San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum Has Raised a Remarkable $100 Million to Fund Its Expansion

The museum will open in 2020 with a blockbuster exhibition from teamLab.

A rendering of the Asian Art Museum's East West Bank Art Terrace, which is slated to open in April 2020. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.
A rendering of the Asian Art Museum's East West Bank Art Terrace, which is slated to open in April 2020. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.

San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum has raised $100 million in private donations—exceeding its initial goal of $90 million—to support its forthcoming expansion. The project, led by architect Kulapat Yantrasast of wHY Architecture, was announced in 2016 and is set to be completed in April 2020.

The first exhibition to open after the museum debuts its new 13,000-square-foot Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion will be from the ultra-popular digital art collective teamLab. The museum will also inaugurate the 7,500-square-foot East West Bank Art Terrace, which will house contemporary installations, starting with Fountain of Light by Ai Weiwei, Luminous Ground by Ala Ebtekar, Don’t Mess With Me by Jas Charanjiva, and Breast Stupa Topiary by Pinaree Sanpitak, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“From reimagining the presentation of our masterpieces with engaging, dynamic digital tools, to offering dedicated galleries for exciting contemporary art, to expanding our building so there are always special exhibitions on view—the For All campaign leaves an outstanding legacy for an ever-growing community of art-lovers in San Francisco, the Bay Area and globally,” said Jay Xu, the museum’s director and CEO, in a statement.

“Giving on this scale is a confirmation that the Asian Art Museum is a valued asset, worthy of continued investments,” added museum board chair Akiko Yamazaki, who is leading the fundraising effort.

Renderings of exterior views of the Asian Art Museum's Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion, slated to open in April 2020. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.

Renderings of exterior views of the Asian Art Museum’s Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion, slated to open in April 2020. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.

Through the end of October, Yamazaki and her husband, Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, will match all museum donations two-to-one, with additional one-to-one matching gifts through the end of the year. The challenge grant has already raised close to $400,000 since being announced last month.

And despite ongoing construction, the museum has remained open, with a temporary exhibition, “Changing and Unchanging Things: Noguchi and Hasegawa in Postwar Japan,” on view through December 8.

A rendering of the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion exterior at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, by wHY Architecture. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.

A rendering of the Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang Pavilion exterior at the Asian Art Museum, San Francisco, by wHY Architecture. Courtesy of wHY Archicture and the Asian Art Museum.

The Asian Art Museum’s beginnings can be traced to a 1969 gift of Asian art to the city by Chicago’s Avery Brundage. It opened in 1966 as a wing of the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, eventually becoming an independent entity. In 2003, following a $160.5 million project led by Italian architect Gae Aulenti, the museum opened the doors to its current space, in the city’s former Main Library, a 1917 Beaux Arts building originally designed by George Kelham.


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