum is very impressive and we hope the curatorial work on the Maharaja exhibit will be noticed by other museums. We found impressive use of educational technology in 3 rooms exhibit is located. We also hope that this museum
will join a reciprocal program together with the Metropolitan Museum of Art and other museums (currently your annual membership in both was not honored in SF).
We were also told that SF urban development office is the place to contact regarding neighborhood's gentrification.
Not so good as it does NOT depict the whole culture of all Asia! Mostly statues, but almost "NO ART" work!????! Once was enough, and it is free on the first Tues. or Wed. of the month! I have no need to go again! Boooo
If it can be painted, sculpted, or carved...you'll find it here. You can trace the advancements of the Asian culture through its art. This was a very educational experience that I won't soon forget. There was an extremely interesting display centered around the Chinese New Year and the Chinese Zodiac. I highly recomend to everyone!
Over Christmas '05 Holidays we went both to the De Young and the Asian Art Museum. Somewhat appropriate since they used to be connected. Of course now, they are separated by miles and by museum presentation philosphy. My relatives much preferred this musuem because of the linear approach to the collection. I thought this was ok, but my main gripe was in the slightly bland presentation of the materials, at least as compared to the Sackler and Freer in DC. At the time of my visit there was a spectacular display of screens in the lobby galleries and the cafe had a great choice of asian-inspired dishes. I probably won't go again except for a unique exhibit.
This museum holds the largest collection of Asian art in the United States. Unfortunately, sometimes it seems as if the curators don't know what to do with it. Holding the collection hostage in a musty neo-classical building, then displaying them in an unimaginative chronological order doesn't seem to take a very harmonious Asian philosophy to art at all.
Asian art is at its best when it doesn't feel like a traditional museum, but invokes the setting in which the art was orginally designed for.
This musuem has an amazing collection of arts and artifacts from all over China, Japan, Korea, India, the Middle East, and even Russia. My favorites were the religious sculptures, the Japanese scrolls, and Chinese contemporary art (water color paintings).
The building itself is worth a visit. The former SF City library (in the beaux-arts style) was transformed to house this museum. The architect managed to maintain the splendor of the original building but at the same time give it asian and modern feel. The original stair case is decked with orchids and fomer reading room is preserved as a visitor's lobby.
I was so disappointed when the old Asian Art museum closed, b/c it was one of my favorite spots in the city. But the new building is even better, and the collection really has a chance to shine. The permanent collection is fascinating, but I've seen some great temporary exhibits here too, including an incredible show by a Thai installation artist. I would have never thought that would be something I'd like, and that's why I love museums that are curated like the Asian Art Museum: they're not afraid to show you something new and wonderful.
It's great that Target sponsors certain Tuesdays. Being an asian art museum, i would have expected a lot more in terms of interior design and the experience of walking through the displays. It doesn't seem to incorporate any of the asian philosophy of space in their design space.
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