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The Asian Art Museum Reopens with a Showstopper

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The newest exhibition at the Asian Art Museum advertises itself as an engagement of the senses and very much delivers on that promise. 

While teamlab: Continuity  is not the only exciting attraction to check out at the museum that’s buzzing back to life in the midst of the pandemic, it is a must for anyone planning a visit. 

teamlab: Continuity is both a strangely trippy and super relaxing experience. There are several rooms to walk through with different configurations to interact with, but they all stay connected. In a way that’s too complicated for my limited amount of tech knowledge to understand, the projections blend into each other and lead around the room. 

You’ll be surrounded by flowers blooming all around you to the sound of a beautiful instrumental soundtrack then a waterfall of light will cut through it all and flutter about. Or white doves that will streak around the walls and your feet; follow them and you might catch them transforming into something new.

No explanation of mine will be sufficient to really describe it, it was incredibly complex and engaging. There is one room where you can lie back on an incline to a light show that dances all around and over you.

The projections will alter and bend around other people standing nearby and that detail of being able to interact with the projections makes it come to life. Not all of them are interactive but part of the fun is testing out which of them are. 

There’s also a pleasant scent in the exhibition, which is just an added treat. They found the perfect balance between not too subtle and overwhelming perfume store smell. As someone who is really sensitive to smells, it was never overpowering. Just a light floral scent that added to the ambiance of blooming sunflowers and lotuses.

Within the exhibit near the end is a hallway that will lead you to I was, I am, I will be by Chanel Miller. It’s been available to view from the outside while you’re walking by for well over six months now, but this is the first time the gallery has officially been open inside. The  wonderfully healing mural captures the cycle of recovery with an air of cartoonish whimsy. It’s the kind of comforting sight we all need right now so definitely don’t skip checking it out. If you go and love the piece as much as I do, you can purchase the magnet or bookmark version to take it home with you. 

In the small hallway leading to Miller’s piece are a couple of comfy chairs to take a break in and flip through a copy of the teamlab: Continuity book. The book is also in the gift shop but you can leaf through it here and learn a little about how the crazy advanced projections were made.

When you exit the exhibit, there are descriptions on the wall about each individual room that go over some of the finer details. Some of the features mentioned appear sporadically so don’t be afraid to linger in the rooms waiting for new stuff to pop up. One such detail is the Sharing Stone, Transcending Space. You’ll see a stone floating over the wall and then sink in and disappear. The stone then reappears in another teamlab exhibit somewhere else in the world.

As far as what else you can check out, the Asian Art Museum has added a bunch of other contemporary art exhibitions to hit up before you head upstairs to their permanent collection.

Image source: Kevin Candland / Asian Art Museum

Among them is After Hope: Videos of Resistance which features 50 short videos about the role of art in modern activism. This exhibit alone can keep you busy for quite some time if you’re interested in seeing them all in one sitting. This installation is part of a trilogy, included with roundtable discussions and workshops by International Working Group, and the AfterHope.com website. The museum plans for this to be the first of many programs like it and it's definitely worth seeing. 

Image source: Asian Art Museum

Be sure to see, Memento, the inaugural installation for the Hambrecht Contemporary Gallery. It includes two large scale art pieces, one a video installation called A day of two Suns by Lam Tung Pang. It utilizes four projectors on two screens to represent a changing landscape of Hong Kong. When you walk through the gallery, you actually can’t get to the exit without walking through the projections. So know that you’re not disturbing the piece when you do, like I thought when I hesitated to walk past, they confirm on the website that your shadows are meant to mix into the landscape as part of the piece.  

Image source: Asian Art Museum

The other piece is called Personal Space by Jayashree Chakravarty and it is huge. It’s an eight feet tall and thirty feet wide imaginary map built of painted strips of paper. There is a lot of detail packed into this colossal piece. It’s so amazingly textured and detailed that it’s a must see up close. Highly recommend getting lost in it, I certainly did. 

If that’s not enough to incite you into a visit, know that the museum has an amazing cafe that offers some delicious boba tea and a gift shop that, in my humble opinion, is particularly wonderful.

teamLab: Continuity has tickets on sale now through November. teamLab exhibits are extremely popular so be sure to look for your tickets well in advance.

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Danielle DeVeaux

Sr. Contributor

Comments (2)

ishtiaq

Wow, gotta go to this one after the van gogh show.

ishtiaq

The van Gogh show sucked. This one is actually innovative and well worth the ticket price!