A bronze Buddha dated 338 from China’s Hebei province is among 15 objects on view in “Masterworks,” an exhibition on the Asian Art Museum’s refurbished third floor. (Courtesy Asian Art Museum/Avery Brundage Collection)

A bronze Buddha dated 338 from China’s Hebei province is among 15 objects on view in “Masterworks,” an exhibition on the Asian Art Museum’s refurbished third floor. (Courtesy Asian Art Museum/Avery Brundage Collection)

Asian Art Museum reintroduces 15 ‘Masterworks’

Redesigned galleries offer taste of what’s to come when $100 million expansion is completed

The centerpiece of the Asian Art Museum’s $100 million development and expansion plan will be revealed in the spring, at a date to be announced, when construction is completed on major new facilities on the Hyde Street side.

But at an event for the media this week, chief executive officer and director Jay Xu said the museum’s “transformation project” is well on its way, pointing to additions and improvements that are part of the project headed by Thai American architect Kulapat Yantrasast of Los Angeles, who calls his work — which involves subtle changes blending new and old elements — “architectural acupuncture.”

Xu proudly exhibited refinished deep-stained walnut flooring (architect Gae Aulenti’s original design); new and improved (if occasionally harsh) lighting; and refurbished classrooms and galleries.

In an exhibit called “Masterworks,” refreshed second- and third floor-galleries —- with newly painted walls in culturally significant jewel tones — showcase 15 prominent artworks “reimagined with bold new designs and dynamic digital tools,” according a press release.

On the second floor are works from South Asia, South East Asia, West Asia and the Persian World, Himalayas and the Tibetan Buddhist World, Ancient China and Chinese Buddhism; on the third floor, reopened in November, are artifacts from Imperial and Later China, Korea and Japan.

Singling out a jade cup enjoyed by Mughal emperors, a Burmese Buddha throne and an ancient Chinese bronze rhinoceros, Xu also pointed to what he called a small but significant matter: the peeling of traditional labels that identify objects.

Described as “a staff-driven design solution from our crack prep team working with input from ADA guidelines and a curatorial eye to aesthetics to unify and resolve a perennial issue every museum faces,” the labels, now inserted in metal brackets, are covered with glare-free, plexiglass “to facilitate dynamic content update and quick rotations.”

While Xu claimed the new labels are are legible to everyone, to this observer, the 11-point font text wasn’t easily readable from a 4-5 foot distance.

Currently, the museum has 2,500 works on exhibit, drawn from its collection of more than 18,000 objects.Museums and GalleriesVisual Arts

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Riordan Crusaders versus St. Ignatius Wildcats at JB Murphy Field on the St. Ignatius Prepatory High School Campus on September 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner)
State allows high school sports to resume, but fight is far from over

For the first time since mid-March 2020, there is hope for high… Continue reading

A nurse draws up a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the Mission neighborhood COVID-19 vaccine site on Monday, Feb. 1, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF expands vaccine eligiblity, but appointments ‘limited’

San Francisco expanded eligibility for COVID-19 vaccinations Wednesday but appointments remain limited… Continue reading

The now-shuttered Cliff House restaurant overlooks Ocean Beach people at Ocean Beach on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021. (Sebastian Miño-Bucheli / Special to the S.F. Examiner)
History buffs working to keep Cliff House collection in public view

Funds needed to buy up historic building’s contents at auction

Perceived supply and demand in the Bay Area’s expensive rental market can play a big part in determining what people pay. (Shutterstock)
Bay Area rental market is rebounding — but why?

Hearing about people leaving town can have as big an effect as actual economic factors

Most Read