Art Lately

Asian Art Museum - Liu Jianhua,   Collected Letters

Asian Art Museum - Liu Jianhua, Collected Letters

In the past month and some change, I’ve been to three art museums: the Asian Art Museum, the de Young Museum, and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). At the first, I saw the “Painting is My Everything: Art from India's Mithila Region” exhibition. The artwork is bright, intricate, and precise! Though traditionally displayed in homes on murals, the art later expanded to the medium of paper. This transition enabled the economic empowerment of female Mithila artists.

At the de Young, I attended the “Contemporary Muslim Fashions” exhibit, where a wide range of modest, fashionable clothing was on display. My favorite part was seeing Langston Hues’s street style photography of women all around the world in modest fashion.

Something unexpected caught my eye at the de Young. Near one of the exits, I spotted kaleidoscopic paint colors juxtaposed to wooden frames on the backs of canvases. It reminded me so much of a piece I had seen in Paris at Musée de l'Orangerie back in October. It turns out that the artist behind both works was one and the same: Richard Jackson, a Californian artist! In the above pictures, the first two comprise Untitled (San Francisco Wall Painting), and the last one is Paintings.

I later went to SFMOMA for “Art and China after 1989: Theater of the World,” an exhibition bookended by the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The modern artwork is often complex and abstract; having a deep understanding of China over the past three decades would have enriched the experience. Many, if not all, of the works would be prohibited from being shown in China today. Prior to SFMOMA, “Theater of the World” was displayed at The Guggenheim in New York City, as well as at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain.

I’m a member of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, which gives me free general and special exhibits admission to the de Young and the Legion of Honor. The membership also allows free admission to another San Francisco museum during the annual Member for a Day event each spring.

For those not interested in paying for a museum membership, the de Young and the Legion of Honor are free on the first Tuesday of each month. Meanwhile, the de Young’s observation tower is free every day and has a great view of the city! SFMOMA has occasional free family days for a minimum of three people, and the Asian Art Museum is free every Sunday courtesy of Target. In addition, San Francisco residents with a library card can attend these and other museums for free through the SF Public Library’s Discover & Go program. None of the free admissions includes entry into special exhibits, and SFPL complimentary admission may be restricted to once per year depending on the museum.