Asian Art Museum: Summer Exhibits on Flowers & Korean Fashion

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From the refined to the revolutionary, flowers can be a powerful thing. During the Summer of Love, flowers became powerful symbols of peace, a concept plucked from Buddhist art. More than merely decorative, floral imagery has helped convey ideas from the refined to the revolutionary for thousands of years.

In Asian art, flowers speak a language all their own. Where a lotus blooms, a rosebud is clasped, or cherry blossoms flutter to the ground, a story is told if you know how to read it. 

This summer, there’s an exhibition on the hidden meanings of flowers in Asian art at the San Francisco Asian Art Museum.

The exhibition allows you to delve into the symbolism of six significant blooms: the lotus, plum blossom, cherry blossom, chrysanthemum, tulip, and rose.
The importance of these flowers is shared through gloriously gilded screens, sleek lacquers, rare porcelains, striking sculptures, pop art, and sensory-igniting, participatory contemporary installations that speak to today’s issues, from climate change to social activism. The exhibition runs from June 23 to October 1, 2017.

Another exhibition takes us through fashion and culture, from the courts of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910) to the runways of Paris. Couture Korea takes you on a historical journey of Korean fashion, including contemporary style today.

The Asian Art Museum is the only venue for Couture Korea, which will be on view from November 3, 2017 to February 4, 2018.

This original exhibition features more than 120 works, ranging from re-creations of garments from the Joseon dynasty to contemporary designs from Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel, pioneer of Korean fashion Jin Teok, and two Seoul-based Korean designers. Couture Korea delves deeper than the clothing’s formal beauty and superb craftsmanship to show that these works, as art, are not only intimate objects but also cultural expressions.

You’ll learn about Korea’s social and cultural roots, as well as the global impact, of Korean fashion.

Contemporary styles created by world-renowned Korean designers, including “master of deconstruction” Jin Teok (b. 1934), “tech” fabric impresario Im Seonoc (b. 1962) and understated traditionalist Jung Misun (b. 1984), will be shown alongside Korea-inspired looks from Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel.

Couture Korea elegantly ties together the traditions of the past with contemporary clothing design to illuminate the ways Koreans — and global fashion aficionados — express themselves and their cultural affiliations through dress today,” said exhibition organizer and Asian Art Museum Curator of Korean Art Hyonjeong Kim Han.

Couture Korea is co-organized by the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco and the Arumjigi Culture Keepers Foundation, Korea.

The Asian Art Museum–Chong-Moon Lee Center for Asian Art and Culture is one of San Francisco’s premier arts institutions and home to a world-renowned collection of more than 18,000 Asian art treasures from throughout Asia spanning 6,000 years of history.

For more information visit and @AsianArtMuseum on social media.

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